John Nichols — VP Account Management at Personiv, was invited as a guest to speak on the MarketScale Hospitality Podcast with Lukas Cox where he discussed the key ingredients that go into forming a customer relationship and partnership that goes the distance. Listen to the podcast below to learn how to retain client relationships and get loyal customers.
Cox and Nichols Discussed the Importance of Retaining Client Relationships on the Podcast
With Cox citing the statistic that says that businesses who are able to hang onto just five percent of their client base enjoy a range of profit growth between five and 95 percent. If anyone would know what goes into forming a long-lasting partnership it's Nichols, who has overseen client relations for some of Personiv's multi-decade accounts, and had a front-row seat to what retention-fueled growth can look like over the years.
Link to the episode, Here.
Cox and Nichols began their chat by discussing the difference between a true partnership and a client-provider relationship. Forming the latter, Nichols says, requires knowing and delivering on what a client needs including customer expectations. But to have the former, he explains, involves cultivating a thorough understanding of what the client truly wants. "It's a fine difference," he admits, but one that Personiv considers especially crucial. Nichols emphasized that knowing how your customers feel and taking care of client needs is a day one priority when building trust.
"When we start a program, we're very focused on figuring out the specific needs of that program," he explained to Cox, "that's codified in the process of determining the service level agreement. We'll start by understanding what level of quality is critical, turnaround time, even what kind of productivity level they want – that will all be written down into the initial agreement."
This enables you to work from a place of fulfilling client needs, instead of asking them to fit those desires into pre-packaged service offerings that may or may not be right for them. From there, Nichols tells Cox, it's a matter of soliciting consistent, high-level feedback on a quarterly and even weekly basis, making sure the client feels heard before – crucially – delivering results based on that feedback to ensure customer satisfaction.
It's also vital to remain flexible throughout the partnership to prevent customer churn and your overall customer retention strategy, Nichols and Cox agree. That doesn't just mean creating what Nichols calls "feedback loops" that allow for the constant discovery of client needs and wants. The VP of account management also explains that adopting a growth mindset from the very beginning and then being agile enough to adjust output, cost KPIs, varied skillsets, new training and great customer service integrations allows a provider to meet the client where they are, even when their needs and wants change.
In the end, Nichols emphasizes, a lasting partnership not about improving on what is unsatisfactory – that a provider do that as quickly as possible when problems do arise is a foregone conclusion – it's about establishing a foundation with a baseline of quality that the client is happy with and consistently delivering results that improve upon that. There's no special distinction between selling a product or service, this applies to all businesses trying to keep their customers engaged (and get free word of mouth). So now you have a good idea of how customer behavior can affect retaining customers.
At Personiv, we believe that a successful client relationship is a partnership. We've been cultivating these long-lasting, growth-focused partnerships for over three decades with our valued clients. To see what partnering with Personiv can do for your organization and how a great customer support team can bring you long-term benefits, contact us today to speak with someone on John's team.