Don’t do this if you want to keep your customers

Keeping in touch with customers doesn't require brain surgery but often has a huge impact on customer retention. Here's an example of where a couple of companies might have kept me as a client if they'd made more of an effort to keep me happy.

Recently I've finally finished consolidating my pensions into my SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension). This means transferring underperforming pension funds into another pension so I can manage it myself.

But the thing that struck me about the process was this: at no time did my two old pension providers ask me why I was transferring and/or whether there was anything they could do to convince me not to switch.

In fact they'd done nothing other than send me me annual statements about how my pensions were doing, which was usually depressing news anyway.

Now it's possible that I might have stayed with them if I'd felt like a valued customer. But, just like most financial services companies, they simply treated me like a number. They didn't even attempt to give me a reason not to close my accounts.

Don't do this if you want to keep your customers - a great customer service lesson

To be honest, I've never been a demanding customer. I guess I did like most folks and just expected that they'd look after my pension money and make it grow through sound investments. But they didn't even do that. Worse still is they didn't encourage me to review my pension investments, didn't invite me to consider additional services, didn't give me any idea what was going on with my money.

In contrast, my new pension provider gives me plenty of information about what's happening with my money, they give tips and help on making investment choices, provide updates on market conditions and also let me know what's happening with my pension fund. Further to that they don't bombard me with loads of paper, which I like very much.

Now I know that the features of my new pension provider are nothing technologically advanced but they do the simple stuff very well indeed. And they do it just because I'm a client and want me to stay that way.

So, don't do what Scottish Widows and NPI did, which was to completely ignore clients. 

Instead keep in touch with your customers and let them know that they're valued. It could be as simple as a monthly 'insider tips' email but it may mean a whole lot to those who buy from you.

More to the point, if you want to keep your customers then make them feel valued and informed. It's easier than you might think.

Want more on getting and keeping customers? Check out:

An excellent lesson in customer service (article)

How to improve your marketing by improving the language you use (video)

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