In a previous blog post we discussed the book The Customer Service Revolution by John R. DiJulius and how companies and individuals have a tendency to approach clients with preconceived notions. We have this negative belief that our customers are always trying to put one over on us. It’s the 2% of customers trying to pull a fast one who prompt us to put up our defenses and drive us to believe every customer wants to screw us. But the reality is that most customers want us to be successful and profitable, in turn passing on fair pricing on our products and services. In this way, everyone benefits.
To this end, we know that the renewal process is heavily intertwined with excellent customer service. In this post we are going to focus on how we analyzed the renewal process for one of our customers with their sales channel and what we learned that empowered the company to drive greater revenue.
The Renewal Process
When we got started, we asked several groups independently to map out their renewal process. Almost without fail, the teams told us their 5 to 8 touch program started at 90 to 120 days before the renewal was due.
The process kicked off with an invoice or quote via email or snail mail to the appropriate contact. This was followed up with a courtesy call letting them know the renewal was coming due, that a quote had been sent for their review and that they should call with any questions. The renewal team would then follow up 30 days later with an email, then a call, followed by another email and a final call asking them to place their order.
This process has proven quite effective for them as the majority of their clients renew each year. In an annual survey, they discovered that 75% of their customer base would easily renew while another 4% would not. That means the other 21% were unsure if they would renew. In order to maximize the revenue, it was clear that we had to teach the admin/customer service rep how to sell the value of the renewals. This meant we had to teach them how to handle objections and become customer experience experts, moving from a 90-120 day renewal campaign to a 365-day per year customer service process.
Making the Shift to Focus on Customer Service
In the renewal business, everyone wants to set up policies and enforce the rules while the new revenue folks want to discount or give it away. In this case, the global renewal manager understood that by shifting from only making a call when the renewal was due to providing a true customer experience meant that they could change the conversation to build rapport and trust into the customer relationship rather than just focusing on the “transaction.”
The first thing we did to change the process was to train the renewal team to focus on the value the product could bring to their customers. The low hanging fruit that could be used during their calls included:
- The features that may have been added since the initial investment in the product
- The ways in which the customer could better leverage these new features, i.e. how this feature has shown others they can save time, people or money
We need to stop making calls that focus on the PO and move to a multi-touch campaign that is about the customer and not the renewal.
Our customer experience workshop engaged the reps in the development of customer experience call scripts that focused on the new value included in the renewal updates the customer already owned. This included complimentary trainings that already existed and how the new technology that was bundled into the product could increase the productivity of the customer’s employees.
These new customer experience calls changed the perception of the company, driving more renewals and leads to cross/upsell for the new revenue team to follow up on. This all happened because of a shift in the conversations; by moving from a focus on the renewal payment and the enforcement of rules to product value discussions, they changed the game.
A customer service revolution can truly make your brand exceptional in the eyes of your customers. Have you carefully considered your customer service and renewal process? Take a step back to consider what changes you can make that will drive more revenue.
Would you like to explore this further with Sales Gauge? Give us a shout at 1-781-910-0077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.