Have you ever met up with one of your customers only to find them holding the pen of one of your competitors? BUSTED! They were cheating on you and you feel your eyes turning red. “But wait,” the customer says, “I can explain.” Okay, perhaps it didn’t go down like a lovers quarrel, but for you it kind of hurts the same. If they are an important client, chances are they have a desk drawer full of your competitors pens, magnets, note pads, drink cozies or whatever clever swag they came up with. But is your customer cheating on you? The answer is ‘maybe’, depending on what your definition of cheating is.
Let’s face it, most (if not all) of your customers are considered attractive to your competitors. In fact, it is your competitor’s job to woo the customers away from you in the same way that it is your job to do the same to them. When it comes to customers, it is only a marriage when it is a well written contract, but in most cases, it is just casual dating. They can talk to whomever they choose.
The question is whether or not you should be worried. Chances are probably not, but it does raise an interesting point, who is getting more face time with your customers; you or your competitors? How often do you interface with our customers? Let’s assume at least once a quarter. Is that enough?
What does the math say? Let’s say you have at minimum 3 strong and aggressive competitors and each one reaches out once a month whether it is a phone call, email blast or whatever. Here is the annual net sum:
You x 4 = 4
Competitors x 3 x 12 = 36
36 > 4
If you courted your clients as much as your competitors do they wouldn’t stand a chance. This isn’t feasible but it has to make you wonder, are you making your customers feel special in the same way that you competitors are trying to do? Examine your book of business closely, track how often you are staying in touch as well as the quality of that touch. Are you looking for new ways to add value, or just filling orders and collecting checks? If you’re doing everything to create a great customer experience, delivering value and in good communication with your customers, chances are slim that they have no intention of cheating on you and your competitor’s swag stays in the junk drawer.