If you have read some of our recent blogs, you will have noticed a certain bias we have towards looking at the lifetime value of our customers rather than immediate profit. This means that we would rather do a little bit more work for free today, on the basis that we will earn this back later through honest, value-adding efforts.
Recently, we started to use one of the many SAAS (Software As A Service) products for one of our customers, chosen, after much consideration and comparison, from a raft of alternatives. At first things seemed great, it was easy to set up, easy to use, and gave the promotion results that we were looking for. Shortly after this initial flush of excitement, what we were achieving started to reduce and then their marketing team started with the suggestions that to achieve what we wanted, we would need a greater monthly investment longer term. Even though, as pointed out to them, the initial results were good.
During these discussions and a very reluctant increase in the monthly credit purchase, it was noticed that these additions to the spend were going down quicker than previously, with a continued reduction in the results being achieved. As we were becoming increasingly annoyed at the lack of progress and increasing costs, a closer than normal investigation was carried out, only to discover that several items had been added to the monthly charges, all marked as ‘auto’. Suffice it to say we immediately cancelled this subscription and moved to a competitor product.
It is not just SMEs and online pay monthly companies that try to sneak additional charges onto your bill, some large Mobile Telephone providers, Banks, Insurance companies even Energy companies have all recently been fined for either inappropriate charges or not reducing prices when instructed to do so by their governing bodies. As anybody would, when feeling like they have been taken advantage of, you look to move to another company as quickly as possible, even if you have to spend a little more just to seek honest billing.
The sad indictment is that these companies work on the basis that there is always another mug coming along, until there is not and then they throw money at marketing to win back market share.
So how can we, as small and medium business owners compete against this? The answer is – Do not. It has always cost many times more to win new customers than it does to keep existing ones. If you couple this with the limitations of the market niche that some of us operate within, the loss of reputation and customers could be terminal.
This is part of the reason that we have always worked based on long-term working relationships with our customers, rather than a one-off hit, sometimes even suggesting to potential customers that we are probably not the supplier for them, if their business model is to stack-it high and sell it cheap or worse, rip-off and run. In this way, we have customers who come back to work with us on a very regular basis and we can build our long-term business by increasing this number of happy customers into the future – rather than continuously running to replace lost customers, at the same time as trying to win new ones. Now that has to be worth not trying to bump up the odd invoice!
Creatively Yours Ltd helps businesses like yours succeed online through website design, website development, and our Helponomics system that offers support and training as you need it and highlights areas that could increase your sales.
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