In a world in which new is always being hyped as being better and desirable, theres something to be said for retaining the familiar, especially when it comes to our interactions with our clients. Clients crave consistency, of knowing that theyre going to get the same good treatment every time they call. There are therefore few things more important to a company than keeping that continuity of service: retaining the same employees in the same jobs who do them well. Nowhere is this more vital than in Sales and Account management. Nothing worries a buyer more than getting a different face every time they call – and it causes just as many headaches for you. If you want to do Customer Success right, you need to keep unplanned turnover to a minimum.
New People, New Problems
Training takes time – and theres a difference between knowing what to do and knowing what to do well. It might take an outgoing customer success operator the better part of an afternoon to train her replacement on your CRM software – but it might take that replacement the better part of six months before that software becomes second-nature, when the time between knowing the problem and realizing the solution becomes near-instantaneous. In those six months, your clients are going to have a frustrating time whenever they need CS solutions, and theyll dream of the time when your employees knew what they were doing. High turnover slows response times whenever experienced people are replaced with those with less experience. Someone who knew the system inside and out cant be replaced overnight with someone with a days worth of training: and not only will response time slow, but mistakes will be made: unfamiliarity breeds complication.
The Engaged Employee
The problems are not limited to tech support and software. Think about the sales process: Roberto from Sales helped shepherd the buyer through the sales process – but two weeks from signing he left the company. The buyer is saddened – Roberto had done so much to land this sale – but these things happen, and the momentum is there to complete sale with Robertos replacement, Yuki. Four months after the sale the buyer gets a call about a new product line from someone called Brenda, and six months after that – with renewal on the horizon – they get a call from an Arjun, who replaced Brenda and has never heard the name Roberto.
To quote Kevin Kruse, author of Employee Engagement 2.0, Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals. It is the drive and loyalty any employee has to you, your company, and your mission – and it is not something a new employee gaines overnight. That commitment doesnt come attached to a first pay cheque: it grows as the employee grows into their role: it also takes time, tim you client doesnt have when theyre trying to get things done.
Once youve swapped-out four or five sales people, the client will be spooked – and rightly so. They not only dont know or trust these new people, they dont know if these people will be there one day to the next – they dont know if anyone at your company cares about them, and theyre worried that they could get lost on the cracks. You cant replicate a sales relationship overnight. A good sales person is one engaged with their buyer – they know where they are, where theyve been, and what their future path for success is every time they pick up the phone or send an e-mail. Roberto knew his counterparts well: he knew how to make them feel at ease, and he knew the path of future success the company was taking. Poor Arjun hasnt yet had the time to learn the names of everyone on his team, much less the details of his clients hopes and dreams. A new face cant provide the same level of service with a fraction of understanding: overturn in sales happens, and you guarantee that a salesperson will stay forever – but theres a difference between losing a salesperson and losing all of them.
Can You Be Trusted?
Customers and prospects will question your approach to business if youre always turning-over employees. Ask yourself a question: why would a buyer choose to partner with someone who changes so much theyre always unrecognizable? Change is great, in theory, but that doesnt mean you should throw-out continuity of service as out-of-date. A buyer is also asking questions of their vendors: Does my vendor take the solidity of our relationship seriously? If employees are always coming and going, will their replacements be able to execute with the same level of ability? You know the future your client is trying to achieve – but theyre also capable of studying yours. Unplanned turnover sends a message to clients: Were not a stable company. We are not a company that can recruit and retain quality employees. A buyer is going to look at that and ask themselves if they cant do that, what else cant they do? Theyre going to question if you are perhaps a company they cant rely on in the future – and they may well be right.
So consider your own staffing levels. Have you been experiencing a high volume of unplanned turnover in sales and account management? What about Customer Success or Customer Support? Have you been worried about it, or have you been taking a laissez-faire, its just how these things go attitude? If it is the latter, then its very likely that youve been endangering your relationship with your clients. By not providing them with continuity of service, youve been inconsistent with the quality of customer success or sales support that youve provided them. You may have made them very nervous about just how committed you are to ensuring their future success – not to mention how stable you are as a company. It is time to take a good long look at your departments: why is everyone always leaving, and how can you reverse that trend? If you cant figure out a way to halt that constant turn-over, youre not going to have a reputation for dependability and stability that buyers look for when seeking out partners for future success.