Mind Your Business: Retaining Clients

By Steve Michaels

Q. I am losing clients to my competitor. What can I do to keep and expand my existing customer base?

A. I received a call last month from a lady who responded to my website regarding VoIP. She wanted to know how she could incorporate VoIP into her telemessaging call center. Since her equipment was quite old, we discussed the options of hosting versus purchasing new equipment. She then wanted to know if it was possible to outsource her night operator. I told her that the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Connections Magazine had an article written by Doris Primicerio about outsourcing agents, which addressed that particular question. She then asked, “What is Connections Magazine?”

I was dumbfounded! Here was someone who has been in business for over five years and didn’t know we had a sixteen-year-old trade publication or a national association! How can someone run a business without educating herself about the latest technology? She had to come to a place where she was losing customers to a competitor before she sought help. Sometimes ignorance can be more expensive than education.

Albert Einstein said, “The mind that opens to a new idea never comes back to its original size.”  You can never know too much about how to run your business successfully. The 2008 ATSI Forum is a good example. After its conclusion, it was highly touted with comments like Dawn Newborn’s: “Honestly, I don’t care where it is next year… I will be there. I am back at the office now trying to isolate myself to get all this work done. I learned how to do effective Internet marketing and also was presented with a great session on strategic planning… I can’t contain myself. This was great!”

If you want to stop losing your market share to your competitors, you need to educate yourself about new technologies and marketing strategies. You can’t offer new features that you don’t know about. This takes time and money. However, in the long term, you can’t afford not to make the investment.

My hats off to Gary Pudles, John Ratliff, and Charlene Glorieux for putting on an exemplary Forum this year. “Learning by association” has been taken to a new level!

Steve Michaels is a business broker with TAS Marketing and can be contacted at 800-369-6126 or tas@tasmarketing.com for questions.

[From Connection Magazine March 2008]

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