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Why Going on “Date Night” with your Key Customers is a Great Idea

And you should be doing it too!

Tina Fey and Steve Carrell star in 20th Century Fox movie "Date Night"

Learn How the Date Night Concept helps to retain business customers by +10%

Juggling work and home life can be a challenge for those in a committed relationship. It’s hard to match up my calendar with my significant other for a “date night”, but we make it a priority. Everyone in a relationship will recognize this, but also knows that “you and me” time is key with communication and commitment. Plus, there is solid research to back this up.

I also make time to go on a “Date Night” with my larger accounts at least every three months. We technically call “Quarterly Business Reviews” or QBRs. Our inside sales model means no expensive dinners. Instead, the venue is usually Skype or GoToMeeting.

We use our own CustomerGauge retention solution to help us manage this, and we’ve found it has improved our returns from customers by more than 10%. Here’s how to make your “Client Date Night” a date to remember:

Getting Dressed Up

“Date Nights” are regularly timed engagements with our customers. They start with the 'CustomerGauge Success Team’ who work with our Enterprise Customers on a dedicated basis. They make sure we reach the goals our clients have, help them improve and grow with their program and CustomerGauge systems usage.

And they work on a program of engagement that’s mapped out in our CustomerGauge tool. On our first engagement (“First Date”), we’ll identify, together with the client, the important goals. And as our relationship grows, we’ll revisit the metrics to see how we are helping to achieve them (for example: retention rate, Net Promoter Score®, closed-loop targets, etc).

Before each Date Night we’ll do some pre-work. With 2 weeks to go, we send a quick Net Promoter® survey to stakeholders in each account (rule of thumb: 9 contacts for each $1m of business—ask me why and I’ll explain). We want to get at least 50 – 60% response, and a real “360 degree” view of the business.

We pull the responses into a handy “Date Night” report—and can immediately work on any issues or comments that come up. We add in Support Ticket info as well.

When the Date Night comes, we are fully prepared and totally professional. We present the report and and say “Here’s what your key stakeholders think of the investment in CustomerGauge”.

The Date

Transparency that is key. Just like on a real Date Night with my partner, I know we can talk about the really important things in our relationship. We are not going to bottle up any frustrations. I want my champion, or key stakeholder also aware of any issues that might come up. And through transparency comes trust. When we make suggestions for improvements, our clients take them seriously.

These are so important, we make sure we have a Senior Executive on every call from our side. That’s me, or one of the other senior CustomerGauge team.

We take around three top actions from the meeting, and agree to revisit them on the next Date Night (that we’ve already pre-booked in our diaries).

Post Date Analysis

The Management Team ruthlessly look at our QBR (Date Night) stats. We have a target to hit each month (we report this in Salesforce). A missed QBR could be a sign of a lack of engagement, and future customer churn. Low response means we are not getting our message across to users. A good Date Night can result in increased engagement, with perhaps more users to be added. We aggregate our Net Promoter Scores to provide a continuous view of our business.

I go on as many dates as I can with my customers, and always take excellent learnings. My team are there to help them grow their business and there’s nothing more fun than toasting to a client's success.

You can also learn to do this by using the CustomerGauge playbook. Now, if only I can find a way to drink champagne together with my clients, it would be perfect!

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