In 1978, two of the biggest voices of the time joined together in a duet that spoke so powerfully of love and sorrowful indifference that it hit number one on the Billboard 100 chart for two weeks straight. This song was called You Don't Bring Me Flowers, and the story it tells is of two people who have been together for so long that they've stopped doing the small things for each other, like bringing flowers, singing love songs and saying 'I need you' to the other.
Now step back for a moment and think in terms of another kind of relationship. I am talking about the relationship with your community association clients. One of the things we tend to do is try to woo a new community so that we can earn their contract. We are very attentive, go out of our way to be helpful and communicative. In short, we bring them flowers, and sing them love songs.
But what happens when the bloom of young love wears off? It's so easy to take a long term client for granted, thinking they would never leave you, so you don't need to worry about giving them extra attention! But one day, that community will sit down and have a conversation very similar to the one in the song, and by then, it will be too late to save.
Studies have consistently shown that it is significantly easier and more cost effective to retain existing clients than it is to gain new business: "Acquiring a customer costs 5 to 10 times more than retaining one." (eMarketer, 2002) "A 5 percent increase in retention yields profit increases of 25% to 95%" (Bain & Company, 1990)
In a recent survey conducted by TOPS Software, respondents gave advice for other management companies on retaining clients. Here are some of the tips they shared:
- “I believe the personal touch of a live person answering the phones is what makes our company stand out from others."
- “Just always give great customer service, because at the end of the day that's all it is about.”
- "Really listen to the residents and look for ways to save them money.”
- “Our Business takes a team approach. We do not just have one community manager that only deals with that community. We have more so that the client always has someone to talk to.”
- “Work in teams, build recognition in community with reputation and give back to communities you work for.”
- “Be on top of technology without losing the personal attention that customers still need."
This year, I challenge you to give that extra bit of attention to the clients who have been loyal. The ones who are NOT a squeaky wheel. Tell them you need them, bring them flowers and yes, sing them a love song or two.
Speaking of showing a little love, we wanted to show you, our beloved readers how much we care, and we couldn't think of a better way than to give you something fun for free. So we have prepared some Community Association Management industry themed Valentines Day cards that we think will tickle your funny bone. Share them with the Community Association professionals in your life this Valentine's day!