Manage quality before retention rates drop.
With consistent annual growth, even during recession years, and a fast-expanding staff, Brian DuMont, president and CEO of Yard-Nique, recognized that customer retention can suffer unless quality is carefully managed.
Last year, DuMont realized that his maintenance account managers were maxed out. “At times, as we continued to grow, we got more properties and put more work on those account managers,” he says. There’s a fine line between “more work” and stretched too thin.
“It took us about six months to dissect the problem,” DuMont says. The company analyzed its customer retention rate. DuMont aims for 5 percent – the industry standard, he says, is roughly 10 percent.
“For me, when I see 10 percent attrition, it’s like, ‘Time out: What’s going on here?’ Is the problem isolated to one manager? Is it isolated to one division, one branch?’”
Last year, DuMont decided that while the company’s customer retention was not suffering per se, quality could erode if something wasn’t done to address account manager workload. So, the company invested in hiring two more account managers.
Then, DuMont divided the book of work evenly among the new team, freeing up the managers to spend more time with their clients.
“The expectation is that we’ll have better customer service and an improved customer retention rate,” he says.
“It will be a win-win, and that is what we are driving for in 2014. So far, the plan is going well for us.”