Customers remember the things you messed up all by themselves. It’s your job to highlight the times you went “above and beyond” for them.
For some reason, human nature assures that all disasters large and small are memorable. Your customers simply will not forget. Conversely, you routinely stretch yourself and your company to go above and beyond the call of duty for them, only to receive – at best – a, “Well, that’s expected,” reaction.
They’re not callous. Mostly they’re just too darn busy going “above and beyond” themselves. Face it, when you are in the frying pan, you’re probably not even aware that the other guy just jumped into the fire.
That’s why an annual “KAPS” for your important customers at least once a year. (You tell me which ones are NOT important…)
A Key Account Performance Summary reminds a customer of where he was, explains what you have done, highlights the results you have produced and lays out what you intend to do next. Here’s an outline:
- Customer Issues & Objectives (as of 12 months ago)
- Customer Expectations (as of 12 months ago)
- Your Key Initiatives for the last 12 months
- Bios (of all those involved in the above)
- Other Resources Applied to the Customer in the last 12 months
- Results Delivered (quantified and “dollarized”)
- Expectations Met & Missed in the last 12 months
- Your View of Current Issues, Objectives & Strategies
- Your Action Plan for the next 12 months (with planned resources to be used)
All of the above should be preceded by a one-page cover letter that forcefully, humbly and accurately calls attention to why you are such a great partner/vendor for that customer. You should also create a presentation version of the whole package and formally deliver it to a customer audience that includes your highest level contact. (…and that person’s boss, if possible…)
There will be no doubt about your status with a customer following a KAPS meeting. You will hear about all of your warts. Chances are you’ll also hear compliments about forgotten activities and appreciation for going the extra mile.
Why would you not do this?