BENIGN NEGLECT: A DEADLY WEAPON

Most organizations worry that they’re going to lose a customer, client, or supporter because of something they do. But my experience has taught me that more losses are caused by what they don’t do.

Sure, lousy customer service will lose a piece of business now and then. But what I call benign neglect is one of the most consistent ways a business or organization can lose people over time. They’ll slip away gradually, barely even noticed.

It doesn’t take any effort to achieve benign neglect. In fact, that’s that heart of the problem. When you assume that customers, clients, or supporters are always going to be around, you may just take them for granted. You stop actively reaching out to them in an effort to keep them connected and feeling appreciated. Before too long, one of your competitors or some other organization catches their attention and makes them feel wanted, and they slip away without you realizing what has happened.

The best way to fight benign neglect is to make a purposeful effort to stay connected. You can do something as simple as making regular contacts by email or snail mail, or you can try to reenergize the relationship by offering some sort of special offer, discount, or opportunity that’s available only to those who have long relationships with your organization.

Put another way, keep romancing the people who are important to your organization, and they’ll be far less likely to fall for someone else.

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