Turnover : how to ensure customer follow up
The departure of an employee is always a delicate matter and the same goes for a sales person, because of his privileged relationship with customers. Managing this turnover is also important for the customer follow-up.
A departure is also important for your company’s reputation: managing it well allows you to maintain your employer brand. As we know, it’s a small world and you are likely to find a former employee with a partner or a client. The phenomenon of “boomerang rehire”, i.e. reintegrating a company for which one has worked in the past, occurs in 15% of cases. A situation that will speed up now that long careers within a company are no longer the rule. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018, more than 40% of millennial employees plan to leave their jobs within two years, and less than a third will still be with the company after five years.
So how do you avoid losing valuable information and damaging customer relationships when a salesperson leaves? What are the tools that can help entrepreneurs to manage a departure and the actions to put in place from the beginning?
Keeping information: a key point
To ensure a good customer follow-up, it is important to make sure that the information concerning the customer remains within the company and can be shared. For this, there are three solutions:
Conducting a business review
ake the time to review each strategic customer before your sales representative leaves. Review the current contracts and the specificities of each major file. Pay particular attention to customer relationships that are not going well. It is important to talk about it and for the manager to take over the file so as not to aggravate the situation. Destress the employee so that he or she does not withhold information is a key point for this discussion, emphasizing that he or she has nothing to lose: it is the successor who will manage the crisis.
To this business review, it is useful to add an “exit review.” The moment of departure is a good time to listen to what employees have to say. As part of a constructive listening process, this interview allows an employee to speak more openly and with full knowledge of the small dysfunctions of a company. Many tools allow to manage these exit interviews and analyze feedback: Workelo or Lucca have developed platforms helping to manage the arrival but also the departure of employees.
Implementing a CRM
A Customer Relationship Management tool is not only a valuable marketing tool to gather data on prospects and customers, but also indispensable for customer follow-up. It allows you to gather in one place all the useful information about a customer. Current contracts, e-mail exchanges, notes: a CRM must contain all the information useful for the recovery of a file. More or less expensive and complex, here is a short list of those you can use.
Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics: adapted to large companies, they are the best known and most widely used. Very complete, their ergonomics are not always very simple or flexible. But they connect with many other software used by the different departments of the company.
Pipedrive or Zendesk: ideal for beginners, their handling and ergonomics are very intuitive. Less powerful than Salesforce, they are easy to configure.
Hubspot or Insightly: two free CRMs for basic functions. Hubspot is an efficient marketing solution that offers a very simple free CRM part. As for Insightly, it can be easily combined with Gmail.
Using Onoff Business
A salesperson’s laptop is one of his main working tools. Until now, he took all the contacts saved on his phone with him when he left. Now, with Onoff Business, there is no more loss of information and no more changing of numbers. Thanks to its numbers saved in the cloud, Onoff Business allows you to keep all the contacts linked to a mobile number. The service also offers the possibility to assign an existing mobile number to a new phone: your customers will always call the same number to reach your company. Ideal for a good customer follow-up.
It is essential to review the transition with the new sales person. The newcomer must be perfectly familiar with the customer files, even before meeting them. This way, the first meeting will be done on a good basis. You can consider a simulation interview to help your new salesperson to polish his or her speech and prepare for objections. Video training is a good support for this kind of customer follow-up exercise. A dedicated solution such as Vyfe allows you to use video recording to train salespeople. The ideal solution, of course, is to organize a three-way meeting with the customer, the former and the new employee.
Announcing your departure
Changing contacts can be frustrating for a customer. It is therefore important for a sales person to be careful when announcing their departure. A manager must be able to make his future ex-collaborator aware of the importance of continuity in customer care. During a meeting or a call, the departing employee must reassure the customer, highlight the added value of the person who will replace him or her as well as the maintenance of the quality of service. Showing the involvement of the hierarchy in this transition is also a reassuring element.
Choosing the right moment to announce the departure is very important. Ideally, it should be done when you can give your client visibility on the person who will take over the file. Depending on the size and importance of the clients, the announcement should be made to each of them, either face to face, or by a call or an email.
Also announce the departure internally and thank your employees for the work accomplished. This is a good way to motivate the remaining teams and to ensure good word-of-mouth about the departing talent. At Apple, people who leave get a round of applause when they leave. Also thank the teams that are also making the transition, or even an extra workload related to it.
Recovering materials and removing access
While all online tools are valuable for keeping information, don’t forget to cut off access once employees leave the company. Onboarding and offboarding management platforms such as Workelo or Lucca already mentioned, help you not forget anything. Using a password and permission manager such as Dashlane makes it possible to avoid changing all the passwords at each departure.
Last tip: accepting the departure
Accepting your employee’s departure is THE first step for you. Trying to keep someone at all costs or making the situation worse will not give a good image to the rest of the team and will damage the company’s reputation. And then this change may be a good opportunity for your company 😉
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