This isn’t as strange a question as it sounds because many (most?) B2B service contractors confuse “goal” with “purpose.”
Ask contractors what is the point of Account Retention and their likely answers will be “to retain 100% of desired accounts.”
But that’s not the point of Account Retention, that’s not the reason it exists.
“To retain 100% of desired accounts*” is the goal: it’s the outcome contractors want to achieve.
(* desired accounts are the contracts contractors want to keep, dropping the unprofitable, high-liability contracts).
“Goal” is Only the Destination
Goals are necessary but in the context of achievement – they’re a first step and only describe the destination.
For Account Retention, that first step is to define the goal, which is “to retain 100% of desired accounts.”
But it doesn’t tell contractors “how” to achieve it. This is what contractors often miss and then, by default, carry on doing the same old, same old and miss the point.
“Purpose” is Directional & MeaningfulThe point of Account Retention is for contractors to get closer to customers and influence mutually beneficial outcomes. Click To Tweet
For contractors, the purpose of account retention, the reason it exists, is to create mutually, beneficial customer outcomes. Not self-serving, one-way streets that favor contractors – but relationships where contractors influence customers with strategic, trust-based expertise.
And contractors are the experts in their service; If not, why would customers sign them in the first place?
Mutually Beneficial Outcomes
Contractors, if trusted, can contribute to strategic customer decisions and initiatives, such as:
- Input into new or remodeled facilities saving customers millions in O&M (Who knows better about these costs than those who perform them?)
- Enhancing workplace experiences for customers’ greater creativity & productivity
- Increasing support of work cultures to attract & retain the best customer talent available
These contractor contributions are only possible if they influence customers; contractors must work to sit at the customer table, which is the purpose of contractors’ Account Retention.
Here’s what mutually beneficial outcomes look like from customers’ perspectives. NOTE: Although these are expected in the contract, in reality, the degree to which they’re realized is much different when contractors feel the relationship is mutually beneficial. Customers get:
- Higher service levels & quality
- Leading innovations with contractors often sharing/assuming initial investments
- Faster response to service requests
- More insightful performance info
- Greater flexibility for prompt scope changes
- Increased value from what they paid
Besides the obvious revenue and profit, with mutually beneficial outcomes contractors also get:
- High exit-barriers as customers value their contributions & don’t want to experiment with competitors
- Better financial continuity & stability
- Longer planning & investment horizons
- Learning opportunities from working challenges through with customers
Why the Point Matters
Contractors’ goal for Account Retention is to retain 100% of desired accounts but their bias must be for action. They must go beyond defining their goal to act on its purpose.
And the purpose of Account Retention is to get closer to customers and influence for mutually beneficial outcomes.
“What’s the Point of Account Retention?” first published on LinkedIn.