In order to define what a lost customer costs, one can originate with the cost of replacing the same one. What does lead generation, meetings, and the sales process cost to gain a new customer? How long does it take for a new customer to become profitable?
For all of this, most B2B companies have some insights. Perhaps it's as easy as taking the total cost of marketing + sales and dividing it to the number of new customers that this generates.
But is this the total cost of a lost customer?
Business relationships rarely stays the same over time but usually have their tops and downs. Some years, the customer downsizes to invest in the following year. Often, when major changes are on the way customers choose to reassess their suppliers. Suppose that this customer was just in the process of making a big purchase and therefore felt forced to check if the grass actually were greener on the other side. Losing this opportunity will be extra difficult.
Why does a company choose a new supplier?
It may of course depend on a variety of factors such as a competitor pushing the price, new products, etc. However, research shows that the most common reason why B2B customers change their supplier is that they experience to little attention and service.
In very many cases, the price is something used only to justify the decision to switch supplier, while the real reason was the lack of commitment.
How much is it worth keeping a customer?
So there is a high value in retaining a customer. It is often not about lowering prices or otherwise impairing their margins. Instead, it is important to find ways to let the business relationship become a partnership that involves close cooperation. To give the customer the service they deserve and show that the company really appreciates having them as a customer.
Implementing effective working methods that take advantage of both the customer and employee time minimizes obstacles to letting business relations flourish. For example, using modern technology and allowing customer users to access real-time information through a customer portal where they always have the opportunity to initiate dialogue is an effective way to achieve this.
When the customer portal is designed in such a way that all users have access to what they perceive as important, it results in the customer experience the provider as a partner who is always in control of the joint venture.