Relationships are funny things. I think back to my younger days and how much effort I would put into attracting the attention of the ladies. On most Fridays, I would leave work, get my hair cut touched up, go home press 5-10 shirts, and at 4-6 pairs of slacks, grab a shower. Then I would try on all various combinations to pick out the look that ‘felt’ right for that evening. Once the clothes were selected, the chosen outfit would get touched up with the iron before selecting the right belt and shoes to complete the look. Finally, with all the prep work complete I began the final presentation, a fresh shave, product and style hair, cologne, and finally get dressed.
It wasn’t just me; a large portion of my friends went through similar processes. Some longer some shorter, but it seems everyone every put forth tremendous effort in preparation of attracting someone’s attention.
Fast forward and there I was, in the blossoming of my first ‘serious’ relationship. Things started to change, hours dropped from the preparation process. Suddenly Jeans were good enough and I didn’t really need to shave … did I? Very soon my girlfriend started to express some discontent with me. I wasn’t the same guy she started dating, I looked different and I acted different.
Sound familiar? I have seen this pattern repeated in my life (more times than I care to count or discuss), in the lives of friends and family, and most shockingly I see nearly every business; from Fortune 500 to the one-person Start-Up, doing exactly the same THINGS. Company’s dump large portions of available resources into wooing new customers, then once they have a customer they move on, doing little to nothing to keep that customer coming back.
How much does this cost?
Costing out this continual inattention to true customer retention can be fairly challenging. First, what cost metric?
Opportunity cost? Real costs (Retention vs Acquisition)? Customer Replacement cost?
Flashback to young adult dating David. My girlfriend, we will call her ‘M’, M was a terrific young woman. She was bright, beautiful, had a terrific family, and was completely out of my league in every imaginable way possible. So, it is not surprising that M was way more aware and put together than my 22-year-old self. M was a true polished lady, she waited until we were having dinner at our favorite place (forget the name but it was in an old building, had a court yard, and served the best Italian food). Then, after the herbed focaccia bread was left at the table, she looked at me dead in the eyes and asked a simple question that shattered my relationship paradigm forever.
M, with her beautiful blue eyes locked on mine, said ‘David’, she only called me David when she really needed my full attention otherwise I was just D, ‘Have I done something that makes you want out of this relationship?”
At this moment, my jaw dropped open and I sat there looking like a cave waiting for some spelunkers to go exploring. My mind was spinning trying to form a coherent sentence of some kind.
I was confused!
Things were wonderful!
M was everything I had ever dreamed of, my complete dream woman. Why would she even think such a thing?
M let my confusion hang for a few seconds before she continued with, ‘You have begun acting as if you didn’t care. You look sloppy (I was wearing jeans, a hoodie, and a baseball cap), and when was the last time to put yourself together like the night we met?’