How easy is it, for a new client or customer to switch to you?
Many business owners make a very good case, for switching to them from your current provider. They get prospective clients and customers fired up. Motivated. Money in hand… however, they make switching to them too painful, so they lose the business.
Here’s an example of what I mean, based on my own situation.
Microsoft Surface Pro and my pain
I’ve been considering switching my main production computer, from a Mac to a Microsoft Surface Pro machine. I was a happy Microsoft customer for decades. However, in 2013 I bought a MacBook Pro and fell in love with it. I went on to buy the MacBook Air I’m writing on right now, plus a new MacBook Pro. I love the Apple hardware, but miss having a touch screen computer. I also miss all the software, which is available only on Windows.
The problem I have, is there’s a lot of pain involved in switching to Microsoft’s device.
- I’ve invested thousands in Mac hardware and software over the past 2 years. This will be largely unused if I switch. As a result, there’s a lot of pain associated to relegating the equipment. If I sell it I’ll lose a fortune. If I keep it, it will just sit there depreciating in value. Ouch!
- I have lots of data that’s incompatible with Windows. The pain of converting file formats is considerable.
- All my peripherals are Mac. So, I’d need to buy everything again; a Surface Pro keyboard, compatible external hard drive, stylus, shoulder bag, etc. There’s hundreds in additional costs there, adding to the financial pain.
- Then, I’d need to invest a day of my time, setting the new device up and connecting it to all my accounts etc. More pain.
- … and there’s nothing meaningful that Microsoft do, which comes close to helping me (or anyone else) with all that pain.
So, instead of switching to the Surface Pro 3 being a simple decision, I’m not going to do it. I’m too locked into the Apple universe now. Switching back to Microsoft would be too painful.
Where’s the pain in switching to you?
This raises 2 important questions for you and your business:
- What are the pain points a new client or customer will encounter when switching to you from their current provider?
- How can you reduce or eliminate their pain?
By focusing on making the transition to you as painless as possible, [then communicating that clearly], you massively increase your chances of winning new customers.
Consider the whole picture
Even if there’s an upfront cost associated to making the switching process painless or less painful, weigh the cost against the lifetime value of a new customer. Sometimes, a short term cost can turn into a hugely profitable investment.
For example, if Microsoft offered an attractive trade-in program for Apple users, to help offset the cost of people switching to them from Apple, they’d attract far more customers. Within 24 months, these new customers would be buying a new Surface Pro at full retail price. They would also have spent 2 years buying additional Microsoft services.
If you already have processes in place to make it easy for new customers to switch to you, make sure you are getting that message across. Explain that switching to you is a breeze — that your team will handle the process, etc.
A great place to start is to learn the lifetime value of your typical client. This makes it easier to figure out how much you can invest, in motivating them to switch to you.