No one gets paid to serve existing customers. If you doubt me, compare the salary of your top customer service rep to that of your top salesperson.
Before you start telling me that it takes more talent to sell than to serve, slap yourself in the face a few times. That’s nonsense. Especially if you are in a complex business, service is the hard part.
But most companies have the mistaken impression that all growth comes from new customers. Especially in “tough” times, they shift resources from serving to selling. This is suicide.
Try this: ask your top ten customers if they mind if you reduce their service levels so that your firm can spend more time looking for other customers.
Advice for top clients
If you are a top client of other firms, watch them like a hawk. All around the world, companies are shifting their focus from serving to selling.
Look for companies that have their heads down to serve their existing clients. These are the ones that others recommend, whose managers and employees are banding together rather than tearing at each others’ throats.
By the way, I put “tough” in quotes because these are not tough times unless you adopt that attitude. You are surrounded by opportunities. Most industries are changing rapidly. Change opens doors for the best companies.
The reason why times feel tough is that most companies are on a endless treadmill of competition. They hunt new customers, but once these new accounts are settled they ignore those customers, too, and hunt more new ones.
When this doesn’t work, they blame their employees.