The quote: "Queen Anne fronts, Mary Anne behinds” was applied to housing estates where builders would spend megabucks on the front of the house, giving them oversized columns, lavish porches, giants bow and arched windows while the rear of the homes was often shoddily constructed with inferior products and no attention given to balance, proportion, or design. Hence the term Queen Anne fronts, Mary Anne behinds.
Many businesses engage with clients or customers using a similar model.
We have written previously on the centrality of clients and the importance of creating a strong customer-centric environment. This shift to a customer-centric model involves a movement from a transactional model of business and client to a more symbiotic relationship where the organisation creates moments that matter to clients.
This shift is crucial because it creates loyalty with our clients and customers. At a basic, selfish level, this is good for business. Acquiring new customers is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers.
The more customers we retain, the more profitable our business is likely to be because we are spending less on the churn of acquiring new customers. 66% of businesses have no accurate understanding of the importance of their most central asset – clients.
Many businesses build massive facades to attract new clients and customers. Market niches are analysed and assessed, and avatars of IFC’s [ideal future customers] are carefully crafted with demographics and psycho-demographics meticulously constructed. Advertising is developed to create a hook that allows the ideal client to slip gently into our sales funnel without much thought.
The funnel is designed to be easy because we know that any sticking point getting the customer into the funnel will turn them away.
Our funnels are Queen Anne fronts in their impressiveness to attract clients. We have our scripts in place, ready to highlight the customer’s pain points and how our product will resolve the pain and provide pleasure.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a sales process, as outlined above. It is simply the application of psychology to achieve a mutually beneficial goal for the customer and the business. As with any application of psychological principles, the values and how the principles are applied determine harm.
What are some of the Mary Anne behinds that businesses can avoid?
It sounds so basic, yet it is something many businesses start to do, particularly where a client is paying for a monthly service. Often the quality of service begins to drop off, and emails or phone calls are not followed up as quickly as they were when the customer was a new client.
The business can be so intent on getting new customers into their funnel that their attention to existing clients becomes sloppy and haphazard. The customer feels they are being used for their monthly subscription.
This happens when the customer sees the advertising the business is doing on attracting new customers and the promises of good service given to new customers. The disparity between the advertising and the claims of the company and the quality of service the client is receiving can start a process whereby the client becomes unhappy with the service being provided.
Businesses need to make sure what they are advertising for new clients is precisely the service they are providing for existing customers; otherwise, existing customers can begin to feel they are being used and taken for granted.
2. Are you more excited by your processes than your people?
Often organisations bring in a new process to assist them and they get excited by the process forgetting that any process is only as good as it allows you to, connect in more authentic ways with your customers or clients.
People are invested in their problems and solving them, they are not interested in your processes, as exciting as you may find them to be.
The other thing to remember is that processes are never value-free. Your process indicates to your client what is important to you as a business. If your process is perceived as assisting the business rather than solving the person’s problem, it is likely the client may decide to stop engaging with your company. Which brings us to the third point.
3. The amount of care required for exiting customers
A successful business must believe in the product or service they are selling. If a business or company does not believe in the quality and usefulness of the product or service, it will not stay in business long.
However, the fundamental belief in their product or service must be balanced by the humility of recognising their product or service will not be a match for every client. Their product or service may not match every ideal client, depending on what else is going on for the person. When a client decides the product or service no longer fits their requirements, the exit process must be respectful and allow the client to feel they have been heard in leaving.
What happens to many clients or customers when they indicate they wish to stop receiving a service or a product is they are cut off. This leaves them with a range of emotions, from being dissatisfied and annoyed to making formal complaints.
Many companies deal with customer complaints that could have been avoided with better exit processes. How the customer leaves the company also determines whether they will refer the company to others. Even if a customer has benefited from an organization, if how they are treated on ending leaves them dissatisfied, they will likely give the organisation bad reviews to their peers and acquaintances.
This is why organisations need to have Queen Anne fronts and backs. The care and attention provided to attracting clients needs to be provided when a client decides to leave.
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Whether you are B2B or B2C, whether you are selling a product or providing a service, we are all dealing with another person. It is not just how we attract a person; it is the nurturing we provide to our clients, not only while accessing our service or product, but also when they decide to leave.
Some questions to help us reflect on how we nurture existing clients.
A successful business is not just about attracting new clients and churning and burning existing clients. Successful companies have Queen Anne fronts at the top of their funnels, Queen Anne processes for clients who are in their funnels and Queen Anne processes to exit clients who choose to leave.