Friday, October 29, 2010

Retention 101, part I

Everyone seems to have their own system for Retention.  Some people use spreadsheets or Outlook and others just wing it.  But in today's economy winging is definitely a bad business decision and even relying on a spreadsheet can be pretty risky.  At MicroCorp, because we are a Master Agency that supports Agents nationwide, we have spent a lot of time developing tools and systems to help not only our Agent Partners but also our Retention Team manage all of the nuances of Retention. Because retention has so many parts, I am going to break down retention into several steps in my next few blogs.

To start it is important to know what the Carrier's policy is for retention.  Some Carriers like New Edge Network have contracts that auto-renew.  So unless your customer sends a cancellation letter in advance, their contract will renew for a year at the same rates. Paetec has a team who call out to existing Agent accounts reterming them for the Agents.  That is a real win/win for both Paetec and the Agent.

At the total opposite end Carriers like CenturyLink stop paying commissions to Agent on accounts that fall out of contract.  There are even a few carriers who will renew your customers on their own making the customer's "direct" house accounts leaving the Agent high and dry.  So to protect your business you really have to know exactly what the Carriers rules are on retention.

What to look for in a Carriers Retention Program:
* How early can an Agent reterm a customer?
* What is the Carrier's policy on auto-renewing?
* What happens to an Agent's commissions if the customer goes month to month?
* Are there any potential risks if a customer does not reterm,  like do pricing promo's fall off increasing a customer's rate.
* Does the Carrier have a program to renew a customer on their own, cutting the Agent out of the relationship.

So do you know what all your Carrier's policies are for Retention?

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