If you are just entering the field of customer retention marketing, or reviewing your current customer retention marketing programs, there are three things you must consider as you develop your new program. Each business is different, but the core concepts of customer retention marketing will apply not matter what business you are in. These three core attributes are essential in making the most out of your customer retention efforts.
As you review these three items, reflect on how your program matches up. See if you can find a way you can increase your attention to these items, or revise the way you are handling them for greater success.
The data you collect on purchase history, customer demographics, and behaviors is essential to your planning and execution of your retention marketing program. Are you getting enough data to make a churn model, or are you just waiting for the bottom to fall out once a customer leaves? Data is your best weapon in fighting attrition and your starting point for your customer dialog. Look for ways to grow horizon of what you can see in your data.
You should be communicating with your customer with some frequency before and after purchase cycles to proceed to your ultimate goal of brand loyalty. You should have a campaign of message points around purchases, such as receipts, thank you, follow up surveys, and related items cross selling. But are you also informing them about your company mission and goals? Are you bringing them inside your company to be apart of whom you are, not just what you sell?
Also, your communications should be automated or timely based on user behavior. Without proper data collection you can’t do this, but you can at least get closer to a conversation pace. Look for places to automate, but look for opportunities beyond autorepsonsers. For example you can use previous purchase anniversaries, or upcoming events specific to the user. It’s about having a two-way conversation with your customer. Generic “mass” communications are not going to build a relationship.
The most prevalent way we see relationship maintained is in loyalty programs. But what most companies are trying to do is build value in a relationship with a customer that continues to grow with the company. We think that a loyalty program can be very valuable, but there are many examples of companies that don’t need loyalty programs to grow a loyal customer base. (Apple Computer and Wegman’s to name a few.) So your customer retention marketing plan should understand the ultimate goal of answering the big question, “Would you recommend us to a friend?” This is the basis of the famed Net Promoter Score, and only comes when you company has delivered on or above expectations for your product or service and have the customer’s heart, not wallet, in the brand.
So how can you use customer retention marketing to over deliver on your promises? This is a great challenge, but one with deep rewards if you apply these three elements to your customer retention marketing plan.