Customer Retention: Don’t scare them away!
Published: October 2015
With marketing budgets suffering in recent years, it is more important than ever for companies to look after their customers and introduce customer retention strategies.
In order to explain the importance of customer retention, marketing agency Urban River gets you started on the right foot…
What is customer retention?
It is the process of ensuring your current customers keep buying from your company.
This can develop into customer loyalty but a word of warning – it relies on existing databases containing up-to-date information!
Retention is especially important in saturated, highly competitive markets.
Why is customer retention important and who should be retained?
The good news is that retaining your current customers is cheaper than generating new ones; 5-7 times cheaper in fact!
In an ideal world, all customers should be retained; even if they haven’t spent with you for a while or if they don’t spend a lot.
They should be looked after and informed of new products and sales first.
- Active/recent/frequent customers
- Customers who have a good history of renewing contracts
- Customers who adjust their buying/usage to suit you
- Customers in a loyalty/club scheme
- Low maintenance customers
Customer retention strategies and planning
So, you’ve organised your current customers into a database which shows what products they bought, how much/frequently they spend and how they shop (online, in-store, both, etc).
With your data, you need to implement some direct marketing to ensure your customers interact with your brand again if you haven’t heard from them for a while.
What do you want your marketing to do – increase awareness of a new store opening? Entice customers in-store with a sale or for them to call to arrange a meeting?
You now have to allocate resources:
- Money – how much do you want to spend on your retention strategy?
- Staff – should a few of your employees focus solely on this campaign?
- Time – how long do you want to spend on the campaign?
Customer retention marketing tools
- Membership cards & services
- Diaries, calendars, greetings cards and branded goods
- Information (mail, e-mail & phone) – check out our blog on the secrets to a knockout email marketing campaign
- Welcome packages
- Satisfaction phone calls
- Advertising & PR
Proven Techniques to increase customer retention
- Subscriptions/Memberships e.g. P&O VIP Cruisers Club, BA Executive club privileges
- Loyalty promotions
- ‘One to one’ communications (e.g. Tesco send 7 million versions of their monthly statement to 10 million clubcard holders)
- Price based rewards: price freezes, absorbing VAT etc.
- Tying customers into direct debits
- Clubs – book and record clubs
However, even satisfied customers switch…