Every fortnight, I pay my barber a visit. This is the same guy who has been cutting my hair for years. My partner perennially mocks me and pronounces this unnecessary loyalty because the barbershop is not even around the corner. I have to drive from Tlokweng to Molapo Crossing to get this done.
You might be tempted to ask: What is so special about this barber? Is he the super greatest barber alive? Well, he is great but there any many others just as great. One needs to understand that products alone are not a good omen to high customer retention. Sometimes even brands with great products fail. As his customer, what sets my barber apart from the rest is the fact that he masters the art of customer retention. Let me give you a few examples. Should I miss my appointment, I will surely get a call from him to check if I am okay. He can even advance a house call and drive to my place at no extra cost.
This is certainly not due to the fact that if I don’t turn up his inflow might be affected. Even if it is about that, as a client I feel valued by the gesture. He even knows my birth date and will insist on giving me a haircut for free. If I walk into the barbershop and the que that day is long, he will check if I am okay waiting, will communicate estimated waiting time or request his colleague to offer me a haircut. This is the standard for all his clients, I have observed. One would therefore expect big corporates with systems, robust processes and big budgets behind everything to surely do way more, but most still don’t.
In Part 1, I did mentioned that for one to fully retain a customer as a brand, you need to occupy their head and mind space to a point that competing brands are never considered, come hell or high water. They only see your brand and want to interact only with it.
A study conducted by Bain & Company in collaboration with Earl Sesser of the Harvard Business School concluded that an increase in customer retention by as little as 5 percent increases profits by between 25 percent and 95 percent. Another study conducted by Rosetta shows that engaged customers are loyal customers, making purchases 90 percent more frequently and spend 60 percent more per transaction. These same engaged consumers are five times as likely to state their loyalty to a brand. Let me point out that retaining a customer does not mean only having that customer in your books; this very customer should make purchases and repeat purchases and be aligned to the customer profile.
There is definitely a plethora of tactics and ways to explore as entities to achieve better. It is argued by many researchers that organisations that show strong employee loyalty by taking care of their own (employees) usually have low customer attrition rates. This is the genesis. Products are sold by the organisation’s sales force that interacts with the customers regularly. Leading organisations in this regard have made it a priority to ensure that their workforce is both physically and emotionally committed to their assigned tasks by seriously working on improving working conditions and overall EVP (Employee Value Propositions). Engaged and happy employees are surely a part of the recipe for positive customer experience and services and thus a major contributor to high customer retention.
Track, analyse and use data to make decisions. We discussed the use of data in previous articles. Customer purchase trends and their interactions with all the platforms should never be taken for granted. The more often a customer makes purchases and interacts with a business is a positive sign. However, once a dip is experienced, a call or any form of interaction deemed suitable by a business should be made immediately to check in with client. The dip could be a warning that your client is trying out other options available.
This is also not to say ignore client interacting with your brand more regularly. They too deserve a thank you call, a token of appreciation or some loyalty and rewards. Life is also moving at the speed of light. Customers change, their preferences do, products come in thick and fast and evolve as well. A business cannot remain static as well. It needs to evolve and products and services must follow this new world order. Offerings must be informed by customers’ purchasing trends. Retaining customers will become almost impossible if customers don’t find your products exciting.
In today’s cutthroat business world, in as much as it is vital to look for new business prospects through customer acquisition, customer retention is equally important, even more important, I argue. The absolute best must be done to hold on to the customers you already have. And while at it, to do the best to get new ones in as well.
LinkedIn: Gomolemo Kololo Manake