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“The purpose of business is to create and keep customers” a simple, yet powerful quote by the famous Management Consultant, Peter Drucker. Marketing creates customers and the value your product or service provides keeps them coming back. To take the customer relationship to the next step, continuity programs provide value-added features to solidify a customer relationship.
Making an Emotional Connection
Studies show that a 10% increase in customer retention can yield as much as an 80% increase in profitability. Building relationships are important. Finding profitable relationships increases your business sustainability and provides you with the resources needed to innovate and grow. With all relationships, emotions play a big role. The same is true for business relationships.
Customer relationships go far from basic product quality and price. Customer attitudes about your brand image and the customer experience become more important as your business grows. Inevitably, competitors will court your customers to establish new relationships with them. Continuity programs provide value-added benefits and the opportunity to communicate frequently with customers. The unemotional transaction based relationship gradually changes to that of mutual partners in the purchase decision. The goal of continuity programs is to retain customers and build a profitable customer database, which is best achieved through making an emotional connection
Wooing Your Best Customers – Case Study
Our marketing team at a major travel industry brand sought to improve our continuity strategy by first identifying what our most profitable customers looked like. At first pass, we recognized that our customer database of eight million had two million that were repeat customers. Focusing on the repeat customer base, we went on to look at purchase patterns and usage behavior. The results yielded that our most frequent customers were not our most profitable, as they learned how to work the system to get the best service for a lower price.
Using analytics to segment customers into sub-sets, we went on to communicate directly with each group based on their individual needs and aspirations. Our continuity program was not based on points or achieving levels of purchase, it was based on treating customers as a mutual partner in our shared journey. Delivering surveys, discounts, and unique travel offers through direct channels, helped establish the ongoing emotional connection. Relationship building increased the lifetime value of each customer, providing us with profits to expand services based on customer feedback and to model customer psychographics to identify new customers through partner lists.
Building Your Customer Relationships
Like any relationship the ultimate goal of a continuity program is to establish an emotional, committed connection. Weather you use a punch card to reward customers for repeat purchases or an elaborate CRM system, be clear on what each other wants out of the relationship and communicate frequently.
Start small by listening to your customers and what front-line people are telling you. Treat valuable customers well and strive to improve services from the viewpoint of a single customer. Invest in retention of customers, not just acquisition. A 2% increase in retention has the same effect of decreasing costs by 10%. Continuity programs should strive to create strong customer relationships. In the long run, the ongoing dialog will increase profits to reinvest in product quality, improved processes and new technology to continually grow your business.