Be it a brick and mortar business or a one that embraces the latest technology, retaining customers and enhancing their lifetime value is always a challenge. More than 68% of millennial customers in the USA find that brand reliability and durability are the greatest factors that influence them during repurchases. The following 5 industries are the ones facing an alarming exodus of customers. Customer retention programs are a must for these industries to stay out of trouble.
#1 The Airline Industry
The last decade has witnessed a slump in the profits of many airlines. The only saviour comes in the form of customer retention programs, since these businesses have found retention more profitable than acquisition. After claiming a net loss of HK$1.26 billion for 2017, a Hong Kong based airline suffers from tough competition from Chinese and Mid-East rivals and mounting fuel prices. The airline is all set to revive with state-of-art loyalty marketing campaigns. The Cathay Pacific Marco Polo club unfurls a unique accrual and redemption scheme for all existing customers based on their spend. The blockchain loyalty program has paid off resulting in more happily retained customers. Similarly many other airlines are now furthering the impact created on existing customers.
#2 The Online Retail Fashion Industry
The fashion industry is customer-centric, where sustenance is possible only when a consistent relationship with the client base is secured. Selling fashion online has many pros and cons. Only powerful customer retention programs can bridge the gap left by the absence of personal selling. Customer churn is at its worst in the industry. Major online fashion stores like Rue La La, Showpo, Urban Outfitters and Miss Selfridge view customer loyalty as the prime solution to check the impact of churn. Attractive product portfolios, coupons, discounts, free shipping and accommodating returns policies are some of the measures that target customer loyalty. The businesses track and monitor customer behaviour on their shopping sites in order to take advantages of opportunities to cross-sell or up-sell. Making proactive and personalized offers to customers helps them build a personalized remarketing strategy with existing clients. Building user-friendly apps help them connect with the existing database of global customers in a timely and efficient manner.
#3 The Telecom Industry
With the mushrooming of limitless companies selling telecom solutions, retaining customers is the need of the hour. Every telecom service provider faces an annualized churn of anywhere between 10 percent to 60 percent and the numbers are on the increase. The prepaid churn rate of the British telecom conglomerate Vodafone, recorded a 1.5 percent increase in the 1st quarter of 2017-18, compared with the same quarter for the last year in its Italy operations. The firm has unleashed a series of loyalty based rewards programs that includes free top-ups, upgrades, extra plans at subsidised rates and trade-in options for its existing customers. It prides itself in creating the first rural community hub. To turbo-charge its customer service, it has launched TOBi, the virtual agent chatbot that runs on artificial intelligence. The Vodafone Foundation supports philanthropic causes and makes association with the brand a matter of self-satisfaction for existing customers.
#4 The Healthcare Industry
Competition is cut-throat even in this industry that is guided by strict professional ethics and humanitarian values. Attracting and retaining customers is becoming a challenge with a number of businesses offering similar services at affordable rates. Treating every patient like a VIP is the loyalty motto of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, US. Offering pastoral care for spiritual support to patients, libraries with a rich collection of books and pet therapy services are some of the efforts in the direction of building a positive patient experience. The Healthcare Industry can handle the threats of churn by investing in CRM that helps them personalize their interactions with clients. Continuous and frequent communications with clients will help build an emotional bond, even after a hospitalization. Social media exposure is a must for the health care enterprises, not only to personalize communication, but also in the creation of enlightened online communities. Special offers for women, senior citizens on occasions like Women’s Day or World Diabetes Day will make customer engagement habitual.
#5 The Hotel Industry
Churn propensity is constantly building in the hotel industry, especially in developing countries. With the global hospitality industry taking a hit due to various factors including mounting costs and intense competition, hoteliers need to go every extra mile to keep their guests happy. A guest satisfaction audit can stop the hotel industry from losing its precious customers to competition. Service quality is the major factor affecting the customer repurchase decision. Whether it is food and beverages, or banquet dining or reservations, the Customer is King maxim can never be ignored. The prestigious Hilton group of hotels extends a tiered loyalty program where a Hilton Honours Member enters the silver, gold or the diamond tier on the basis of the number of nights stayed or amount spent during a time period. The program has bought satisfying results and sets a leading example for other players in the hospitality industry. Citing another example, the leading fast food restaurant chain KFC launched the Colonel’s Club as part of its loyalty marketing campaign. For every purchase of more than £3, a customer gets a stamp that entitles them to free offers and rewards.
Brand integrity is built when strong customer retention programs are in place. The above analysis sets forth the precincts of building loyalty in competition-intense industries. Instead of waiting for churn to eat into their ROI, these industries need to be proactive and take timely steps to bring back the lost sheep, before it’s too late. By building personalized experiences for customers, the industries can hopefully plug the holes created due to dwindling brand loyalties.