Repeat business is the most tangible metric of the long-term sustenance of a business. It is a measure of the credibility and repute enjoyed by the business. It is a powerful force against customer churn that drains the sales funnel. Retention marketing is the sustained endeavour to cultivate brand loyalty. Many organizations take up high-cost customer retention programs that may seem expensive in the initial stages, but are justified considering the repeat business.
- Marketing Automation
Loyalty marketing can be messy in the absence of automated processes. A sizeable percentage of customer relationships are lost due to failed endeavours to resolve differences and grievances. Unattended customer grievances are the result of a failure to monitor the customer journey. Dissatisfied customers will not wait patiently for delayed justice from the company. Instead they choose to leave. Having an automated marketing process facilitates customer intelligence. IT leads to better profiling and segmentation of the client base. Insightful and proactive communication from the organization delights customers and builds brand loyalty. Digitizing the entire marketing function can be an expensive way to use customer retention programs. Nevertheless the returns are worth the investment involved.
- Free Shipping And Returns
For the ecommerce giants out there, competition can be a barricade to uninterrupted market access. Customers like to experience the same ease and flexibility of walking into a physical store when they shop online. When it comes to shopping for fashion online, two potential areas of friction are shipping delays and costs as well as returns. Since the goods cannot be felt and tried, there is a higher chance of returns. To build the bond of loyalty, retailers are generous in offering free shipping and returns. The customer retention programs costs can be astronomical and the agreements with third party vendors for dispatch do not come without appropriate costs. However, customers who are assured of relief from the costs of shipping and returns find it more appealing to come shopping, time and again with the same brand.
- Influencer Marketing
Roping in the heartthrob film star, the popular sports icon, the sensational fashion diva or the super-influential blogger can work wonders in customer retention programs. When these celebrities are employed in retention marketing, the results are overwhelming. Customers repose confidence and trust in the unbiased endorsements of their favourite celebrities whose thoughts and gestures can inspire the entire audience base, both offline and over social media. The backend operations that are tied to celebrity based retention marketing are tedious. The planning and scheduling of communication campaigns, measuring the social media impact and ensuring that the influencers endorse the product in the right manner are some of the intricacies associated with customer retention programs of these types.
- Premium Memberships At Hotels, Resorts And Clubs
Organizations like to provide their loyal customers with something beyond what is in their portfolio. They also want their loyal customers to stand out and inspire other new customers. In the urge to extend such preferential treatment, VIP programmes have been in vogue for a long time. Here, the benefits do not necessarily relate to the quality or the cash value of the privilege that is given, but the feel-good factor in being associated with a prestigious loyalty program. A VIP treatment in future bookings, a free membership at a high-end golf club or free dining opportunities at some of the world’s finest restaurants will cost your organization. Not employing customer retention programs will cost you more.
- Gamified VIP Programs
Gamification in retention marketing has become a common practice nowadays for the simple reason, to build more opportunities of customer engagement. To claim the loyalty points, you need to play an exciting round of games that involve conquest and adventure. Gamification involves the application of gaming concepts to real-life scenarios. Gamification remarketing belongs to the elite class of customer retention programs that required investments in terms of developing, running and managing the gaming contests and to carry out analytics on the success of the programs. However, the impact on sales is awesome when compared to other methods. Customers are led to make further business to quality for the next level of winnings that entitles them to rewards. This way, sales figures start zooming and cover the costs involved.
- Complimentary Maintenance And Extended Warranties
These measures are usually carried out by sellers of high-cost consumer durables like automotives and household appliances. Cost of maintenance and warranty renewals are always a hassle for customers who have just ended up blocking fund in purchase. To make them happy with their current buying decision and to make them come back for repurchase next time when there is a need, the seller pitches with bearing the costs of maintenance for a specific period, say, an year. Loyalty marketing efforts like these whip up the function of referral marketing where word-of-mouth publicity on sustained efforts of the seller to retain the buyer are made known to the world, in an organic manner. Similarly, with regards to warranties, extending them at a subsidized rate will make the brand friendlier and closer to the emotions of the end users.
- Free Expert Advice By Professionals
Often, professionals who are subject matter experts, are approached by businesses to render advisory or consulting services to their loyal customers. For example a leading footwear manufacturer, may arrange for loyal customers to get a free consultation from foot care experts. Loyal customers of sporting equipment or apparel may be entitled for a free appointment with a leading dietician or nutritionist.
These customer retention programs bring lasting increments to the revenue curves of the business. The expenditure involved in manning these programs are recovered in both ways. One is by preventing defection of customers and dwindling brand loyalties. Another is the cost that is saved in acquiring fresh customers, since selling to existing customers leads to considerable savings. Any decision to compromise with the quality of loyalty programs, fearing the cost that is involved, will prove detrimental to the long-term growth and market share of the company.