Retention – it’s a marathon, not a sprint
2 September 2016

As the saying goes – It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose them.  And, while this rings true, customer retention has a different approach – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

We all know that customers are imperative to the survival, growth and success of any organisation; whether it’s a business, a member organisation, a gym or a club.  So we’ve compiled some top tips on increasing retention rates:

Build relationships developing relationships at all levels is key. Find as many personal touchpoints with your clients as you can at all levels.  It may be knowing members by name, having a systematic follow up programme in place or simply emphasising that personal approach with you or your team spending more time engaging with members.

A simple tool is a staff challenge of the day – for example “What is your client’s favourite colour?”  This simple question can encourage people across your business to engage with your customers and get to know them a bit better.  Build a client colour rainbow as a visual clue, and hand out a few T-shirts to your clients in their favourite colour in recognition of some of their achievements. A good CRM system, like Clubware, can help you track this important information.

Create a community – people like to be with people they like. Your clients might come to you for your particular product but they stay because they like you, your team, and the others they meet through you.  Create opportunities for your customers to mingle outside your core product, be that a coffee club, a golfers circuit group, wine groups, or a book club. Connect likeminded people through your organisation and they will stay.

Outstanding customer service – fantastic service builds fortunes in repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations.  Key elements include immediate response to any comments or suggestions good or bad, an entire team focus on extraordinary customer service, delivering on sales promises in a timely manner, and going above and beyond expectation. This might include cold water in a tub of ice at the end of a class on a hot day or a $1 Mystery Trifecta on Melbourne Cup Day.

Communicationkeep in touch with customers with a rolling calendar of communications.  From letters and offers to events and anniversaries, acknowledge members and keeping them informed.  The content should be relevant, helpful and in a format that works for your customers.

Make it easy – there’s no doubt life is getting busier and people are increasingly time poor, so make it as easy as possible for your customers.  A key way to do this is to offer flexibility around payments – at Debitsuccess, we’ve found that payment plans increase retention due to their reliability, ease of use and security guarantees.

Customer retention is incredibly important for growing a sustainable business so don’t give up!  It’s a marathon of ups and downs but with focused strategies that cost little or nothing to implement, you can increase your customer retention significantly once implemented, have a massive impact over time.