Customer retention is in the cards

Written on the 30 November -1

The humble Christmas card means more than just 'season's greetings'

THE humble Christmas card is an effective client retention mechanism as well as a being a friendly greeting, says Steve Kondra, from Repeat Customer Solutions.

"The fact that you've chosen a card, put in a message and taken the trouble to post it shows a commitment to the recipient. A message sent via email seems so last minute and off-hand,"
he says.

While sending a greetings card at Christmas is now a standard business practice, the same principle applies with any form of customer retention initiatives.

The standard rule in marketing is that customers should be hearing from you every 90 days, says Mr Kondra.

The reasons are:

Keeping your company top of mind

To offer an incentive for more
frequent purchasing

To simply say 'thank you'

To encourage referrals

Repeat Customer Solutions has developed an extensive range of loyalty and retention programs, including cards and gift baskets, designed to streamline client contact and encourage repeat custom or referrals.

"Sending a personalised greeting card or a gift basket, as opposed to an e-mail or a direct marketing circular, cuts through the clutter like few other marketing initiatives can," says Mr Kondra.

"A card is more likely to be opened than immediately binned and it is also more likely to stay around the office for a long period of time - especially if the recipient enjoys the cover image.

"Of course, most businesses realise that just a five per cent increase in either repeat customer spent translates to a 125 percent increase to the bottom line."

Customer retention strategies include:

1.

Building an effective database.
"Find out as much information about your customer," says Mr Kondra.

2.

Develop a customer contact calendar of events.

3

. Use your planned customer contact to add value. "Programs that give your clients previews to new products they already use, or an exclusive invitation to experience value-added service, can really add up to additional sales."

4.

Use customer contact for quality assurance. "Use your customer database to issue customer satisfaction surveys," says Mr Kondra. "It will generate terrific testimonials and useful tips to improve your product or service."

5.

Remember a call to action.
"Limiting a special by either time or volume creates a sense of urgency and encourages quick action."

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