A few days ago I saw a question on Focus.com: What kind of loyalty programs can small and medium sized businesses easily implement?
After seeing the question, I headed over there and left an answer:
“One of the very simple things that I have found to be the most effective in promoting and developing customer loyalty and customer retention in the SME sector is to put in place a programme of contacting the customer on a regular basis and arranging to go and see them or talk on the phone. Nothing like a bit of personal service to make people feel good.”
What I think is interesting is not my answer but what was part of my initial thoughts. One of my first reactions was to come up with a solution or a process or a system or a piece of CRM technology rather than to think ‘Hang on, what have I done with clients that has worked the best and produced the best returns?’
Well, I believe that most of the stuff that is written about customer retention and customer loyalty in the media is about new processes, new systems, new ways of measuring things, new technology business etc. The result of that is that it influences how we think and what we prioritise. If numbers and systems and measurement and technology become your priority then what happens to the customer relationship? Is it just a number in the end? How would you feel about that if you were just a number? How do you think your customer would feel knowing that they are just a number?
I think that taking our eyes off the figures for a while and focusing on the people at the other end can lead to dramatic results. For example, I remember developing a customer loyalty and customer retention strategy for an IT services company client along the same lines as suggested in my Focus.com answer and it resulted in 50% revenue growth for my client’s business in the next 18 months.
However, even though the question was aimed at small and medium sized businesses, I think there are lessons here for businesses of all sizes.
What I’d be interested in is hearing more about what things have you seen or done that are easy to implement that are great for developing customer loyalty and customer retention?
Thanks to enriqueburgosgarcia for the image.