IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 6 May 2013

“It’s Easier to Keep a Customer than Find a New One” – A Guest Blog From Von Bismark

customer retention, how to retain customers, keeping customers happy, existing customers, retail, retail assist, customer serviceWhat does it take to keep your customers?

Sales campaigns launched at existing customers can have success rates as high as 65-70%, while potential customers have just a 5% pick up rate.  When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. If the price is right and you like the seller, why take a risk and change?

So what are the factors that encourage your clients to stray?

The answer, according to a 2012 study:

  • 14% are lured by a competitor
  • 14% are turned away by product or service dissatisfaction
  • 68% leave because of poor attitude or indifference on the part of the service provider

With this in mind, customer service is approximately three times more important than price – and five times more important than functionality. If there was ever a time to make sure you are doing all you can in terms of satisfying your existing customers, it’s now.

What to do…

Poor customer service accounts for nearly 70% of customer loss.  Here is how you can hold on to the customers you have without being overbearing or intrusive.

1. Listen to your customers complaints.

This goes for both offline and online. Keep track of any online channels you have to market your business. From social media to email and blog/website comments. If you ignore complaints on these forums things will go from bad to worse. The way people communicate has changed and you need to make sure you’re changing with it.

Another great option is to give customers the option of giving feedback in store – through kiosks, mobile devices and brand apps, you can get feedback from your customers on the experiences they are having in real time.

2. Say thank you.

It may seem small, but you would be surprised how far a thank you can go. This goes from saying it after a purchase at a physical checkout, to sending out a tweet or email to a loyal customer saying how much you appreciate them.

3. Loyalty Programs – Thinking differently

Keep it Simple
The reason stamps work so well in the coffee industry is because people can see an end in sight, the reward is tangible and immediate. When people shop with you, do the same. Produce a voucher at the checkout for the next time they visit, give them the option of a loyalty card/mobile app that doesn’t require an elaborate sign-up form, give them a coupon to use in your online store to encourage site visitors.  Instant gratification is what people want, if they’ve been using a card for two years and have amassed £7, they’re not staying loyal.

Think Experience over money
Most successful loyalty programs go beyond simply offering points in return for purchases. Instead, retailers are trying to add more value to their most loyal customers, rewarding them with experience-focused initiatives. Instead of points, people are being rewarded with experiences that aren’t accessible to just anyone.


Get Digital
Going digital with loyalty programs is something that has been spoken about since 2010 and is the next logical step for all brands. This stretches from apps individual to a brand to apps that incorporate multiple loyalty programs across a range of retailers. Companies such as Starbucks, Sephora and Amazon have incorporated effective mobile loyalty programs under their own name to drive repeat purchases. These have proven highly successful for the brands and with people using their mobile for virtually everything now, it seems like a smart choice.

4. Never underestimate your staff on the ground.

Think of your staff as people, not just figures on a balance sheet. If you treat the people who work for you well, then you’ll have a happy workforce. And as we all know, a happy workforce makes for pleasant treatment of customers and a positive shopping experience.

5. Let people know you’re listening

Once you’ve collected data through different forms of customer feedback. Make sure they know you’ve heard them! People are impressed when they see that opinions are valued, and they appreciate when you do it.

It’s also a great idea to use examples of changes made to your business because of complaint or suggestions, in your marketing.

Because of Mark’s suggestion, we extended our opening hours on  Saturdays during rugby season!”

If they know you’re listening, they’ll tell you more.

This article was written by Von Bismark. A company that has created a unique solution that uses motion capture and augmented reality to create a world where consumers can physically interact with digital inventory.

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