1 + 1 < 2: Connecting Customer Retention to Customer Experience Optimization

When it comes to customer retention, all too often companies think of it as a transaction and seek to optimize performance at a decision point—for example, at the time of a contract renewal—but this is too little, too late. Many of the experiences that influence customer decisions occur long before the time of the renewal/re-purchase decision.

Maximizing the retention opportunity requires not only a strategic, well-executed retention marketing campaign, but also a comprehensive customer experience optimization strategy. Moreover, to be successful and efficient, these efforts must be coordinated, rather than siloed in functional areas. Look at the following three examples and decide which one you would want your company to be:

  • A company charging an annual membership fee promotes renewal of its program through a combination of email and inside sales outreach to existing customers. Almost 50% of the customers do not renew because they were dissatisfied with their experience.
  • A company markets its offering and brand to existing customers and also conducts semi-annual NPS surveys with organizational support and follow-through leading to extensive investment of resources to improve issues highlighted in NPS. However, the company never mentions these improvements in its customer marketing communications, nor does it take any measure of the degree to which improvements have led to a share-of-wallet increase among existing customers.
  • A company with a complex product conducts voice-of-the-customer research including NPS to understand drivers of follow-on purchases. This research leads to the creation of a new customer onboarding program focused on driving training attendance and an outbound marketing campaign emphasizing the benefits of loyalty. The two efforts in tandem produce an 84% lift in revenue from existing customers and a 60% decrease in customer churn.

Our point: You can’t retain customers if you don’t understand what drives their loyalty and satisfaction. And if you do have this understanding but don’t use it to make your retention marketing more effective, you’re wasting your money.