Customer Retention - Keeping What's Yours (1,382 words)
by Joan Mullen
While business marketers mostly associate telemarketing with new customer acquisition, often they don't realize that keeping existing customers through inbound and outbound call programs can make a greater contribution to the bottom line.
Training teleservice representatives to retain customers saves companies money—it's estimated to cost six times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one. And, when the upselling and cross-selling potential of retained customers is factored in, the contribution to the bottom line becomes even greater.
Customer retention through telemarketing—particularly with customers who become unhappy with a product or service, are just plain fickle or whose tastes have changed over time—requires a specific strategy. It's a strategy that can fall into two categories: active and reactive.
Active Customer Retention: One Internet Providers Program
For example, outbound teleservice representatives at Ron Weber & Associates actively work on retaining existing subscribers of a major Internet service provider (ISP). The program has two objectives.
The first is to reinforce the customer's decision to subscribe and provide a warm, one-on-one welcome to a new member. To establish this personal bond from the start, our representatives call the Internet provider's new customers promptly after the member logs on to the service for the first time.
Well-trained teleservice representatives inquire about the interests of family members who will use the service, then direct the new customer to areas of the service that may be of particular interest to specific family users.
Creating a bond with a personal "we care" approach is especially critical in any market where customers can jump to competing services or products—whether it's the online service industry, the credit card business or any other industry where the product/service is viewed as a commodity. Sincere customer care is frequently the most important variable that differentiates one company from another.