HCI Direct’s Karen Arbegast on Retention and Redefinition
Putting the focus on the customer is not a new concept. However, a strong customer relationship management strategy is even more vital if you’re running a continuity program, where customer retention is key. Target Marketing spoke with Karen Arbegast, vice president, marketing and customer service for HCI Direct Inc., and discussed the company’s approach to customer retention, current initiatives and how HCI is redefining itself going forward.
Target Marketing: How has HCI reshaped its approach to customer retention over the past few years?
Karen Arbegast: The biggest opportunity we saw was to focus on the customer and the customer’s needs—particularly in the continuity environment, where so often customers feel like they’re having things forced on them. We wanted to redefine what a continuity program is, to focus on service to the customer, putting her in control and meeting her needs.
TM: What have been the most important changes to the Silkies continuity program?
KA: Before, if a customer wanted to change her account, we used mail correspondence as a way to have that dialogue. What we’ve done over the past several years is … allow [customers] to manage their accounts online.
[Also], they’ve always been able to correspond with us [via] phone, but [now] we’ve expanded our hours—from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.—and as of Sept. 1, we introduced an interactive voice response (IVR) system, so that they can have 24/7 service, as well. We’ve allowed them to have access to us through whatever channel they prefer: mail, phone, e-mail or the Web.
Additionally, [customers] could always choose the styles they wanted, however, they were limited to choosing between four pairs and six pairs [of hose], and they got [them] on a regular schedule, every month. Now they can choose whatever style they want, and choose anywhere between four pairs and 12 pairs. They [also] now tell us when they want their hose delivered.