Database: Preventing Breakups
Still keeping an eye on balancing good taste with personalized care, Nissan plans to continue to provide detailed information about customers to each dealership.
“Our goal as a marketing organization,” Welby says, “is really to deal with personalization. The better we can talk to a Nissan or an Infiniti owner in a one-on-one basis, know them individually, the better we will be successful at retaining them to the business.”
In one of its first retention campaigns after dashboard implementation, NNA dealerships spent February and March 2009 sending targeted messages to customers who had visited once during the past 12 months. (NNA defines two parts and service visits within a year as successful customer retention.)
Welby says customer response and overall spend exceeded expectations.
Much as two people in a relationship will define it differently, members of an organization may not agree on retention’s meaning. But they need to get in the same gear before finalizing that aspect of their dashboards, and furthermore, they should consider retention as more than an all-or-nothing proposition, Budds says.
“If you see, over time, that the balance in somebody’s savings account is trending downwards and that’s happening in … an unexpected way, that’s often called ‘balance diminishment.’ And that’s obviously a leading indicator of somebody that may be moving their funds elsewhere,” he says.
Clients like Wachovia watch this indicator closely, Budds says. Now that Wachovia is a Wells Fargo company, it’s easy enough to use the same sentence to discuss the companies that merged on Dec. 31, 2008, under San Francisco-based financial giant Wells Fargo’s umbrella—especially considering both have dashboards that track trends like customer behavior and other retention metrics.
“Wachovia … had done a tremendous amount of work on customer service and achieving very high levels of customer service, all with a view to improving their retention levels,” Budds says. “And that focus, I think it’s fair to say, has continued through their merger with Wells Fargo. And Wells Fargo is also a company that, historically, has had a heavy emphasis on relationship banking, building a relationship with their clients and using that to understand client needs and to assemble and maintain a customer base that becomes an asset over time.”
For Better or Worse
Ram Krishnamurthy, director of marketing automation at Quaero, points out that the recession won’t last forever. But companies should try to make sure relationships with current customers do.
“If organizations don’t take active retention measures, then it’s almost like a problematic thing for them in the future,” he says. “So I think that’s why, in these economic times, you’re seeing most organizations look towards the retention programs to ensure that they can have something in place that allows them to grow their existing customer base.”