Series 2, Part 10: When Should Your Customer Retention Efforts Start?

So far in this series I have provided some pretty compelling evidence that pool retailers have a huge opportunity to improve their business results by improving customer retention. For example, one case study found that a 5 percent increase in the retention of new customers gained during 2010 resulted in a whopping 19.6 percent increase in sales from those same customers by 2012. Wow, I’d say that’s worth the effort!  

But the retailers have told me they don’t know what to do. My next few articles will provide some ideas. But first, consider this question: When should the customer retention effort start? 

Blog 2 10 Chart V1

Tick, tick, tick… 

An invisible clock starts ticking the moment a new customer makes a purchase from your company. The clock may be imaginary but its relevance is all too real. The initial contact and experience a new customer has will set the tone for the relationship, for better or worse. Yet how many pool retailers can say they pay sufficient attention to the initial customer experience? Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. 

Imagine this

Imagine you bought a house with a swimming pool and have owned it for two years. You purchase your pool chemicals from Home Depot, which is located conveniently near your house and has worked just fine until you experienced an algae problem last spring. Getting no help whatsoever from Home Depot, you went to a specialty pool store near where you live. Let’s call them Family Pools. 

The salesperson at Family Pools was a seasonal temp but managed to read the labels with you and help select a product that worked. But you were left with the impression that, having owned a pool for two years largely relying on your own research, you knew more than the salesperson. So with your problem fixed you return to buying from Home Depot.

You hear nothing from Family Pools until you start receiving their direct mail flyers. A quick glance at the Summer Sale Flyer draws your attention to a UV sanitizer device for $899, a heat pump at 20 percent off, “everything I need for an above ground pool,” an outdoor kitchen for $4,995 and a phosphate remover for $38 per quart. You don’t see anything you need, and it all seems pretty expensive or unnecessary. So you quickly discard the flyer.  

The flyers from Family Pools keep coming, along with flyers from Home Depot, all of which quickly end up in the garbage. With no relevant communication from Family Pools, you find no motivation to return — and don’t.

Folks, the flyer I mentioned above is real. It is one I that I received personally and responded to similarly. If this sounds like your company, let me assure you there is a better way — stay tuned for future articles to learn how! 

Your turn

What do new customers experience with your company? Is it working to get them to the second sale and beyond? How do you know? How do you track and measure new customer retention? What ideas do you have that you have not implemented? What is getting in the way? What kind of help could you use?

Read the previous post in this series: Identifying Leaks in Your New Customer Pipeline 

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