Are You Ghosting Your Customers?

That’s scary – and here are four reasons why!

With Halloween upon us…made me think about a haunting dirty trick.

I’m talking about being ghosted. It’s the worst. You think you’ve made a connection with someone, and then they stop responding to your calls, emails, texts, whatever. Whoosh—they’ve vanished. It’s the ultimate insult. You weren’t important enough to even say goodbye. When this happens socially, it’s hurtful. But when a company does this to a customer, especially educators, it’s really bad business.

This morning I received a notice to renew an educational industry professional membership for a second year. I promptly threw it away. This organization had my name, address, phone number, and email address as well as 11 months to prove their value. That’s plenty of time to share content, provide education opportunities, and encourage me to become an engaged user. Instead, they went radio silent, only to re-emerge almost a year later to send an impersonal renewal notice with 5 easy ways to pay.

In the age of Big Data, it’s surprising how many companies trying to reach teachers do not have an effective customer retention strategy. Too many brands still take the money and run, never to be heard from again. Others fail to distinguish between a prospect and a customer in their marketing. After a purchase, their communications continue to be generic and impersonal.  Educators like to know you are there for them when needed.

When companies ignore customer retention and experience, they’re making a costly mistake. A customer retention program is definitely worth the investment. If you currently don’t have a program in place, here are 4 good reasons to start one.

  1. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of a company’s revenue comes from the top 20% of its customers. That means, the most valuable list you’ll ever find is your own customer database.
  2. Acquiring a new customer is VERY costly – Acquiring new customers is an estimated 5 times more expensive than retaining customers who have already purchased. Furthermore, brands have to convert between 5 and 7 shoppers to equal the revenue from one repeat customer.
  3. Outstanding customer retention programs can differentiate your brand. Consumer companies like Amazon, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Chewy’s have innovative programs to make their customers feel known and valued. People buy from people they like.
  4. Competition is heating up. The innovators are the gold standard, and they’re resetting customer service expectations. If you don’t show your customers the attention they deserve, your competitors will.

Why do so many companies let their valuable customers languish while focusing on unproven prospects? Usually it boils down to limited budget or resources, no one to own and manage the program, or lack of access to (or confidence in) their customer data.

If these problems are holding you back from creating a meaningful customer experience with your educator audience, the fourth quarter is a great time to start planning for the year ahead.  Carve out dollars to create or enhance an existing customer retention program. Learn more about your customers and their future potential to purchase with profiling. Analyze your database and fill in gaps now so you hit the ground running in January. Build apps that make it easy for customers to use and order. Communicate with them regularly in every channel –  email, social media, text, online, and direct mail (yes, even direct mail). When you commit to building an outstanding customer experience, your customers will be more invested in their relationship with your brand, and you will reap the rewards.