The cost of losing a customer is staggering. In business, the number of customers you have is one of the predictors of future revenue. Every customer has revenue value. Some more, some less. In newspapers, we know painfully well that losing more customers than we gain is the recipe for decline. With ad dollars tied to audience size, overall enterprise revenue is at stake.
How to Measure the Impact of Customers Who Don’t Come Back
A measure of a customer’s contribution to your revenue, over a given period, is known as Customer Value. When measured over the life of a given customer, it is called Customer Lifetime Value.
Customer Lifetime Value, or CLV, can be increased or diminished by
- Change in purchase size or revenue unit rate
- Change in purchase frequency
- Change in customer status
“Net Redemption mode” occurs when the number of customers cashing out is greater than the volume of new customers starting. How does a viable business lose more customers than they are able to acquire on the front end? One cause is the allure of acquisition marketing taking a higher priority than retaining and nurturing existing customers. Another cause is trust. That is triggered when a newspaper publisher delivers experiences and service far below their customers’ expectations.
It is far more expensive to attract and acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current customer. Studies have pointed to costs ten (10) times greater to bring on a new customer than to retain a current one. Loyal, long-term customers are far more valuable than new ones. Loyal customers general 67% more revenue than new customers. (Source: BIA/Kelsey, Manta, April 2014)
In a subscription-based model, publishers rely on recurring revenue. Churn works against that model. In many cases, a lost subscriber never returns. In a local newspaper market churn is disastrous. Strike one is the loss of consumer revenue. Strike two is the reduction in advertising revenue. And strike three is that the revenue lost from churn is likely to never return.
THE SOCIAL COST OF LOSING A CUSTOMER
We know that unhappy customers tell friends, coworkers, and everybody else on Facebook and Twitter about their negative experience. We also know they share their positive ones. But it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. (Source: “Understanding Customers,” by Ruby Newell-Legner) News of a bad experience, especially those leading to cancellation and churn, reach far more people than positive ones.
How your customer feels is what really matters. A huge part of what makes your customer feel how they do is the experiences they have with your brand. 70% of buying experiences are formed on how the customer feels they are being treated. (Source: McKinsey) Perception is reality. Your customers sign your paycheck. Winning at customer relationships is like printing money.
The Rule of Tens
Customer experience marketing allows us to not only reconnect with our customers. It also presents us with a pathway on which to have meaningful conversations with our customers.
80% – percentage of companies who say they deliver “superior” customer service
8% – percentage of customers who say these same companies deliver “superior” customer service
Don’t go with your gut. Managing customer experience takes data, marketing tools, testing, and patience. It is phenomenally less expensive to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Invest and invest wisely. Your customers are rooting for you to succeed.
91% of unhappy customers won’t willingly do business with you again
Customers overwhelmingly show appreciation for great experiences with their wallets. All this won’t happen by accident. Name a champion internally or consider enlisting outside help. Whichever path you decide, commit to it day in and day out. One of the best sales strategies or revenue plays is to nurture your existing customer relationships. Your long-term customers are worth so much more than a new or infrequent customer relationship.
Do your ears perk up when you hear your name? We are wired to be aware of personal and personalized situations. It may be a defense mechanism or just the result of hearing our own names over and over. Whatever the cause, personalizing your communication pays dividends.
In 2011, studies showed that 86% of consumers quit doing business due to a bad customer experience. (Source: “Customer Experience Impact Report” by Harris Interactive/Right Now, 2010) The top two reasons for customer loss is creating a poor customer experience and failure to solve a customer’s problem to their satisfaction. Responses like, “well, that’s our policy,” or “that’s just how our systems handle this,” won’t ever measure up to superior customer experience results.
Even if you’re a large business, your customers crave personalization. It is a sure way to prevent and avoid your customers “feeling like just a number.” Personalized experiences show your customers that you care. Even if your products are identical from customer to customer, don’t let your communications be. Strive for creating unique experiences that talk directly to customer segments. Most of all, your marketing must show customers how much you care. Customers take a chance when they decide to spend money and with whom. The better your personalization and customer experiences are, the more likely you will have active, engaged customers.
LOOKING FOR NEW REVENUE STREAMS?
As a savvy business owner or operator, we understand that the customer service bar is lower than ever. Differentiation today around service and customer experience is easier than ever before. Now is the time to stand out from the pack.
According to an MSN Money survey, the top customer experience and service companies are:
- Trader Joe’s
- Southwest Airlines
And the worst companies:
- American Airlines
- U.S. Airways
- Delta Airlines
- Days Inn
- Bank of America
- United Airlines
- Super 8
You will draw your own conclusions about the stature and reputation of companies that provide world-class customer experience. The successful brands approach service and experience as a revenue stream. When your product is customer experience and strong service, it shows customers that you truly care of them.
Are you ready to build your legacy? Prioritizing customer experience for publishers drives reader engagement, reduces customer churn, reduces friction, and activates more products within your publishing portfolio, such as All Access, e-edition, newsletters, apps, and podcasts. Over 80% of brands with strong experience and service excellence are outperforming their competition.
Please visit Local News ROI to get started growing your customer relationships.
“You love your customers, we help them love you back.”