Retention In Direct Marketing Campaigns

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Retention In Direct Marketing Campaigns

Running a direct marketing campaign without paying attention to retention is like filling up a bucket with a hole in the bottom. You keep filling the top of the bucket with new customers, but if you’re not paying attention to who’s trickling out of the bottom, the bucket will never be full. Patching the leak and keeping your customers in the bucket is the quickest way to maximise profits. This is why retention is one of the most important factors in our direct marketing strategies.

Focussing efforts on retention just makes sense

Existing customers are our favourite kind of customers. They’ve already opted in for your services, they know your brand, and they’ve remained loyal. Unfortunately, circumstances change and making sure that you’re able to anticipate and provide solutions to clients’ challenges requires consistent effort and improved services.

The most important retention strategy is simply to engage with and understand your clients’ situation. Give clients back a sense of control when they understand that they have options and they are not made to feel defensive or embarrassed. Service and product providers are all fighting for a share of their clients’ disposable income, so make sure your relationship with your clients are strong and maintain the value of your product or service.

AVM as a retention strategy

The best method to engage with your clients in a non-invasive and cost-effective way is through Automated Voice Messaging (AVM).  Yes, we have all received irritating AVMs through badly executed marketing strategies and at CDA Solutions, we are not fans of using this technology to solicit new clients.

AVM as a “client service and information tool” though, is very effective, if done professionally and consistently.  We use AVMs to communicate with our clients should they be at risk of losing valuable cover and we present the various options available to manage their policies. Our AVM technology then facilitates the clients’ selection and manages the process, whether it leads to simply updating client information or facilitating revised payment methods.

The effectiveness of AVM technology

We’ve been using AVM for the last 5 years to enhance our retention strategy and besides also ticking the “Treating Clients Fairly” box, we have found the following:

  1. By using AVM we are able to speak to 25% more clients than through an outbound call centre and at half the costs of outbound telemarketing.
  2. Our customer could interact with us using their phone keypad and 40% of the options selected required no further interaction, other than updating information or confirming processes on the system.
  3. The customer could choose to connect to the call centre and speak to an agent at no cost to themselves, or the customer could request that an agent call them back at a more convenient time.
  4. We could track exactly who had listened to the message and for how long.
  5. We can identify who has interacted with us and at which point.
  6. We are even able to verify that we are speaking to the right person, through ID number validation using the telephone key board

Some learnings along the way:

  1. Customers respond well to this medium. Most South Africans much prefer to resolve an issue of non-payment without having to talk to someone.
  2. By giving the customer choices and by addressing the problem with them, you are more likely to get better results.
  3. We saw a significant improvement in “catch-up” payments once we’ve communicated in this manner and less cancellations compared to the control groups.
  4. We gave our customers the option to cancel their policy.  Where we crazy to suggest cancellations? No, in fact, once a client chose this option, our consultants had the opportunity to ensure that the client understood the implications and gave them the option to downgrade their cover. With the result that only 2% of the clients actually cancel, compared to the 12% who would generally choose this option.  They did not realize that they had an option to downgrade and make the cover more affordable for them!

This takes us back to basics: talk to your customers and understand what their challenges are, find solutions for these challenges and give your customer options!

Keep an eye on our articles over the next few weeks and months as we delve deeper into this fascinating topic.

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