“What’s going on? We’re frantically making new sales but our customers are still leaving and our margins are suffering badly?”
Most of us are familiar with the often quoted statistics about the value and importance of retaining customers:
- It costs about five times as much to attract a new customer as it costs to keep an old one.
- Raising customer retention rates by 5% could increase the value of an average customer by 25-100%.
- The probability of selling service to a new customer is 1 in 16, while the probability of selling service to a current customer is 1 in 2.
- Loyal customers who refer others generate business at very low or no cost.
- It’s easier to get present customers to buy 10 percent more than to increase your customer base by 10 percent.
- A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%
……and so on.
Company responses have been varied, wide ranging and often very expensive:
- Major retention programs
- Extensive loyalty schemes
- Significant investments in CRM systems
- Huge amounts of customer research
……..and yet the average business still loses between 10 percent and 30 percent of its customers each year and the cost in lost margins, operational resources and brand reputation are huge.
So what is going on? Our experience has shown there are a few fundamentals:
- Lack of engagement – there is a nodding acceptance of the issue, but it is not really internalised as “our problem” or it is considered “just a cost of doing business and we’re all the same”. Yet some simple analysis shows that the first industry player to “crack churn” will win the market share game. The dynamic impact of sales and retention over time are not well understood.
- Lack of insight – we’re drowning in data but there is not nearly enough insight into the causes and what we should do about it. What are the priority drivers and inhibitors of churn from the customer’s perspective and how do they direct our activity?
- Lack of focus – because of the way we have gone about this we don’t agree on the optimum approach and priorities are not clear and/or shared.
ChurnBreaker has been proven to deliver significant turnarounds in churn or customer retention figures in very short periods of time. (When tailored to the few large accounts scenario, this approach has also proven to achieve huge turnarounds in the quality of relationships and saved more than one from being lost altogether. See click here POW.)
It is a combination of several core Enzyme methodologies to address this fundamental business issue – how do you attract & retain the customers you want. It:
- Helps management discover for themselves the magnitude of the lost revenues
- Focuses on solving the problem through a change in customer experience based on deep insight gained from target customers through the application of innovative research techniques (see CVD link)
- Allows executives to develop and test new strategies designed to address the true causes of churn using our Interactive Churn Modeller.
- Brings very rapid consensus on the optimum response and focuses action.
- Produces tangible results in a very short space of time, like everything we do.
Approach in summary
We attack churn in 4 phases over just 12 weeks.
Accelerated Business Focus (1 week)
- A structured workshop involving all key personnel to ensure alignment, create momentum and develop specific program plan details. (See Accelerated Business Focus)
- A key input is the use of our Churn Simulator to let participants explore and understand the dynamics of churn in their business.
Customer Value Discovery (approx 8 weeks)
- Rigorous process to identify the best of what is currently known and take the understanding to a much greater level of depth and insight.
- Existing data is collated, analysed and summarised from a churn perspective.
- CVD is used to truly discover from customers what they value and what causes irritation. A highly refined balance of interviews and innovative customer workshops which uncovers the truth about the products and services from a customer perspective.
- High level of staff involvement “in the bear pit” and in later analysis builds essential commitment and understanding.
- Provides all the necessary input for the development and application of the Interactive Churn Model.
- Identifies numerous opportunities for quick wins which can be implemented immediately to reduce churn.
(For more detail see Customer Value Discovery )
Churnbreaker (4 weeks)
- Interactive churn modelling workshop(s) to identify potential combinations of churn reduction strategies, assess their relative ROI and decide on most appropriate course of action.
- Key stakeholders, with the same, clearly presented information at their finger tips can propose, assess and debate the relative merits of various courses of action.
- Advanced simulation tools and expert facilitation create alignment and commitment to specific actions in a very time efficient manner.
- Implementation management framework agreed.
Customer Experience Transformation (ongoing)
Specifics depend on the outcomes of the previous phase but could include:
- Maintaining the single minded focus on churn reduction required to sustainably reduce customer losses.
- Establishing an appropriate program management plan & resources.
- Re-engineer core value delivery processes from the customers perspective, addressing key churn drivers and operational costs. (See Ultra-rapid process improvement)
- Development of specific churn reporting mechanisms & tools
- Genuine discovery of the key drivers and inhibitors of churn, in the eyes of the customer.
- Interactive Churn Model which provides a powerful tool for developing focussed initiatives to address the issues and opportunities presented as well as an ongoing measurement mechanism which is meaningful to customers.
- High levels of ownership of the findings and commitment to the actions arising.
- Focus across the organisation on the key initiatives to drive down churn in a sustainable manner.
- Identification of numerous quick wins, often irritants which can be swiftly fixed.
- Sustainable reductions in customer churn delivering real and significant improvements in operational, service and financial performance in short timeframes.
- Flow on effects which improve the effectiveness of customer acquisition strategies.
- Many improvements are “invisible” to competitors and therefore very hard to duplicate.
…….. delivered fast.