We released our first Customers That Stick infographic this past Monday: When Customers Stick — Customer Retention by the Numbers. In the infographic, we included numerous studies that show that increased retention leads to increased profitability.
One aspect of this phenomenon that our infographic did not explore, however, was the following: Why does customer retention lead to increased profitability?
In their 1990 study — Value Managed Relationship: The Key to Customer Retention and Profitability — R. Buchanan and C. Gilles assert that the increased profitability associated with customer retention efforts occurs because:
Of course, the above findings assume that the relationship with the customer is profitable in and of itself.
Assuming the core relationship is profitable, the reasons above provide managers and owners a roadmap for maximizing the profitability of retained customers.
For instance, Item 4 reminds us that one of the most important aspects of existing customers is their ability to evangelize our brands and to help us attain new customers through word of mouth. What are you doing to make customer referrals as easy as possible and even to incentivize them? Perhaps a loyalty program would be a worthwhile investment?
Item 5 reminds us that existing customers are more likely to buy ancillary or supplemental products. What are you doing to get other products in front of your exisitng customers, without being too salesly?
We know that retained customers mean more profit to our departments and organizations. Understanding the reasons behind that fact can help provide us guidance on how to maximize our retention and our profitability.
Citation: Buchanan, R. and Gilles, C. (1990) “Value managed relationship: The key to customer retention and profitability”, European Management Journal, vol 8, no 4, 1990. Excerpt taken here (pdf).
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.