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Communicate For Retention

In the last lesson, you received a direct challenge to put into daily practice what you've learned in this newsletter. The eleven steps shared will help you know that your relationship initiatives are being implemented properly. What kind of results are you seeing now?

It's because you deserve real and measurable results that this publication strives to give you the straight answers about building business relationships. You'll learn in today's lesson how to create a communications strategy that can improve customer retention.

Each customer interaction, no matter how provided, contributes to your ability to keep customers returning for more. Next time, you'll discover proven methods for designing communications so that you keep customers that are more profitable.

I'm always interested in your comments, questions, and opinions on how this newsletter can better serve your needs. Write today if you like, I am at your service.

Warmest regards,

Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Creating Communication Strategies That Improve Customer Retention

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

With your customers are on the verge of information overload, how can you be sure your message is getting through? Even if your message is reaching the intended customer, how do you communicate to retain customers?

The following points will help your communications strategy increase retention while being happily received by customers:

  1. Understand that everyone has a different learning style. Your customers are individuals, so treat them that way. Test lead generation test across all mediums, but use your existing relationships with customers to survey them to identify preferred learning channels. For best results send your education based marketing messages to those channels most requested.
  2. Choose media relevant to the receiver and message. In the same way you may survey your target audience to determine which channels of communications are preferred, you'll want to consider the appropriateness of your message for each channel. If you need to show something, you certainly shouldn't try to market it over the phone. Test a single message across multiple channels to determine which gets the best response.
  3. Take advantage of how context can increase your credibility. Seek third party coverage in trade publications, at conferences, or other events that reinforces your expertise. An interview will always generate more interest than a paid-for-placement marketing message on the same channel. Positive coverage helps customers feel comfortable with their decision to do business with you.
  4. Increase number of interactions can keep you top of mind. How do you do this without swamping an already overwhelmed customer? Most business to business only contact customers on holidays and to send bills, this isn't acceptable if you want to build meaningful buying relationships. Instead provide high value messages that help customers get more from the solutions they already have, identify new solutions they may need, and contact them at least once a month with something so valuable they welcome it.
  5. Reward your customers in ways that makes them happy to do business with you. Choose rewards that make other customers say "me too" -- give them something they actually want to receive, or are even seeking in their own business. Tie rewards with specific monetary actions closely tied to the decision to continue using your services. A customer must know why they are receiving this extra benefit if they are to convey your value to others who may need your solution.
  6. Use interaction that provides extra value such as tools or calculators. Instead of the usual marketing message that tells customers all about you, choose tools that help customers make real decisions for their business. Decision making tools can be simple charts, spreadsheets, or other resources that help the customer get more from their relationship with your company. Avoid gimmicks or trick return on investment calculators, help customers get what is truly best for their organization.
  7. Be mindful of other challenges customers face so that you can serve these needs as well. Go beyond the simple cross sell; look for other ways to serve your customer base, even if you have to bring in other solutions providers to deliver. This attention to detail generates good will and buys you a greater share of customer. It also encourages customers to turn to you first when they have specific needs inside your scope of service.
  8. Use event based communications that handle certain situations based on conditions triggered by customers. Monitor customer activity to provide certain marketing messages around points most likely to generate a response. Be mindful of those conditions that signal the need for other solutions before your customer takes action with another provider. When you can anticipate and response quickly to customers desires you'll engender multiple purchases.
  9. Ask how a customer will use or want to receive certain information. Avoid sending marketing information or educational materials when it really isn't necessary. Explore a customer's situation when they are developing an understanding of problems they wish to solve and the challenges they face. Often when a customer is just looking, it signals the need for other solutions in the future -- the sooner you can be involved, the more likely you'll their provider.
  10. Get customers involved in media design to maximize response, relevance, and core value. Invite customers to share critical feedback about the value of content in your materials. Use frequent small tests to determine which marketing message is most appropriate for an audience and medium. Instead of company preference, let your customers actions determine what how you execute your communications strategy. Your customers know more about how they want to buy than anyone else.

Unless your message is critical to the recipients business, you don't stand a chance. Follow these points and your customer will look forward to hearing from you. Even more exciting is your customer will keep buying because in their mind, you'll become the only logical provider to choose.

Copyright © 2005 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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