Build the cage, then trap birds

While I agree that many companies may be more interested in winning customers than in hanging on to existing ones (MW April 18), the two need not be exclusive. Ideally, good retention strategy should begin prior to customer acquisition – it is possible to recruit potential loyal customers.

Companies should use insight gained from assessment of customers’ needs, demographics and behaviour to ensure that acquisition strategies target those consumers most like those who are already loyal. If this is not possible, it is imperative that a strategy is implemented as soon as possible after prospects become customers.

Customer knowledge is the key to retention. Understanding “who” the customer is, what they are likely to require and their preferred service and communication channels is the basic foundation. If a company knows what products and services to talk to customers about and when, it is halfway there. The other half comes from assessing their expectations. Remove the need to shop around, and customers are more likely to stay.

Caroline Kimber

Vice-president of direct marketing


London W14

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