In the modern world full of option, the consumer is becoming more and more brand promiscuous (the opposite of brand loyalty). With this overall increase in brand promiscuity, customer retention is becoming increasingly difficult, especially if their needs aren’t completely being fulfilled. Retention is essentially brand loyalty.
‘The extent of the faithfulness of consumers to a particular brand, expressed through their repeat purchases, irrespective of the marketing pressure generated by the competing brands.’ (Business Dictionary)
So why should we be putting a lot of focus on retention? What are the benefits?
Save on Marketing Spend
Marketing is expensive, because of that a lot of focus goes on return on investment (ROI); when you are spending on marketing you want to see that it is bringing money back into your business, this means that you seldom focus on the intangibles such as brand or relationship development. The intangibles are often what leads to word of mouth recommendations, return custom and passive customer acquisition.
Customer acquisition is very expensive; customer retention is far, far cheaper. When you focus all of your efforts and resources solely on your new customers, you are losing out on getting increased return custom, word of mouth referrals and cross/up-selling opportunities, things that would cost so much money to get new customers to do.
By building long term relationships and implementing retention strategies with your patients, you will start to increase your overall brand loyalty and brand awareness with very little spend or effort. If you build the foundation of your business on your current customers, and then start to branch out using modern marketing strategies, you will be setting yourself up for long term, consistent success.
How do we know what is going wrong or right in our business without feedback? We need our patients to let us know how they felt their experience went, and what could be done to improve. Without this honesty, it becomes very difficult to improve, meaning that we lose out on people staying with us because they like what we do.
The issue is, that without loyal retained customers, it is very difficult to get good honest feedback. New patients who have only just started with us wont have enough information about our processes to be able to give an accurate appraisal, but will be less likely to give that feedback anyway as they don’t have the relationship to feel like they should be doing you favours.
Product and Service Diversification
If you are looking to diversify your offering, you can tap into the thoughts of your current patients through surveys and questionnaires to identify if there is a need or a market for this new offering. You can also trial these new offerings with your retained customers, with them providing greater understanding and patience while you perfect this offering.
These retained customers are also likely to be the ones who buy into these new offerings, as loyal customers are fare more open to be cross-sold throughout your full service provision.
Free Marketing/ Advertising
As we all know, there is seldom anything more powerful than a referral from a trusted party. When your patients are loyal, they will actively recommend their friends to you, sending you business for free. These patients will also be the ones that like and share your content on social media with their full network. Finally, these loyal customers will be the ones that leave the positive reviews on Facebook, Google and sites like Doctify, helping you edge out your competitors during the need search phase.
Seeing the benefits that can come from an increased focus on retention, it quickly becomes obvious that an inward focus on your patients and your retention strategies is of paramount importance for the long term success of your Private Practice.