One simple truth about customer retention is that it is a sales process. The challenge in retention sales is that you can’t always sell the product again the same way. The customer has already agreed to your case and purchased the product. Now there needs to be something different and new in the sales process and its very likely that your product is not changing. In the case of SAAS, it might be, but in general, the product is what it is. So how do we create a new way of positioning a static product? The answer is messaging.
To understand how messaging works, we have to break into a marketing 101 for a minute, and talk about USP, or unique selling proposition. These are the attributes or advantages that your product and company have over the competition. You used these to successfully create “messages” for the product when selling it to the consumer. Now, as you look to further your relationship with your customer, you have to approach the sale from a new and better angle and expand on your existing USP in your customer’s mind. You need to communicate more, so the value equation for your product grows in the mind of your customer, even if the product itself did not change. The core benefit difference now, is that they are already a captive audience. They are willing to have a dialog with you, which in our world is the ability for you to communicate your message and for the customer to respond. You just have to know where to start.
We’ve discovered four message dialogs that help engage the customer in retention. We call them, Market, Competition, Value and Cost. We are going to explore these in more detail throughout a few more posts, but each one is a topical starting point for your retention messaging. Much like having a few questions you use to strike up a conversation with a stranger, these four message types will guide you into producing a long lasting dialog with your customer. Without a captive dialog with the customer, they are moving away from your brand and product to the competition, or away from the market in general.