When you stop and think of it, customer retention is about the quality of the customer experience; did they have a good time and were their expectations exceeded? That same retention is also about communication; did we connect with the customer and sincerely thank them for their business? Did we personally invite them to come back for more fun and adventure? Did we offer a “call to action” that gives them a reason to act right now?
That’s all very important stuff. In this world of cool technologies; Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, texting, email, etc. there is increasingly a very powerful and underutilized technology whose time, I would argue, has come again … the telephone! Yes, the telephone that your grandparents used … one on one, person to person.
As other technologies have proliferated the telephone has fallen out of favor with many. It can be awkward for staff to call customers and the “distance” and lack of a need to synchronize time to communicate afforded by email, for example, have made non one-on-one types of communication the modern main-stay. One-on-one personal communication should not be dismissed, even if it is at first awkward. A bit of training goes a long way here.
Some of the most successful dive stores have re-embraced the telephone. Owners, staff and instructors divide the customer list and each customer is phoned. Instructors call their students for example. Customers are asked about the quality of their experience, they are thanked for their business, they are invited to participate more; buy gear, come on a trip, to take more courses … you get the idea. And, in this world of “distanced” communications a personal phone call from the store owner or instructor actually punches through the background noise – it stands out; after all, isn’t that what you want to do – stand out. Time to re-visit the phone and if you need some help with that contact your PADI Regional Manager … pick up the phone 😉