I was reading this article on How to Project Customer Retention for a Subscription Business, and it reminded me of a project we worked on about 10-12 years ago for a local Chamber of Commerce.
Essentially, the Chamber was disappointed in their retention rate, and they wanted to improve it, and they had very aggressive goals. So aggressive were the goals that we started questioning whether the goals were based in reality or whether they were the proverbial BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that some executive pulled from thin air. The goal was a BHAG, and once that was determined, we proceeded to get the client focused on what percentage of members are truly retainable.
We’ve used this same approach in helping pro sports teams target a renewal rate, and we created a Retainable Rating system for helping Economic Development organizations prioritize their Touch Point Plans through their Business Retention & Expansion programs. In other words, understanding what percentage of customers/members/businesses are NOT retainable as well as who is more retainable than others helps in prioritization of retention efforts. It helps in work allocation. It helps in goal-setting.
There are 3 core ways to determine retainability (which are best used in conjunction with each other):
– Conduct research with existing customers/members/businesses and ask retention-focused questions.
– Review history in your own databases, comparing characteristics of past customers/members/businesses lost v. those retained and applying that data to existing clients.
– Talk to the employees and account representatives who best know those customers/members/businesses.
Add some realism to your retention goals. Add some prioritization and focus to your strategies. Add some reasonableness to what you expect of staff in managing relationships and retaining business.
Determine who is retainable.
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