Retention is the new acquisition

Joseph Jaffe makes some incredible points in his new book Flip The Funnel.

Most industries really forget existing customers in their strive to grow market share through new acquisitions. For example, the auto industry is no exception. He makes some fantastic points on how Automotive industry must focus on retention as a foundation for acquisition:

Instead of “ending” all outreach efforts at the point of customer
purchase, why not use this moment of truth to kick relationship building
efforts into high gear? For some reason, most auto brands become
goldfish the moment their customers drive out of their showrooms with
their new leased car. Out of site. Out of mind.

Here are some opportunities that he identifies:

Acknowledgment – everything from courtesy follow-up
calls to period check-ins; calls on birthdays; updates on new
accessories, technology patches. And then again there are the two most
powerful words in the English language, “Thank you” (there’s also I’m
sorry but that’s another story for another day). The other day I went
into a local bank to apply for a loan. My contact made a point to
introduce me to the owner of the bank. When last did you meet the owner
of your local dealership? Do you even know who they are? Or more
importantly, do they even know who you are?

Does your local salesperson have a Facebook page? Maybe they should?
What about the brand itself: are they active on Twitter? Does that even
mean anything? More importantly how do they escalate or route queries or
concerns to the right and relevant parties?

In the automotive world, there is a gaping chasm between sales and
service (support).

I could not quite disagree with him on this. Take a look a host of opportunities available for them

Not many companies or brands have mastered the art of treating retention as a form of acquisition. They neither have templates nor a  follow-up plan of how to leverage this. This either ends-up in poor investments in retention or even if they invest in retention programs, there is no organized method of  building a value out of the efforts that are put in. Hence, the results are neither measured nor made a part of the overall enterprise-wide initiative.

Remember, retention cannot be made a department responsibility or accountability but needs an organization-wide ownership. This has catalytic effect on acquisition because of better word-of-mouth, better customer experience, better customer feedback gathering and resolution across departments.

When is your company ready to treat retention as a form of acquisition? Make it happen today.   


  1. In a research study done in the UK by JP LeClerck, these points were also validated. Own and cherish the customers you have today. Turn them into evangelists for your brand because consumer sentiment now drives or kills a brand faster than ever. Like this entry states, don’t abandon new customer acquisition/outreach, but your best way to attract new customers is to leverage the poisitive sentiment of your best existing customers, that has been the case for many years and has never been more true than today. Social media is now social commerce.
    John McCall is Vice President of Enterprise CRM and Database Strategy for Infogroup (formerly infoUSA), the nation’s leading database and cross channel marketing company.


  2. It is quite unbelievable that marketing officers talk of customer lifetime value but do not put a retention policy and systems in place. I must share with you two examples I have myself experienced which made me repurchase from the same establishment.
    The first is Ford India whose dealers in Mumbai – I have been visiting 3 of them for last 5 years – are sharp in reminding me about my next service cycle or calling me a few days after the service (or repairs) to find out whether all is well or even calling up to upsell an accessory. Oh sure, they are not on Facebook or Twitter, but I am familiar with the names of the tele-callers.
    The second is Kesari Tours of Mumbai. After my first experience with them 4 years ago they have been consistently messaging me since then. I receive their message at least once a week with information of new offers, season’s greetings, greeting on birthday’s (they know the date from the passport!) and they even went to extent of wishing my children for their respective Board exams. The last was a clincher!
    Of course, the key factor in repurchase remains effective product performance without which retention policies will not be successful.


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