SECTION 3 – Retaining customers – setting high standards, delivering value for money and a high-quality customer experience – continued
Example of the lifecycle of your most loyal and bonded customer and the method of retention:
The customer calls in or phones. They are greeted promptly, politely and with enthusiasm and with a few questions you suggest the most suitable solution, the most suitable instructor (if riding lesson) and explain what they need to do, what time to attend and if they know where you are (if a new customer). Do not forget to take payment on booking (for lessons) or direct them to your online booking system and explain your cancellation policy to them. Give them directions, confirm the date and time, and find out how they found out about you (good marketing information).
- The customer will need a progression plan or outcome and you will strive to meet the paying customers desired outcomes whilst giving credence to the time they have available and their budgets.
- During the course of their lessons, offer variety, change, development and training initiatives to improve their ability at every opportunity. The paying customer sees value for money and the riding customer gets fulfilment. Both are happy customers but not invested or loyal yet.
- Invite the riding customer to join your riding clubs and explain all the relevant activities applicable to them to maintain retention. If they continue, they are becoming invested in your business and they make friends which in turn increases their loyalty. Whether the riding customer is an adult or child, the above applies equally. They will spread goodwill through word of mouth.
- The riding customer starts to enter on site camps, training courses pony days, competitions and games and contemplates horse ownership. Don’t encourage this directly but for some time before this you have been sowing seeds. Once they have a certain level of competence suggest a horse/pony share which is a scheme you offer, of course.
- When they have tried various horse/ponies they will know what they want to develop more complex riding skills, adoring ‘their’ horse and buying more lessons to increase their skills.
- Depending on income, time and availability the customer may want to consider buying their own horse. You know already they are good payers, have competence, will make a decent horse owner and equally importantly they will fit with your yard policies and your other livery customers.
You have now achieved a lifetime customer and ambassador who will have paid you thousands of pounds at this stage and furthermore will recommend you to any and all prospects they meet.
Equine Business Consultancy has a library of tips and information available about Customer Retention.
Contact us if you want improve your financial results and operational performance.