Incentivising to retain customers

There is a new trend catching up-of incentivising customers to ensure their loyalty. The ones left out in the race are alarmed to tie up their laces and get going….
customer loyalty

Many a times it happens that we don’t get what we are promised from shops leaving us disappointed. For example, smart gimmicks by the retailers that are enough to pull the crowd inside the store fail to deliver the promised once we are inside.

Also, at times, we expect the retailer to give us a little more on our spending. Well, the greed never ends and since we are the king customers, we are not wrong in expecting more than they can deliver.

When asked how to keep a customer happy, Mr. Anupam Bansal- (M D, Liberty Retail Revoluitons) said what everyone does usually, for example,  a customer may get disappointed if he or she is unable to get the required assistance at the store which they deserve. The customer should always feel comfortable and welcomed at the store. It’s the responsibility of the staff to greet the customer and should show enthusiasm about the product that he/she is selling. Equal emphasis should be given on hospitability. A glass of water to the customer or offering tea/ coffee always makes an impression. At Liberty, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance, we have taken up initiatives like cleaning customer’s feet with wet wipes before making them try the footwear. In case the customer is not satisfied with the product we still provide them with generous after sales service. These small gestures go a long way to get a happy and satisfied customer.”

Well, dear, true, we can adopt the above to get in the customer but in this age of competition and innovation, we need to do a little more, go that extra mile beyond offers of a cold drink or a wide smile to retain them theoritically, I am sure you are generous with your loyalty cards and free coupons as well in keeping with the trend of incentivising customers!

Service recovery scheme

When a customer has a bad experience, the retailer will do whatever to fix that problem then and there itself so as to retain him or gain him back.

I will quote my own example here. Once, impressed with the huge collection that the new online store had, not to forget their great sale offer, I ordered a pair of running shoes for the forthcoming marathon. Guess what? The shoes never came on time so I had no option but to cancel the order and buy a new pair from some nearby shop, although the company insisted that I wait for some more time, I was clear, “I wanted those shoes for a particular occasion, now it is pointless to buy them”.

This left a bad taste in me although my friend insisted that new companies need some time to get organised.

Well, I had barely recovered from the stigma of a company which I had already termed a fraudster, -whoosh came a mail compensating for the damage they had caused to me by not honouring my order- and what’s more, it also had a free coupon of exactly the same amount that was against the order I had placed. “Wow!” I was really impressed.

This helped me in three ways: Ingrained a positive image of the company in my mind, built my loyalty and retention.

Free coupons also called loyalty coupons are a great way to compensate for the damages caused to the customers. Some even take the pain of sending chocolates and champagnes to retain their customers.

Hence, I am sure I am not the only one to be blessed with such serendipity; this must have rubbed on others as well.

Honouring customer’s demands

Like Mayank Gupta, who is in Marketing Division of Catmoss in a senior position cites what can go wrong mostly with them and how they rectify that, “The biggest problem that we face is handling exchange. At times, our customers come back after the stipulated period and insist that we honour their request. For example, if the exchange period is 7 days and somebody comes after 1 month, we consider the exchange after discussing with the CCD who writes an instant mail to the head office to get their approval. This is fine, but imagine, customers coming after a season say after 6 months. At a time like this, we have no option but to say a straight no. These are basically people who have received the clothes in gift. Sometimes, we incentivise them in case we want to retain a good customer”.   

Banking on Banks     

Some retailers have incentive schemes like discount on using a particular credit card. For example, you may get some additional discount of say 5 per cent or even less or more, along with the regular discount. This will attract footfall of that particular bank’s card holders and they will feel elated to get that extra discount.

Loyalty cards

I first came to know of loyalty cards from airlines. In this scheme, every time one makes a purchase, he gets some points and this is accumulated until he can redeem them. This is a great way to honour and respect the customer and make him feel important. These are perhaps most prevalent with all kinds of big retailers. I personally have a loyalty card of Westside.

Conclusion: In this competitive world, retaining customers is as big a challenge as getting them. These incentives and loyalty programmes not just help retain customers and build up their image but also help in winning back lost customers. I am sure; in future we will see some more interesting innovations in the incentive domain.

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