Big data? Let’s start with Smart Data.
Pro sports organizations feel they know their fans well, and then they conduct their own fan surveys and are frustrated by the lack of useful information. The results are usually broad brushstrokes of fans – general ratings and likes/dislikes. However, research done the right way creates a 1-to-1 view of specific Season Ticket Holders (STHs). Consider the following 3 profiles of specific fans (we changed their names below) that came out of a research project we conducted for a pro sports club:
- Fred Smith will definitely renew for next year. In fact, he’s considering adding seats and is likely to want to upgrade his seats. He’s a STH because he loves basketball and the perks associated with being a STH (particularly ticket exchange and the post-game shoot-arounds), but he’s dissatisfied with the direction of the team. He doesn’t know who to contact if he has ticket issues, and he doesn’t know the name of his account representative. Fred’s married, has a doctorate, and usually attends with a business associate or with his wife.
- Janie Watson is a brand new STH, in her first season with the club. Janie’s uncertain whether she’ll renew her tickets, and although she loves the events, she doesn’t like her seats. She’s 32 years old, single, and loves the relationship with her account representative. She prefers to be contacted via e-mail, and – even though Janie loves her account representative – what’s most important to her is the game itself, getting in/out of parking quickly, her seat location, and getting ticketing needs/issues resolved quickly.
- Bob Jefferson is somewhat unlikely to renew. He’s been a STH for 7 years, and he has the tickets for family entertainment. He’s become disillusioned the past few years because the ownership preaches family values, but several players and some of the game day staff don’t convey those values. Bob wants more opportunities for kids to interact with players, and he’s particularly dissatisfied with the relationship with his account representative, the attitudes of Security, and the game entertainment. Bob noted that he’d like to talk with someone about his issues with the team.
What would you be able to do with this information for these 3 STHs? The answer should be obvious. You know who to contact about what; you know what SPECIFICS to discuss with each. You know HOW to contact them, and you know whether you’re in sales mode or service recovery/retention-mode.
When you look to do fan research, begin with the end in mind. Structure STH research to tell you the level of information you need to nurture and grow relationships – on a 1-to-1 basis.
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Many years ago I was consulting with a client in the financial services industry. This credit card provider would send out literally 2-4 million marketing pieces at a time with the hopes of getting a fraction – under 3% – to respond. The client would then initiate a sales process with that 1-3% and hope to close a certain percentage of those. While I was helping them on the operational aspect of one area charged with this process, I couldn’t help to be awed by the waste…and the fact that they were using generic marketing messages on existing customers.
A customer is not a prospect, but this client was treating them like one.
In the world that we prefer to work in today – that of customer service, the patient experience, season ticket holder retention, and account growth – you view retention and growth as 1-on-1. You view it as me (the employee) knowing you (the customer) so personally, so specifically that I know how you prefer that I communicate with you. I know whether you’re thinking of staying or leaving for a competitor. I know whether you’re likely to be a good candidate for cross-sell/upsell, and I know the best way to do that. I know whether it’s okay to ask for a referral. And when you form your opinion of my organization, I know what are those main opinion-drivers.
Being successful in the customer service, client experience, customer retention world requires that you never start thinking of a client as a prospect. Once you do that, you give up the competitive advantage of having a deeper, more personal relationship with that client.
Don’t turn your clients into prospects.
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Here’s a quick article on using data analytics for client retention (Analytics Boost Customer Retention for Ohio Mutual). Although I like the article because of its obvious retention-focus, some of the key nuggets relate to the metrics that Ohio Mutual utilizes including:
- Retention/renewal rates (historically 87%)
- Profitability of the renewal business (15%-20% higher than the profitability of new customers)
- Identifying premium increase opportunities (upwards of $175 annually for some clients).
Does your organization have similar metrics? If not, just take a minute to think of how your strategies and decisions would be different if you knew retention rates, profitability of renewal v. new customers, and specific dollar increase opportunities with existing clients.
If you can’t afford a SAS solution, we’ve worked with many organizations on analyzing retention rates, at-risk profiling, retention and growth strategies, client exit interviews, etc. without using some high-end system. It’s not about the system. It’s about you, your customer, and the methodology to uncover retention opportunities and act on them.
Know your numbers to better target and achieve retention and growth with current customers.
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