Do not Pay for your own Customers – Keep them yours

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It is now becoming a norm to pay for leads, customers and referrals from partners, affiliates or aggregators. A customer is referred to our store or online portal by an affiliate and we pay for that lead. It sounds good the first time, but now the same customer comes the second time either through the same source or a new one and we pay for him again and over and over again. Looks like this customer likes our brand, our service and our product, he specifically goes on to a third party ecosystem to come to us and we continue to pay for this loyal customer.

Is it not funny that an aggregator or affiliate values our customer more than we do. They capture him, engage with him, offer him goodies (part of it coming from us) and lure him to come back to them and get directed to us.

Gone are the days when we would advertise hard to get the customer to know us, its time to change, its time for us to know the customer and not vice versa. Customer has done his bit by visiting us, shopping with us, giving his details maybe also filled a positive feedback, we need to do our bit to own and value our customer.

Data, as they say is oxygen or oil of new economy, well how much of it do we have and how much time are we spending to collect it / enhance and above all USE IT. Technology seems to be everywhere and every Indian seems to be a techie, but hardly do we see any use of technology for a simple necessity like customer capture, customer understanding and customer communication, which are pillars of any B2C business.

It’s high time we as brands, as retailers, change our mindset of how many bills, how much sale to How many customers walked in, how many repeat customers, how many loyal customers came in today? Did we personalize our interaction with each customer based on our past interaction or based our understanding of his preferences.

Loyalty programs conceptualized well and integrated with your billing system allow you to consistently capture customer details for every transaction at our POS. This cannot be done randomly through a TAB system or some feedback system or some visitor comment card, its a rigorous process of tagging customer to his shopping. Only this would help identify his needs / preferences and hence help us design just the right communication for each type of customer.

If we capture our own customers, know our own customers, we would be happily paying to acquire a customer for the first time using partners, but post the first visit, we would capture, engage the customer way we want with all our warmth. Send out just the right communication, that would make him loyal and drive much higher Repeat / ROI and Referral for our business.