B2B Services Retention
# 55: 4/2005
Drilling Down - Turning Customer
Data into Profits with a Spreadsheet
Customer Valuation, Retention,
Get the Drilling Down Book!
In This Issue:
# Topics Overview
# Best Customer Retention Articles
# B2B Services Retention
# Professional Services Retention
Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.
This month, we're looking at Retention in B2B and Professional
Services. If your relationship with clients uses a
"subscription model" you'll probably want to give this a
We also have a couple of great customer marketing article links.
First up is an article on Order Management, the unsung (and not widely
known, particularly for small sites) hero of web retailing. We
also have an article talking about what is happening with the
salaries, people, and culture
in the BI field as Six Sigma Everything begins to take
OK, let's do some Drillin'...
Best Customer Marketing Articles
management: The new DNA of
retailers` multi-channel strategies
March 10, 2005 Internet Retailer
No kidding - good order management is absolutely critical; the cost savings in
time and service issues are huge. If you're a small to midsize online
retailer, I can vouch for the Stone
Edge Order Manager mentioned at the end of the article - it is one sweet app
and has saved us countless hours in the "lab store".
Dawn of the BI Director
March 20, 2005 DM Review
Yep, it's Six Sigma
Everything rearing it's head. When you are a master of the numbers and
driving productivity enhancement, you can haul down the big bucks. But, as
analytics grow in importance, you have to make sure you make changes to company
culture, e.g. failure is a learning experience and tying compensation to
provable profit increases.
Questions from Fellow Drillers
B2B Services Retention
Q: I like your site and have been getting your newsletter for some time.
A: Thanks for the kind words.
Q: I'd like to buy your book, but have hesitation because I don't know if it
will apply to my business. Your website talks a lot about getting clients
to take action or frequently buy. I'm in more of a recurring revenue
business - that means they buy reliably every month. I try to work to build
loyalty among a group of captive users so they don't decide to leave and be
loyal to someone else.
Specifically I'm in the payroll service business. Something like a commercial uniform rental
service would have similar needs. If you could be honest and let me know if your book also
includes these scenarios, I'd appreciate it.
A: These businesses really follow a "subscription" business model, if you
think about it. It's assumed customers will continue to buy until they
cancel. Usually the key to increasing profits in this model is the
prediction of defection; if you can predict customer defection you can focus resources on
customers most likely to defect. So for example, let's say you have a sales force that
calls on major clients and they spend an equal amount of time with each one.
If you can predict defection, you can refocus this "service side" of a sale person's
job to calling on high value clients who also have a high risk of defection, and
have them solve whatever problems there are that lead to defection.
Now, you don't need the book to do this, though it may help, because it
provides examples of this "subscription" model across many industries.
If you read the articles on Latency and Recency on the web site:
Comparing the Potential
Value of Customer Groups (Recency)
Trip Wire Marketing
you'll get the general idea. Look at the behavior of your defected best
customers prior to the defection and ask yourself this question: what
were the warning signs? Increase in Frequency of "trouble" calls or
billing problems? Falling Latency between errors, e.g. 1 problem a
quarter, then 1 a month, then 1 a week? Somewhere in the data is the
story, you just need to find it and then set up reports or scans to alert
you to when these trouble signs appear for any client, especially high
This article may also help you, since the business model is similar, people
are expected to pay monthly until one day they just cancel:
Customer Retention and Modeling in
Utilities / Telecom / Insurance Business
Hope the above at answers your question!
If you are a consultant, agency, or software developer with clients
needing action-oriented customer intelligence or High ROI Customer
Marketing program designs, click
Professional Services Retention
Q: I am very impressed with what I see on your
site and have an interest in your book.
A: Thanks for the kind words!
Q: However, I'm not sure if your CRM and customer retention strategies
will work for my target audience of small to midsized law firms.
I've been looking for help in providing an economic value model to support my premise that data base
marketing, to an attorney's client base through personal correspondence and newsletters that
contain real value to the client, will ultimately increase revenue through cross
selling of services and referrals. How will your product help me here?
Logic and best practices tell me that over a year or so this type of program could generate significant
increases in revenue. In addition, if actual client contact is done with satisfaction and
retention in mind, the quantity of referrals from existing clients can
go up dramatically.
Q: Well, your thought process is logical and I'm not sure you need the book to
accomplish what you want to do. It's clear to me that this kind of
contact, which is similar to what is done in tax accounting (for example with a
quarterly newsletter) not only retains business but also creates it by
mentioning changes in laws that may result in the need for services, e.g.
"if you think you might be affected by this change in property statute xxx,
please give us a call, we'd be glad to discuss it with you." This kind of
approach is really very much driven by external events (changes in the
law), not the customer's behavior, so the book won't help you much
Now, where the book might help is in longer term customer retention - what
events precede the defection of a customer, how do we measure them, and how
do we set up a system for "warning" us of customers with high potential to
defect? Here are a couple of examples from past newsletters:
Massage and Accounting
Hair Salon Example
B2B Software Example
You are looking for "events" that trigger defection. So, for example,
let's say you look at defecting customers and find that 70% or so of them
defected within 6 months after a divorce case with the firm. Or, 80% of
defectors were handled by a specific attorney and left 3 months after the
case ended. Or, 60% of defectors had a billing problem and left 30 days
after the 3rd billing problem.
These are the kinds of things you are looking for, the "triggers" that predict a defection.
Then you use either Latency or Recency to measure and track these events, and "warn" you so
that action can be taken to prevent the defection from happening - follow-up calls, etc.
Not sure if you want to go that deep, but that's where the book takes you.
As far as the newsletter thing, if it didn't work, accountants wouldn't do
it - trust me.
Hope that helps!
That's it for this month's edition of the Drilling Down newsletter.
If you like the newsletter, please forward it to a friend! Subscription instructions are top and bottom of this page.
Any comments on the newsletter (it's too long, too short, topic
suggestions, etc.) please send them right along to me, along with any
other questions on customer Valuation, Retention, Loyalty, and
'Til next time, keep Drilling Down!
- Jim Novo
Copyright 2005, The Drilling Down Project by Jim Novo. All
rights reserved. You are free to use material from this
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