Category Archives: Brand Management

Are Quitters of Club Likely Still Good Customers?

Jim answers questions from fellow Drillers

Topic Overview

Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.

How do you handle the measurement of “likely to purchase” when there’s a built in cycle of purchase as a “member”, like in a book club or other auto-delivery scheme? And what if a member quits membership but keeps buying, what does that mean for predicting future buyer behavior? Oh, the complexity of it all! Let’s do the Drillin’ …

Q:  I just ordered the book too, so I am eager to learn more about SIMPLE ways to implement RFM-based strategies.

A:  Well, thank you for ordering!  I hope it fulfills your expectations.

Q:  In the continuity club (Jim’s Note: flower of the month, book of the month, beer of the month) club business though, a little of the RFM process looks tricky because everyone has a certain Frequency built-in, because of the “repeat” nature of clubs.  Also, we’re starting to see a  phenomenon where customers that drop out of our club continue to order from us.

A:  This is quite normal, depending on how the club is set up and whether or not you make it “easy” for people to continue.  In some clubs, you are either in or not (books, CD’s, credit cards).  Most catalog-type clubs (pay a fee in exchange for ongoing discounts / added services) see continuation beyond club membership.  It’s a volume-based thing and a “rational” decision by the consumer – if you need to buy a lot of stuff, joining the club makes sense, because the discount pays for the membership.  

In your case, it might be more attached to education, for example – you join the club to educate yourself about the products, then quit when you can “do it on your own.”  Or, you get lots of  product to experience the variety, and settle into a specific usage pattern.  This is the Customer LifeCycle at work.  If you can recognize these patterns, you can use them to predict what customers are likely to do next.  If you can predict behavior, you can create very high ROI customer marketing programs.

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The Cost of Queuing Customers

Jim answers questions from fellow Drillers

Topic Overview

Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.

If customers have to “wait” for service, does the inconvenience / possible frustration impact their value? Great question; problem is, most businesses don’t know how to answer it in a way that will be meaningful to the value of the business. You know our Drillers though, they’ll get about it with actionable results in mind. On to the Drillin’!

Q:  Are you familiar with (or can you refer me to someone who is familiar with) customer satisfaction around queuing up for service?

A:  This is a Frequently Asked Question for sure, and not one there is a lot of statistically believable data on…at least that people are willing to release.  Kind of a sensitive subject, as you might think…

Q:  I work for a large bank.  We have perceived queuing problems in some of our branches – generally due to layout restrictions. I say perceived because although a queue is long, it moves fairly quickly with the actual wait time to see a teller often less than 5 minutes (considered at par with our competition). 

However, customers grumble when they walk into the branch and see the line and continue to grumble out loud until they reach the teller  and then continue to communicate their dissatisfaction to the teller.  Do you know if any work has been done in this area with other large companies that tend to have long queues (like airline ticket counters, large retailers)?

Thanking you in advance for your response.

A:  I think this issue can be an illusion; let me tell you what I mean. 

For e-commerce, somebody like Gartner does a survey that says people hate shipping charges, and every web site kicks in “free shipping.”  Guess what? People have always hated shipping charges since 1850 when the catalog business started.  And why not?  It looks like extra cost to the customer.  But if you run your business correctly, you price with shipping in mind and manage costs so that you still make a profit.

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Measuring Distributor / Agent Loyalty in Service Businesses

Jim answers questions from fellow Drillers

Topic Overview

Hi again folks, Jim Novo here.

Today we have a fellow Driller looking to compare the “loyalty” of sales / distribution agents for insurance products and use this information to manage business with the agents more effectively. In this case, knowledge of the business is exceedingly important because segmentation of business lines across regions will dramatically improve predictions.

Let’s do some Drillin’!

Q: Hi Jim,

I happened upon your site and found the information there very valuable – so much so that I ordered your book (customer is referring to Drilling Down).

A: Well, thank you very much for that!

Q: I’m a marketing manager with an insurance company that distributes its life, auto, home, and business insurance products through independent insurance agents.  These agents represent our company as well as others.

I’m interested in techniques for measuring agent loyalty – which I think would be demonstrated by the agents choosing to place business with our company instead of another company they represent for policies.

A: I’m not sure in this case anything is too terribly different from the scenarios used in the book. Essentially, agents or consumers demonstrate loyalty though their actions, and if you can track their actions, you can spot increasing or decreasing loyalty.  Your business is more complex in many ways than retail, but to the consumer (in your case agent), there are always choices to be made between alternatives, and changes in the purchase patterns agents or consumers generate often precede customer defection.

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