Customer Retention Tactics From Lands’ End, Home Depot, ProFlowers
Offer great customer service, make sure your messaging is personalized, and have a single view of the customer are some of the best ways to create brand loyalists. These were a few of the key takeaways from a panel discussion on customer retention that took place at the eTail West conference last week in Palm Desert, Calif.
While Lands’ End's catalogs, email program and social media pages are the retailer's primary customer retention vehicles, perhaps its biggest differentiator is its "Guaranteed. Period" policy, said Sam Norpel, vice president of digital transformation and acquisition at Lands’ End, who spoke on the panel. The policy enables Lands’ End customers who aren't satisfied with any item for any reason to simply return it at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.
In addition, Lands’ End's call enter, which is located at the company's headquarters in Dodgeville, Wis., "is the surprise and delight aspect of our customer service and retention," Norpel said.
To illustrate this point, Norpel shared a story about how a Lands’ End customer was getting married and staying at a bed-and-brekfast and was concerned about getting a wakeup call. So she decided to call the Lands’ End's customer service center and asked a rep there to do it, and he complied.
Nitin Bhaskaran, senior manager of online product management at The Home Depot, who joined Norpel on the panel, agreed that great customer service is the best retention tool out there.
"We're succeeding in customer retention by doing the basics right," Bhaskaran said. "We give our customer an A-star experience every time they shop with us."
Jen Horsley, regional vice president of new business development at HelloWorld, a marketing solutions provider, discussed one of its retail clients in the beauty space that does a great job around personalization, which is driving customer retention and lifetime value for that company.
"They give offers to a customer based on knowing the customer — they know the skin color, hair color and makeup choices of the customer they're targeting," Horsley said. "So when they make a recommendation or an offer to them, the offer is authentic and relevant. That's how to create lifetime value — by giving customers something they can react to because it's relevant to them."
Personalization is also key to ProFlowers’ customer retention efforts, according to panelist Matthew Edstrom, senior director and head of marketing at the flower retailer.
For example, ProFlowers is always looking for unique data from third parties (e.g., birthdays of people in a given household). With this data, ProGlowers can "give a personalized birthday-themed email," Edstrom said. "We don't know the name of that person, we just know that there's a birthday occasion at some point in the future for the recipient of the email."
As for results, "we see better results from these campaigns where we have little pockets of unique data that's relevant," Edstrom noted.
Lands’ End is also investing in personalization, which is why the company spent part of 2014 and will again this year be working on a project it's calling the "single view of the customer."
"At Lands’ End, we have a lot of disparate databases," said Norpel. "But with this project, we're combining all of our data sources — Acxiom data, email preference center data, social media data, marketing channel data — so we can really see one view of the customer. We will know if the customer is a man or a woman, whether they shopped online, in-store or via our catalog, and what products they're interested in."
While this data will help Lands’ End's personalize the offers it sends its customers, Norpel said she's entering the project very slowly and cautiously. "Since I'm so personally sensitive to mispersonalization, there's a real concern for me that the data is right."
In addition, Norpel stressed that she wants to make sure the company offers "subtle personalization as opposed to overt, too freaky personalization."