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Jeff Matlow
February 23, 2017

3 Steps to Better Customer Retention

Customer retention is like planting dollar bills in the groundI recently spoke about Customer Retention at a race director conference.  It not only was (hopefully) helpful for the people in attendance, but it was a great eye opener for me.

I’ll be posting more about customer retention ideas on this blog,  but in the meantime I want to give you some basic tools you can implement immediately to help you generate revenue and increase affinity.

Fact #1:  Most events get ~25% retention rate year over year (1 in 4 people also did your event last year).

Fact #2:  It costs 7x more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
With that said, I'd suggest starting with these simple retention ideas if you're not already doing them...
1. Post Event Survey:  I’m surprised how many events don’t do a post-event survey.  Every single event should do one in the same way I get surveyed after every single plane trip, every single Uber ride, every hotel stay.  Heck, every time I shop at the Gap I get prompted for a survey too.  Don’t just ask people what they liked about your event, but most importantly, be direct in asking people things like what did they like the LEAST about the event experience and what are the reasons they would NOT do your event again next year.  Then take the important feedback and make changes.
2. Year over Year Participants:  Look at who registered last year and didn’t yet register this year.  Send a special message to them with an offer to sign up again.  Even better, look at those who registered two years ago but not now and send them a “we miss you” offering.  Make them feel special - like you care that they come back.  One recent event just sent an email to participants from 2015/2016 who didn’t sign up yet this year and from that one email they generated an additional $15,000 in revenue.
3. Repeat Participants:  Reward people who do your event year over year and use those rewards to keep people coming back.  Yes, you can have a legacy program (those who’ve done the event every year), but that number will keep dwindling.  What’s better is to have a Repeat/Loyalty/Whatever-you-want-to-call-it Program that allows you to grow in numbers.  Something like everyone who has participated three years in a row automatically gets 15% off the next year.  Or how about a VIP section for everybody that has participated x number of times?  Make people feel special and they will return!

A lot more retention ideas will follow but don’t wait.  Start these basic things right now and you’ll see results.  And keep up with this blog for more info.

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