On 2/11 we were fortunate to have three speakers, Robi Ganguly as CEO of Apptentive, Robert Frederick as CEO of Gripwire, and David LeClaire as CEO of Wine, World & Spirits, to share their experience on customer retention and referral. It was an unusual combination of guest speakers, as Robi and Robert’s companies worked on mobile technologies, while David’s company operated traditional retail stores. The discussion panel was host by the Happy Back team.
The speakers started the discussion by discussing the various ways to retain customers. While Robi and Robert talked a lot of customer connection strategies using software, for example email newsletter, algorithms, A/B testing, focus group studies, and interview, all of them agreed that being passion to your customers’ needs was the foundation of customer retention. To achieve this, David especially focused on providing excellent first experience for his customers and having an engaging team in his store to help solve customer’s problems.
As for discussing the uncontrollable factors that affect customer retention, all of the speakers pointed to that technology was the critical factor to customer retention. Robi and Robert especially pointed out the importance of having their services running at all time, as any down-time would decrease reliability in the eyes of their customers and result into churn. As a result, having reliable software infrastructure seemed to be very important for every start-up, in particular new software companies.
The discussion then digressed into whether it was good or not to have companies collect user information through various social media sites and mobile applications, and use the information on marketing. While our speakers had different opinions on this, they pointed out that eventually it depended on whether collecting user data could better serve the customer’s need or not.
Finally our speakers talked about several ways to refer customers. Robert pointed out that currently there was still a lot of improvement to be made on mobile applications to make it easier to go viral, and he talked about the importance to reach the right influencers for referring company’s product. He then pointed out some referral strategies for mobile applications, such as multiple-players, gamification, and tying the application into real world.
To summarize, our guest speakers Robi and Robert provided many strategies for customer retention and referral with web and mobile technology, while David reminded us with his experience that having passion to the customers and putting them into our own shoes was the foundation of any marketing effort in customer retention and referral. While using mobile applications and social media data might help us better understanding our customers, it was the sincere interaction and care to them that had the best retention and referral effort.
-discussion panel by Dave Knight, Chris Loeffler, Alan (Yuan Lung) Luo, Cameron Rementer, and Evan Uchaker