See Things Differently


Smart companies engage with their customers. They over deliver and surprise and delight. Smart companies know who their customers are and what they like. And when smart companies communicate with their customers via email or any form of communication they ensure that the content is stimulating, helpful and most importantly relevant.

Because we all know that it’s easier and considerably cheaper to keep loyal customers than to find new ones. Don’t we?

My experience of working with many blue chip companies in many sectors is that companies often believe that they have an effective CRM programme when they actually don’t.

Take Health and Fitness clubs for instance. In general their attrition rates are, or should be, an embarrassment. Why do clubs need to attract so many new members every year? What are they doing wrong and why are so many members leaving? If a company (or club) thinks that they have an effective CRM programme but their customer attrition rates are sky high. They need to look again at the customer experience. And in the case of gyms just putting it down to industry statistics soon won’t be good enough.

Today I have had four separate sales calls from my ‘phone company’ asking if I am happy with my phone tariff. I politely told the first caller that I was indeed happy with the current taffiff and that I didn’t need to discuss it. But of course that didn’t stop the next three callers from annoying me with exactly the same question. Someone at the phone company thinks that they have a good CRM programme. I don’t.

I have been a member at a particular gym for a number of years. Usually when I walk through the turnstile (why do they need those things), no one bothers to say hello. They certainly don’t know me by name. In fact the only people in the club who know exactly who I am are the ones that are paid additionally for personal training. But surely the club know whom I am when they write to me or email me. Well actually no. Most of the subject matter that I receive has little relevance to the subjects in which I am interested. In other words they write to me about Zumba classes and crèches when, if they took a little more trouble they would know that I am interested in tennis.

I recently read an article written about one of the large gym chains saying the nobody knows how to stop the attrition rates and maybe there isn’t one simple answer. But there are one or two good places to start.

Don’t employ people on reception or throughout the club who don’t know that they should engage with members. Don’t cut your reception staff so tight that they can’t provide a proper service to members. Most large clubs have great equipment and an array of exercise programmes and classes. It’s a given. What many don’t have is engagement with members to ensure that they are enjoying their club experience. Customer motivation and interaction with staff and ideally other members can make or break the experience. And if most clubs think that they are doing this already, they are not. Just look at the attrition rates. Of course there is more to customer satisfaction than a ‘hello’, although it’s a start. Or in the case of a gym bits of equipment. Health and Fitness clubs deliver up the same old stuff year in year out. There is little innovation or thought given to non-gym based services or facilities that would help improve the lives of time pressed members. There are dozens of ways that health and Fitness clubs could offer their members a better experience and one wonders how many thousands of members need to leave before they start doing it.

It is probably no coincidence that the most successful company in the world has innovative products and highly motivated staff. Being ignored in an Apple store would probably never happen.

Companies that are less than perfect should ask themselves if their staff behave in exactly the manner that they would like. Have staff had the benefit of proper training to help them to give a more informed and relevant service to customers. Or are they expected to become brand ambassadors overnight without the required time, training and support. Maybe your staff can tell you things about your business of which you are not aware. LAW Creative recently ran a fun and engaging internal communications promotion for Rank Group where we invited all of their head office staff to see things differently and suggest better and more efficient ways of working. The results benefited both the staff and the business.


Sometimes companies can make it hard to succeed by failing to create a culture of informed customer care amongst their staff and by not having a deep understanding of their customers likes and wants.

Sometimes these companies do not have the data that they need or are not correctly analysing the data that they have to provide proper customer care. Privacy laws accepted it is not a difficult prediction that companies will need to know much more about their customers in order to provide exceptional service. It won’t be enough to personalise a mailer by plonking a name on the front to pretend that the customer is ‘known’ to them.

The Elusive Silver Bullet Nov 11 2013

Kellogg’s Pop Tarts Nov 1st 2012

Increasing your ROI with email segmentation June 19 2014

If you would like to discuss how you could better get to know your customers (and staff) and then talk to them with interesting and relevant content that they will enjoy simply email