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LSA16: How ReachLocal Boosted Retention by 50% in 12 Months

2014 was a challenging year for ReachLocal. The company had made changes to both sales and customer relationship processes that were not successful and as a result, ReachLocal suffered in both client and employee retention.

ReachLocal made a much more successful shift in 2015.  Boosting retention by 50% in one year is an incredible and swift turnaround. Yet the formula was not complex.  Going back to the basics, getting it right and executing consistently was key. ReachLocal’s Katrina Witherspoon discussed this transformation at LSA16.

One example of success was a client who was spending $5,000 a month in search and display marketing with ReachLocal that had threatened to leave because it was dissatisfied with the level of service it was getting.  After the shift in business model, the client not only stayed, but doubled its monthly spend and tried other products and services offered by ReachLocal.

Here’s a summary of how ReachLocal did it in 2015:

Sales Model Transformation

  • Full service model that switched from a media delivery model to a client centric model.
  • Realigned sales and service team to Digital Marketing Consultants and Marketing Experts overlapped the sales and service roles.
  • Focused on becoming a trusted partner by better understanding the client’s businesses.
  • Combined staff and systems to deliver goal driven ROI.
  • Tied results to customized goals for each client.

Employee Side

  • Hiring the right team – shifted hiring focus from tech capability to experienced client managers who care.
  • Invested in training, ongoing education and coaching.  3 months training for new hires and added QA and ongoing coaching programs.
  • Pay for Performance – created a strong variable incentive and tied compensation to client satisfaction and retention.

System Changes

  • Inserted effective proactive customer touch points. Invested in tech to make it easier to manage clients and campaigns.
  • Enhanced client accessibility – multiple point client accessibility via chat, email, and phone.  Made it easy for clients to connect with ReachLocal.
  • Systematic ongoing feedback from client tied to actionable follow through and improvements.

Tiered Service Model

  • Higher spend clients had higher service expectations so they are given more customized and personalized customer service.
  • Lower spend clients have different expectations – provide metrics, analytics, and reports that demonstrate ROI.

ReachLocal’s results are being noticed not just by its clients but by others in the industry.  In 2015, ReachLocal won a total of 7 prestigious awards including two of Google’s Premier SMB Partner Awards for North America and Latin America just last month. The awards recognized ReachLocal as Quality Score Champions achieving the highest average overall AdWords Quality Score in running and managing keyword driven ad campaigns.

ReachLocal also won LSA’s 2015 Ad to Action Award in the attribution and analytics category for its ReachEdge solution. In addition, the company won awards from the American Business Awards and People’s Choice Stevie Award among others for its business products and customer service.

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