Customer retention in retail financial services : an exploratory study
This investigation is concerned with how financial services retailers approach the retention of customers. Markets for financial services have become saturated, competition has become fiercer and consumers have gained greater confidence in the consumption of financial services. Traditional retailers of financial services have begun to look to their existing customers to maintain and improve their profitability in these turbulent times. They hope that by retaining selected customers, they will be able to lower their costs by cross-selling financial products. In spite of considerable practitioner interest in customer retention, to date there is limited empirical study, in particular, into how retaining customers might actually be achieved. This study adopts a pluralistic methodology and uses the perceptions of staff working for financial services retailers to build a picture of how retention is organised. Interviews with managers and two surveys are conducted to gather the data, which are then evaluated within a framework of contemporary marketing. The study finds that there are a number of aspects involved in retaining customers that include information systems and strategy. The results of the investigation also suggest that these retailers are organised around the acquisition of customers and that balancing retention with acquisition may prove challenging.