In an age where technology is advancing as rapidly as ranges of products and services increases, it becomes increasingly important for companies to nurture their customer relationships, says Mathias Lindström, Marketing Director at Skistar.
Skistar that offers a seasonal product, has a holistic approach throughout the year. Something that has contributed to the relationship between customer and business can be kept alive.
It is October and at Skistar the winter ski holiday bookings are in full swing. In the company's lingo, this is called the months of great sales, yet by placing great emphasis on customer relations, Skistar has, despite its seasonal product, a year-round awareness that generates various types of sales throughout the year.
Mathias Lindström works as marketing director at the company and has overall responsibility for market communications, and how they are linked to sales. According to him, CRM has become both more important and become a higher priority in recent years. At our ski resorts, we have many repeat customers each year who live in the same house, for the same week of the year. We have noticed that it is very important to keep them.
It is also more cost effective to nurture existing relationships than creating new ones through bought advertising. With a focus on good customer relationships, an effective sales channel is created. Connected to an annual plan and sales statistics, the company can see when to process each specific customer. This is done almost exclusively via e-mail, yet through one-to-one communication rather than mass mailing. With today's advanced technologies everything happens fast, yet it is important that communications are not inflated.
I think many make the mistake of sending too much mass information. We try to contact each customer based on when it suits them best," says Mathias Lindstrom. This is something he says which creates loyalty and contributes to increased sales.
In order never lose a customer, Skistar always keeps the relationship active, yet based on different aspects and at different points in the year. An annual cycle begins in May, when the seasonal program is sent out and the old customers are given the opportunity to book what they want.
We see a pattern that people plan their holidays earlier and earlier, says Mathias Lindstrom.
Autumn's great sales months are then followed by additional sales towards the end of the year, when customers are offered other products such as ski lift tickets. During the season, communication is more informative. We lie low and let a customer choose if they want to use information such as local web sites. When the customer returns home a direct evaluation phase follows, often containing some form of offer.
Directly after a ski holiday people are most eager to go again. Customers who had a ski holiday in January usually get an offer to book a new trip for Easter," says Mathias Lindstrom. Finally, a sedate communication phase follows when the season ends and the customer is informed of any news before next winter.
Enjoying continuous growth, Skistar has chosen to work with Releye who will carry out an entire implementation.
It is an investment in a system designed to simplify our daily lives," concludes Mathias Lindstrom who does not believe that the economic downturn will affect Skistar that much:
Ski holidays are a healthy vacation form which is popular these days. People get to move around and are together outdoors in the fresh air. As time becomes an increasingly scarce luxury, people's vacations become an increasingly important part of their lives.