Price comparison websites (PCWs) are a crucial driver in the broadband market and account for a significant amount of new acquisition sales for broadband providers. Yet, they are often perceived to hinder customer retention rates and encourage churn.
Customer retention has been a core focus for TalkTalk. Awin’s data shows that one in three customers acquire their broadband through the affiliate channel, with PCWs holding a large share. This presented Awin and TalkTalk the opportunity to use this publisher type for their retention strategy and play it to its strengths.
This approach allowed PCWs to add value by assisting with retention of customers and helping TalkTalk achieve its overarching goal of reducing customer churn.
- Increase affiliate retention sales by more than 50%.
- Reduce the amount of affiliate customers that churn at the end of their TalkTalk contract by 3%.
- Be a pioneer in the broadband market and launch the first retention deals across PCWs
- Ensure these converting customers are valuable to TalkTalk (high monthly rolling contracts).
- Create an avenue for affiliates to grow sales further and to be truly considered as a digital channel for retention sales in telco.
1. Commercial Structures
Historically, the commissions available to affiliates for retention sales were significantly lower than new customer sales. New commercial structures needed to be negotiated with PCWs, that were beneficial for all stakeholders, to enable them to promote retention offers.
2. Publisher Site Capabilities
As retention deals were a new type of listing on PCWs, affiliates invested in development to ensure these deals were being shown to a targeted audience: existing customers of TalkTalk.
3. TalkTalk Customer Journey
TalkTalk created a new retention affiliate journey separate to their new customer journey. The focus here was to welcome old customers back and encourage them to stay as a customer with TalkTalk as they were viewed as a customer that was likely to churn.
4. Testing demand for deals
To understand the appetite for TalkTalk customer renewals through an affiliate, we needed to ensure prominence of these deals when TalkTalk customers were using price comparison websites. To limit external factors within the test, Awin negotiated healthy table positions with PCWs and exposure across the initial launch period. This enabled us to fairly measure the demand and ultimate success of the strategy.
5. Retention deals and promotions
We tested different price points and offers across our retention deals which had the same cost as our new acquisitions deals live at the time. This pricing strategy removed price increase as a factor that would encourage churn and allowed growth of strong retention deals within the channel.
6. Use of data
Once a customer has re-contracted through an affiliate, TalkTalk was able to identify that the customer is a user of PCWs and is more open to switching providers in the future. This valuable data allows TalkTalk to tailor future customer marketing to ensure the customer remains satisfied and loyal.
Results & Effectiveness
After the initial testing phase of retention deals, sales and overall performance exceeded expectations. TalkTalk have continued promoting these deals across PCW partners as a direct result of the success of this 2020 campaign.
- Retention sales increased by 322% YoY in the affiliate channel.
- TalkTalk’s retention product mix in the affiliate programme grew by 5%.
- Churn from affiliate customers reduced by an average of 80-100 customers per week.
- Overall churn rates reduced by 7.47% across the testing period.
- Commissions on retention deals paid out to affiliates increased by 1290%.
- TalkTalk won the Performance Marketing Award for Best Price Comparison Website Strategy for this campaign.