My wife likes to shop at the local Safeway. Is it because of the competitive prices? Yes, that's part of it. Is it because of the convenient location? Yes, that's part of it, too. She also likes their produce department. But the biggest reason she likes to shop at the local Safeway is Marshall.

Now, Marshall is a very good checkout person. He's fast, efficient and seldom makes a mistake. But his competence is not the reason my wife keeps going back.

She keeps going back because Marshall always has a warm and friendly smile. And because when Marshall asks, "How are you today?" you know he's sincere.

You see, for those few minutes while she's a customer in his checkout line, Marshall makes my wife feel genuinely valued and appreciated. And week after week she buys our groceries at "Marshall's" Safeway.

Perfect Marketing Sense

As marketers, salespeople and business owners, very few of us will have the same weekly face-to-face opportunity as Marshall to make our customers feel valued and appreciated. And yet, if we're smart, we'll make sure we have our very own "Marshall" Plan in effect.

We'll make sure—once we've "rescued" our customer from the grips of our competitors—that we have a customer aftercare program in place to maintain the health and increase the profitability of that relationship.

This makes perfect marketing sense. With studies showing that the total cost of getting a new customer is 10 times that of simply holding on to an existing one, it can also make you plenty of dollars and cents, too. A 5% improvement in customer retention can lead to an 85% increase in profits. You don't have to be King Solomon to see the wisdom in those numbers.

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Ernest Nicastro is an award-winning B-to-B freelance copywriter who is also equally adept at crafting B-to-C content. For more information, and to review samples of his work, visit Positive Response.

LinkedIn: Ernest Nicastro

Twitter: @enicastro