Given the tough nature of today’s business environment, customer retention strategies are on everyone’s mind. There
Customers are expensive to acquire and take time to win over. Research shows that a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% to 95% increase in profits over time as you regain your initial investment.
Focus on implementing these customer retention strategies to keep customers happy and keep bringing existing customer what they want.
1. Listen to your customers
Good communication with your customers should be the center of your customer retention strategies. Don’t just assume you know what the customers want. Ask them. Take a good long look at their answers. Make changes based on the data. Then ask them how you did.
Focus on your existing customers. If they bought from you before, chances are they’ll buy from you again if you play your cards right. Upselling and cross-selling are easier with existing customers.
Check in with your customers after they’ve made their purchase. Relieve any buyer’s remorse they might be feeling and make sure they’re totally happy with your services.
If it’s not happening, talk to them! Customers appreciate that you take the time to get their feedback (if and when you actually apply the feedback)
2. Invest in customer service
A good CRM system is a must. To provide the level of service the modern customer expects, you need a good database. This will allow you to see which of your customers are the most valuable so you can concentrate your efforts on what works best.
Look for the signs of an unhappy customer. Keep an eye on the following indicators that a customer might be about to churn:
- Rate of new purchases has stopped or gone down
- Product usage has decreased
- Number/duration of service calls have increased
Your CRM system should let you automate the repetitive parts of gathering customer data, such as scheduling follow-up appointments. It will also allow you to deliver the best-personalized service – one of the best customer retention strategies out there.
Your database should include information such as the following, which has been shown to have a high impact on ROI:
- Purchase history
- User interests and preferences
- Behavior on your website
- How they’ve interacted with your brand
- Which marketing messages they’ve clicked on or opened
- Social media posts and mentions
- Browser history
- Personal data
- Name, age, gender, location
3. Proactively address issues
With all this information under your belt, you should be able to target problem areas and correct them before they impact your organization. The best customer service happens before the customer is aware there’s a problem. Time and again, research has shown that reducing customer effort is one of the strongest customer retention strategies.
Ideally, your customers should never have to get in touch with your customer service.
It’s also a good idea to manage customer expectations. Under-promise and over-deliver. For instance, if it normally takes you 30 minutes to respond to a customer query, tell to expect an answer in an hour. You’ll have some leeway in case something unexpected comes up, and you’ll exceed the customer’s expectation without even trying.
4. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken
This might seem like it directly contradicts point 3, but hear me out. You should take the initiative to solve customer problems, but don’t touch something that is working well. Remember New Coke? Or the outrage over Facebook’s latest interface change?
People like to see their favorite brands as unchanging and ever-reliable. They don’t want to have to think about it. They want to see your brand, know you’re good, make the purchase, and get on with their lives. Many tops brands have based their customer retention strategies on charting a steady course over the years.
Once your brand is integrated into your customer’s life, be reliable. Provide quality they can count on. Consistent service and products. If you want to surprise but are not sure how your customers will react, test on a small group or ask your most trusted clients what they think.
5. Implement a good relationship marketing strategy
Your brand should take on the role of trusted adviser to your customers. Add value with offerings such as loyalty programs and special-occasion gifts. Keep a blog on topics of customer interest.
It’s a good idea to give people a leg up when it comes to loyalty programs. Customers are much more likely to keep up with them when the company gives them a head start. For instance, when customers were given loyalty cards with the first two slots already stamped, they were more than twice as likely to finish the card.
This is just a small example. In reality, the possibilities are endless.
It boils down to showing your customers that you care about them. Cultivate relationships beyond buyer and seller. This can be done by being there on the most important occasions of their life.
Small tokens of appreciation. A personal “hello” without any product mention.
Let them know they are more than numbers on your financial statement.
6. Treat your staff well
Happy staff members make for happy customers. If your staff are loyal to your brand they can transmit that loyalty to the people they interact with. Treat your team with courtesy and understanding and they’ll extend the same to your customers.
Maintain a low-stress environment and they’ll be more relaxed and sensitive to customer’s needs and concerns.
7. Show your values
Last but not least – stand for something. Customers are more likely to be loyal to businesses that are congruent with their values.
When customers stay with you over the years, your brand becomes part of their identity. They want to be proud of your brand and what it expresses about their own personalities. Are you an asset to their self-image?
Today’s customer retention strategies may be driven by computers, but they’re still about people, and people want to feel like they belong to something worthwhile.