Customer retention is one of the most important concepts to consider when building and marketing your business. Finding a strong customer base is tough enough, so how can you keep them coming back?
Taking a high-level view, you need to build relationships with your customers, provide value in everything you do, and focus on the customer experience.
We’re going to talk through some customer retention basics before discussing specific strategies for your business – let’s get started.
What Is Customer Retention?
Customer retention refers to a broad set of actions that businesses can take to increase their numbers of repeat customers, making sure that each customer brings as much profit as possible to the business. Finding new customers is more difficult and more expensive than nurturing relationships with existing ones, so you want each customer coming back for more.
Building customer relationships requires a keen eye toward the customer experience – once you get a new customer, are they getting value out of your business? Do they love your products? So to start, you won’t retain customers if they don’t love what you do. Make sure that your business provides value to your customers.
But once you have this strong base, what should you do? Let’s take a look at some great ways to keep customers coming back again and again.
Excellent Customer Service
It’s easy to say that your business is customer-focused or customer-obsessed. You’ll have to put this into action if you actually want customers to stick around. If a customer’s issue isn’t solved, why would they come back?
Keeping customers happy requires a robust and effective customer service framework. Here are some tips you need to keep in mind:
- Give customers options. Make sure that they can reach out in some way, and ideally, multiple ways — phone, email, or a live chat client.
- Create a great experience. Customers should always get care and attention as if they’ve walked up to the counter at a local mom-and-pop shop.
- Make sure that customers are routed to the right people. Nothing is more frustrating than playing “Hold on, I’ll transfer you.”
Business owners wear a lot of hats – it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of running a business. When you’re always focused on doing, you’re not focused on listening. Getting customer feedback can remove pain points and help you improve the customer experience, helping to make sure more customers stick around.
Consider developing surveys that let customers tell you what they like and what they don’t like about your business. This feedback can help you streamline your processes and remove frustrations. Great surveys use a mix of multiple-choice questions and text fields to let customers quantify how they feel and provide written feedback about what you’re doing.
Acting on insights from a survey shows customers that you’re listening and you care, keeping them invested in your business for the long term.
Social media does a lot of things these days, but when used correctly, it can improve your customer experience and serve as a customer retention tool for your business. Connecting with customers in an authentic way can do wonders for your business.
Use social media for more than just selling – highlight customers using your products, field customer service inquiries, and create beautiful content that works on each platform. Social media gives you the chance to be more than a faceless brand – embody your brand and show it off to the world.
Connecting with people gets them involved in your brand and your story. Once they buy your story, they’re more likely to keep coming back for more – so flex your storytelling muscle.
Dale Carnege said that a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language — use this to boost customer retention for your business. You should leverage your existing customer data to create highly-personalized marketing materials whenever possible.
Research shows that using a customer’s name in an email’s subject line boosts email open rates when compared to non-personalized subject lines. Looking beyond the data, it makes intuitive sense.
Customers want to feel special. The best marketing message is one that makes the customer feel like they’re having a one-on-one interaction with a brand. Using personalized messaging helps build up the relationship between your brand and your customers. If customers feel connected to your brand, they’re more likely to keep coming back
Education and Onboarding
Great companies provide value outside of the purchase cycle. Don’t make people fend for themselves after they purchase a product. Education and onboarding help customers get up and running with your product, reduces frustration, and lowers the lift for your customer service representatives.
How you do this changes depending on what your business provides, but here are some general ideas to try:
- Create onboarding email campaigns that show customers how to use their new product.
- Develop a knowledge base or other online resources that contain everything a customer could need to know about your product.
- Follow up with time-gated tips and tricks to help customers along every stage of development with your product. For example, you could send an email around the time something needs to be replaced or serviced on your product.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs can be great for customer retention — they use rewards, insider sales & deals, and special subscriber-only content to keep customers coming back for more. There are a few important factors you should consider if you want to launch a loyalty program for your business.
Great loyalty programs make customers feel like VIPs – don’t just slap “1% back in rewards points” on your email list and call it a day. Consider perks like free shipping or 24/7 priority customer service. Run loyalty program-exclusive sales and create program-exclusive content. Whatever you do, make sure your loyalty program makes people feel special and provides value.
Customer retention and customer experience go hand-in-hand. Customers will keep coming back if they love interacting with your brand – build up programs and initiatives that delight customers and it’ll pay off in the long run.