A successful business in today’s competitive era doesn’t only bank upon a growing customer base, but it also equally banks upon the customer retention factor. A fast-growing business would obviously experience rapidly growing user-base, but it is how good you can retain your customers is what makes a successful business sustainable.
Sustainability in any business is all about holding on to your assets, and CUSTOMERS ARE THE BIGGEST ASSETS IN BUSINESS. If you can retain your customers, you can assure yourself of a stable and dependable customer base and increased number of conversions in the future days. But even retaining customers is an art.
There are a list of things and strategies that you should employ if you want to be a master at customer retention and increase sales, conversions, and profits. So in this article, we will give you a comprehensive insight into the top 10 customer retention strategies for your business!
**Please note that this post is not a bible or a constitution that you define set parameters for customer retention strategies. The points mentioned here are not based on ranking and are a result of research on experiences from the prevailing market and may vary with changing times and market conditions.
Here are the top 10 strategies
Let’s explore what the 10 strategies are.
1. Deliver a robust onboarding program
The term onboarding simply means the entire login, initial setup procedure, tutorials that the customers go through while signing up for their particular service. Research claims that over 80% of users prefer an onboarding experience that is quick and easy to use, one that saves them considerable time.
Suppose you create a new software or probably acquire one from someone. You may celebrate the acquisition of a new customer and immediately turn your attention back to acquiring or create another one. That’s a big mistake!
While creating a new service, you are practically acquiring a new customer and you have the complete opportunity to engage them and ensure their satisfaction from day one. If the signup procedure is a bit messy and time-consuming, the first impression your customer will have about your service is “Frustration”. This plays a huge disfavor in your part.
Therefore it is strongly recommended that you offer your customers a robust onboarding program to engage them from the start. First, an easy setup procedure, then a tutorial to walk you through the basics and train them on how to successfully use your product. This can play a major role in generating the maximum return on their investment.
It is your responsibility and hard work to tailor their onboarding program by understanding their unique use case to meet their distinct needs. This is to ensure that your customers understand everything necessary to use your product successfully. This will guarantee they are fully equipped to leverage your product to the fullest of its potential. Learn how a robust onboarding program should function.
2. Implement customer surveys
It is strongly recommended and extremely important to understand where your customers are struggling and how you can improve the customer experience by conducting online customer surveys. This can pretty much give you an idea about your customers’ challenges and pain points.
The idea behind conducting such surveys is that you are not a CCTV camera that will constantly hover over their heads observing their use of your product. In other words, there’s no way you can accurately know what obstacles your beloved followers, subscribers, and customers face without proactively asking them.
According to the father of Microsoft Bill, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” These are words of gold and this advice is something that thousands of well-established and successful brands and businesses around the world follow. Using customer surveys properly will help you empower your customers to work smarter and more effectively with your product as you gain insights into where you could improve. By asking customers where you could improve, you gain valuable insights into where you’re falling short in your service to them.
So it would be rather wise and sensible for you to conduct a customer survey at least once per year to let your customer base voice their feedbacks and concerns. This helps customers develop confidence in your brand as they begin to feel that their voices are being heard. This plays a major role in building brand loyalty and increases customer retention.
3. Reach out regularly to every customer
Forming close personal relationships with your customers by routinely reaching out to check in is one highly-effective customer retention strategy. All you technically need to do here is set up a process in which at least one person from the company reaches out to each customer at set time intervals. Experts strongly recommend that a healthy customer-brand relationship can be established by reaching out once per quarter, at a minimum.
This outreach can be conducted by an account manager, the customer success or support team, or even an executive for at-risk clients. This usually involves a simple call that will last just a few minutes in which the executive asks a couple of questions to know how things are going as feedback. You may inquire as to what you could be doing differently to deliver a better experience or ask if they need anything they don’t already have.
This may sound tedious, but it actually will only take just a few minutes out of your schedule and is indeed an essential part of your campaign. This often makes your customers believe, that you truly care about their experience and are willing to do whatever it takes to better serve them.
Taking just this minuscule step will greatly help you enhance customer loyalty, increase your brand’s customer engagement, and achieve higher customer retention rates.
4. Use automation to re-engage customers
Automation is one new age strategy to allowing some of your routines to be handled automatically through an application, plugin or software. The most popularly employed automation in the field of online business is “marketing automation.”
There are so many processes to be repeated daily manually keeping a track of your customer’s whereabouts through monitoring to keep your customers abreast gets extremely time-consuming at times, especially when your business is growing at a rapid pace.
There are many challenges of marketing automation. The most obvious is the data quality and integration. Poor marketing processes are also a big factor. Automating these aspects is a great step towards making your marketing campaign more efficient and can set you on a faster pace more than your competitors.
Now the question is how to use automation to re-engage your customers in order to keep your brand fresh in the customer’s mind. Experts and their research have revealed that you can communicate stronger and faster through automation and you’ll see a boost in conversion rate as you engage customers manually.
When your business is growing rapidly, you will very often need to send useful email newsletters and SMS to your existing and new customers twice or thrice a week. This task can become really tedious without automation. If you wish to take your customer relationship management to a new level, you can search the web for marketing or email automation tools and select from hundreds of top rated marketing automation software.
Using automation software is a great way to standardize your processes and give you the opportunity to deliver on the promises that you made to customers. You can use automation tools to:
- Efficiently manage your customer contacts
- Drip feed education emails
- Facebook spy tools
- Schedule promotional emails
- Text messages
- Event notifications
5. Provide world-class customer service
After sale service is one of the key elements that determine the success and sustainability of any business. The term “After sale” simply means the services and support that you need to provide to your customers AFTER they have purchased or subscribed to your products or services.
Customers are the money behind every business and thus they are entitled to world-class customer service experience. Customer service is at the heart of the customer experience and researches reveal that 80% of the consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service if they receive a world-class customer experience.
The single most important thing a company to deliver excellent customer service is to value their time. Great quality customer service must involve super responsive support service when the customers need support. Logically speaking, no dis-satisfied customer in this world would want to wait days for a resolution to their issue.
Now the million dollar question is how to accomplish this? The most commonly employed tactics of businesses to provide good and responsive customer service involves providing multiple channels for customers to submit help desk tickets via
- Live chat
- Social media
Another strategy that is gradually becoming increasingly popular is the first contact resolution (FCR) rate. FCR simply refers to resolving customer support issues on the first attempt without having to escalate the ticket. In other words, your support team needs to be capable enough to handle, mitigate and possibly eliminate the customer’s issue in the first communication itself, ensuring that the customer does not have to get back to the support team again. You can easily accomplish this through the use of dedicated help desk groups and if you are successful in doing so, then it enhances your credibility to tackle grievances and also builds brand loyalty.
6. Incorporate that personal touch
One good thing about a growing business and its customer related issues is that it is easy to personalize every interaction that you and your colleagues have with customers simply because you have a lot of data stored in your customer relationship management (CRM) system.
This is not exactly a technology, but rather a personal tactic. You can open your customer’s contact record and view every interaction they have had with your company in the past before you speak to them. This can and should include all elements like pain points, products purchased, interests, etc.
Many modern CRM modules include a 360-degree contact view, and if your CRM includes this then your work can become easier than ever. If you personalize your interactions with your customers, then they will see you as their partner rather than a faceless entity, thus making them feel comfortable and allows you to form closer, warmer relationships with them.
Treating customers in a personalized way and sending the message that your relationship with them is a partnership will build brand loyalty and do wonders for customer retention rates.
7. Use service level agreements to set expectations
A Service level agreement (SLA) is another way to strengthen the customer-brand relationship and also increase customer retention. It quite simply is a contract that defines the service you commit to providing to your customers. These contracts stipulate the basic terms and conditions of your partnership with them. This most commonly involves aspects like the maximum amount of time a customer has to wait for a resolution to a support ticket and more.
SLA in a way works like a disclaimer or a trailer to the customer showing what they can expect from the company, thus giving them a peace of mind. Plus, you have committed to meet those expectations, which makes them feel more comfortable doing business with you.
Another benefit that SLA holds for your business is that it lends accountability to your operating processes. You will know if a team member is breaking SLAs because your CRM solution can track SLAs and their outcomes. In other words, this module provides valuable insights into who needs to improve their performance and who are consistently meeting expectations.
8. Get active in the community
The next crucial aspect when it comes to strengthening the customer-brand relationship is corporate social responsibility (CSR). You have probably heard the term before, in case you haven’t, CSR refers to the efforts your company makes to give back to the community it serves. When making a purchase decision today, consumers are increasingly considering a company’s CSR activities.
With the rapid development of social media, consumers are becoming more and more socially conscious these days. Several market reports and case studies have stated that Fortune Global 500 companies shell out around $20 billion (US) each year on CSR activities because they believe maintaining a positive CSR presence does wonders for a company’s reputation.
Multimillionaire and other well-established businesses understand the need and importance of caring about more than just revenue by maintaining a reputation as a company amongst its consumers.
What’s even more amazing is that CSR programs are easy to develop and coordinate. By developing CSR program, you and your company can
- Organize employee volunteer events at local nonprofits
- Create a matching gifts program in which your company matches employees’ donations to charities
- Can make annual donations to a nonprofit of your choice
9. Keep customers updated on new developments
It’s good to treat your customers nicely to earn higher revenues in return. But it’s even better to make them feel like they are part of your team by treating them like partners rather than revenue generators. This is a virtual perspective you must develop towards your customers by constantly keeping them informed about new developments at your company. This is simply because those new developments affect customers directly.
All you need to do here is keep customers in the loop by sending periodic email newsletters to share new developments. This can be any major or minor update, whether it’s a change in executive leadership, the development of new products, upcoming product updates, or new partnerships you have with other companies.
10. Continually develop educational resources to ensure customers’ success
Educating your customers doesn’t end with their onboarding program. Customers need to stay up to date on the latest market trends and the evolutions and upgrades you make in your product so that they can remain competitive.
It is highly recommended that you publish a separate blog section on your product’s official website and publishing articles on a regular basis helps to continually educate customers on emerging trends. You must also develop how-to guides and free training videos. These materials are often termed as “Knowledgebase” and help to continue their education and ensure they are always able to use your product successfully.
Developing a knowledge base to house these educational resources is a great tactic to ensure customers can easily find answers to common questions, which furthers their education.
Make sure that you are able to consistently create and add new educational resources as time passes by and keep updating existing ones. This will work in a great way in improving their ability to use your product like a pro. As a result, eventually, your business will experience increases customer satisfaction levels and boosted customer retention rates.