What’s better than acquiring new customers? Keeping your current ones. While there’s a certain sense of satisfaction in bringing in new customers, maintaining your current customers can be cheaper, more profitable, and even easier than customer acquisition. Today we’re going to talk about brand-tested customer retention strategies to keep your current customers loyal, happy, and engaged. Welcome to Marketing and a Mic. We’re here to give you various digital marketing tips, trends, and useful guides to help your business get results. Every sales team should have a strategy in place to acquire new business AND retain their current ones. Keeping them happy can be a profitable revenue stream, but it requires a plan. So, let’s break down some applicable customer retention strategies that every business can try.
If you aren’t convinced that customer retention matters, consider this:
According to a recent report from Hazard, a 5% increase in retention rate will increase your profits anywhere from 25-95%. Satisfied customers can become your best brand ambassadors. They are the ones most likely to send you referrals and be your best word-of-mouth advertisers.
CALCULATE YOUR CUSTOMER RETENTION RATE FIRST
Before you jump into a customer retention plan, you must first understand your current customer retention rate. This is important because it tells you the percentage of your current customers that are sticking around.
Number of customers at the end of a period – number of customers acquired during that period/number of customers at the beginning of the period X 100
Your “time period” is something you determine. It could be a quarter, a month, a year, etc. You also need to consider churn. For example, if you have 200 customers at the beginning of your period, acquired 100 new customers, but lost 25 due to churn, that means at the end of the period, you have 250 customers.
The final equation would be:
((250-100)/200) x 100 = 75
Customer Retention Rate = 75%
Your customer retention ratio is important because it tells you how well you can keep your customers long-term. This can also help you determine a benchmark or goal to aim for each period. Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s talk about some best practices to improve your customer retention.
#1 CREATE A CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAM
Loyalty programs are an effective way to increase purchase frequency and retention because they motivate customers to stick around. Depending on your type of business, loyalty programs can be designed to get customers to purchase more often, sign up for a longer commitment, upgrade to a higher package, or earn valuable rewards. This becomes a profitable exchange for both you and your customers: they get more value, and you benefit from their repeat or long-term business. Creating a loyalty program is also a great way to capture valuable contact information that you can use further down the line.
Make sure your loyalty program has these three elements:
Rewards that Reinforce Your Core Business Goals
Whether you want to encourage more visits, trials, or incremental purchases, ensure your program and rewards are structured to achieve that result.
Greater Benefits for More Valuable Customers
Create a tiered program where loyal customers who spend more get more valuable rewards, from accelerated earning to exclusive promotions.
Targeted Offers and Rewards that are Highly Relevant
Personalize your offers and rewards to customers’ interests and preferences.
#2 SEND ENGAGING EMAILS TO YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
If purchase frequency, additional services, or long-term commitment is the backbone of customer retention, email campaigns can help accomplish this. Emails allow you to continue building relationships with your customers before and after their initial purchase. It’s critical that each message you send adds value to your customer’s experience. If it doesn’t, you run the risk of losing them. Create a target email campaign that’s personalized to their interest OR additional services or products that would benefit them.
A great way to get started is with follow-up emails. A week after a customer’s first purchase, send them an email thanking them for their business. This type of acknowledgment helps customers feel good about their decision to buy from you and makes your brand more approachable.
Consider Using the Following Types of Email Campaigns to Leverage Your Existing Customers:
This offer is available to everyone, regardless of other demographic data or past purchases. If you offered a 10% discount on X service or product to existing customers, that would be considered a mass offer. It’s a good way to remind customers that you value their business.
Segmented or Targeted Offer
With a segmented or targeted offer, the customer base is segmented into groups based on a particular data point. Each group member is eligible for a specific offer and may have group-specific messaging. This gives a small level of personalization but does not truly take individual preferences into account when building the offer. It can be based on location, certain attributes (i.e., veterans), etc.
This offer is individualized for the consumer with unique actions and rewards based on the consumer’s preferences and purchase history. This could be by making additional product or service recommendations or promotions on upgrades to their existing package or service. Well-timed emails can be perfect incentives for delivering the right answer at the right time to your existing customers. It can also be a great way to bring back dormant customers you want to bring back.
#3 CREATE A SMOOTH PROCESS
First impressions are everything. After the initial excitement of getting the new product or acquiring the new service, most customers will default back to the first experience they had with your brand. If it is positive, they’re much more likely to stick around.
Elements that create a solid customer experience:
Have a Solid Onboarding Process
This can set you up for success for years to come. It should be personalized (as much as possible), hands-on, and focus on removing as much friction as possible. Setting realistic expectations is important if you’re trying to improve your customer retention rate – it can hugely impact your business’s ability to keep customers.
Anticipate Common Questions
Pay attention to common questions and get in front of them. This is a simple but important customer retention technique. For example, if someone asks a question that you thought was obvious, that’s a clue it might not be so obvious. Or if they continue to ask a question that you’ve already explained, then maybe your business isn’t making this part so clear. Make customers comfortable about asking questions or provide them with a go-to FAQ that they can refer to when needed. The more comfortable they feel, the higher your retention will be. So, listen to those questions and remember that if one person asks, others might also be.
Use the Set it and Forget it Approach
The less your customer must deal with, the happier they are. If customers feel like they are getting an unbelievable convenience by working with you, they are unlikely to want to go elsewhere. You can create this through multiple communication channels, fast responses, accurate product or service descriptions, and efficient troubleshooting.
#4 CAPITALIZE ON DATA COLLECTION
Personalization is alive and well. As much as we say we don’t like to be “tracked,” it can work highly in our favor as customers. To retain customers successfully, you need to understand their preferences and motivations without always having to ask. Collecting and mapping customer data like basic contact information, transaction histories, customer service interactions, and loyalty program data will help you prevent churn and identify where your customer’s wants intersect with your business objectives.
Options for Customer Data Collection:
Create Customer Accounts
With First-party data collection becoming the required standard, businesses must develop ways to collect important information about their customers. A great way to accomplish this is through a payment portal or by creating online accounts during checkout.
Develop Customer Support Options
Support systems help you effectively communicate with your customers and provide them with the right level of support. A support system can help both pre-and post-sale by enabling you, or a customer service rep, to clearly communicate with the customer. A live chat or help desk tool can turn a customer question into a sale or a customer complaint into a resolution. Whether they come in on-site, through email, or via social media. Very often, an effectively resolved complaint or problem can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal, repeat customer. In addition, customer feedback can help you improve your products and your overall shopping experience.
Re-Engage Customers Using Marketing Automation
Today’s marketing automation technologies can take on entire marketing processes to simplify workflows for marketing teams. Re-engaging customers is just one of these processes. Instead of your marketing team needed to track which customers have lapsed, a marketing automation solution that uses AI and machine learning (ML) can automatically recognize when customers lapse and re-engage them with personally relevant offers.
That’s it for us today. If you need any help creating your own customer retention strategy or are looking for new ways to increase your online presence and get more customers, our team would love to talk to you. Don’t forget that our podcast also goes live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and you can catch the replay on Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more resources to help your digital marketing plan.