Companies are always looking for ways to stay ahead of their competitors in this digital age. One of the key ways to ensure that you stay ahead of the competition is by ensuring that you can retain your customers.
However, this can be difficult as customers see companies like yours offering them similar products or services. Thankfully, when they buy once, you already have them in your hands, but what can you do to stay ahead of your competitors?
How can you earn and retain their royalty? Where do you even begin a customer retention strategy for current customers? Below, we discuss the strategies you can use to improve customer retention rates.
What is Customer Retention, And Why Does It Matter?
Your customer retention refers to the act of deterring your clients from moving to another company that offers the same services or foods. While customer retention can be one of its key performance indicators, many company owners and marketers focus their efforts on acquisition rather than retention.
As a company that aims to stay at the top, you need to ensure that your company emphasizes customer retention as much as customer acquisition.
But why does retention matter?
Customer retention matters because once a customer buys from you, they are likely to buy again.
Furthermore, studies reveal that onboarding customers can be quite expensive compared to retaining a customer you already have. For instance, a study by Harvard Business Review shows that it can be 5 to 25 times more expensive to onboard a new customer than retain an old one.
Another reason why it is crucial to retain customers is that even a small amount of retention can translate to bigger profits. This argument makes sense because you spend less on marketing, sales, and onboarding costs. Furthermore, you would benefit more from the traditional word of mouth advertising as only happy customers are retained.
Strategies to Improve Customer Retention Rates
Thus far, we have established that customer retention is crucial for the growth of your business. The tips we outline below may help you go from an average retention rate to higher and healthier retention rates. Read on.
1. Make an Excellent First Impression and Provide Outstanding Customer Service
First impressions determine whether a client will do business with you again or not. It is not unusual for clients to refer to the first experience they had with a business after the excitement of the new product dies down.
Therefore, you should make it easier for a client to remember you by providing a suitable first experience. In addition, a proper onboarding process (hands-on, customer-focused, and frictionless) is likely to retain the customer for years.
After ensuring a smooth onboarding, you should now focus on providing excellent customer service. However, excellent customer service for companies does not always mean the same thing for a company and its customers, as there is always a huge perception gap. Some tactics that you can use to create a customer-centric service include:
- Create a consistent and cohesive customer experience. Customers who get consistent care and attention on the phone, live messaging and in-person from a company are likely to stay.
- Match customers with the right agents by assessing their needs first before assigning them to the most skilled agents in the area.
- Have multiple contact channels for communication as your customers may prefer different communication channels.
2. Conduct Customer Surveys
Many businesses underestimate the power of customer surveys. However, sending your customers quick online surveys can help you gain insight to know what works and what does not. In addition, customer surveys help you identify patterns that can help you improve your products and services.
Draft a customer satisfaction survey with multiple-choice questions and some free text fields so that customers can have a chance for self-expression. If you do not feel up to drafting a survey, you can use customer survey templates online to help you understand the customer's perspective. Send out these customer surveys via email campaigns regularly (quarterly, bi-annually, or annually) to keep in touch with your customers and their needs.
3. Reward Loyal Customers
An unappreciated customer is likely to jump ship when an opportunity from a competitor presents itself. Therefore, you must keep your loyal customers engaged and appreciate them. Instead, it would be best if you made efforts to reward them for standing by your product or service.
This can be done through a customer gift and loyalty card program.
You could even send bonus gifts at intervals to your most loyal customer base. Alternatively, you could set up a referral or loyalty program to ensure that the most loyal customers are always kept in the loop all the time. A customer loyalty program offers incentives for repeat purchases.
If you send gifts or offer discounts, you can accompany it with short and thoughtful messages that tell them how much you appreciate them and why you chose that surprise.
Preferably, you should provide a discount, promotional offer, special offer, or gift them with a product they purchase regularly. Ensure your message reflects your brand and that they understand that the gift is because they are a loyal customer.
4. Follow Up on Your Customers
As a company, you need to establish and maintain a strong customer relationship. Therefore, you need to start seeing your customers as people rather than numbers.
A good way to establish a relationship with these customers is by personalizing follow-ups. Customer feedback is crucial.
First of all, ensure that the follow-ups are consistently done on a regular basis. Second, always thank the customer for their purchase, and if they are a VIP customer, you can include an email address or phone number for them to reach you if they experience any problem. Don't overlook customer interactions.
If they bought a product recently, you could help them get started with it as part of the onboarding process. Address common pain points such as the most common questions customers ask on day one.
You can also inform your customers of new features of your product or service. This strategy can especially be useful if the client has asked or inquired about this feature before.
This is also a helpful strategy for customer complaints. Responding to customer reviews that detail a bad experience and offering some sort of solution can have a huge impact on customer retention.
5. Engage in Community Activities
Now more than ever, people everywhere are becoming socially conscious. Tap into this trend by becoming a conscious business. Whether you see it or not, customers pay attention to your brand and how you behave. They appreciate organizations that give to charity. Take time to look into and improve the community they work in, and some even keep up to date with your partnerships and engagements.
Bigger companies and businesses can invest in a corporate social responsibility plan, but smaller businesses can take smaller steps that show they are socially conscious and care about the community. For example, simple steps such as volunteering, philanthropy, and taking part in environmental initiatives show the public and your customers that you care about the community and the world at large.
As you do this, remember to set realistic goals for your business so that you can address a particular community problem within your means as a company. Remember to educate and engage your employees to create a socially responsible business, as this will help them address customer concerns and motivate them to stay the course.
Posting these community activities on all of your business's social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) provides excellent trust and social proof, as well.
Start Retaining Customers Today
Customer retention involves taking actions to keep the customer from defecting to another company. Companies must work on their customer retention efforts as retention costs less than onboarding and could mean better results for the company. Some of the strategies you can use include:
- Engaging in social courses
- Offering excellent customer service and support
- Creating a great first impression and following up on client issues
Businesses can also carry out customer surveys and reward customer loyalty to encourage their customers to stay with you.
Keep your customers happy by offering the best Gift and Loyalty Card Program. Offering Gift Cards is an exceptional customer loyalty program all in itself.
Our in-house creative designers will create gift and loyalty cards that are completely customized to your business.
If this sounds helpful to your business, click below to speak with our team and discuss which Gift and Loyalty Package is best for you.