“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
The digital age means that customer retention is more important than ever, because these are the people that will buy from you over and over again, helping to sustain your business and reputation. With so many ways to discover alternatives to your services, it is important that you know exactly how to keep your customers happy and prevent them from wandering off. Most companies spend 80% of their focus on bringing new customers in, with just 20% spent on the existing ones, and that is the fastest way to lose people. Be the difference, and learn how to gain and keep your customers.
What is it, and Why is it Important?
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” – Howard Schultz
It is good to know exactly what customer retention means, and it’s actually very simple. Essentially, it is the practice of keeping the customers you have already gained so that they don’t decide to use the products and services offered by your competition instead of yours. This process is you retaining them, and that’s why it is called customer retention. However, what most seem to forget is that retention isn’t just a one-off thing you do, it is a task that has to be carried out every day if you want to build a relationship with them and keep them.
You might be wondering why it’s so important, and to help you understand why customer retention is necessary within a business, here are a few key facts and statistics:
– 65% of the business a company gets comes from existing customers
– It costs five times more to find new customers than keep current ones
– A mere 5% retention improvement can create a 95% profit increase
– A 10% increase in customer retention can increase the value of a company by 30%
– A typical company loses 15% of its customers each year through poor retention
The Best Strategies for Customer Retention
“There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.” – Sylwia Delekta Hope
Now that you know why customer retention is so important, there are three main strategies that you can use in order to implement it in your company – each of which is actually fairly simple to perform and maintain.
Good Customer Service
This is probably the most important feature for any company, because good customer service will bring people back and result in referrals, but bad customer service can destroy a business. Customers base their opinions on a combination of likability and trust, so you need to give them a good reason to stay with your business. Offer every customer exceptional and polite service, throw in a discount code for their next purchase, and just do small things like that to keep them coming back for more.
Make Paying Easy
The payment process should be a really simple one, because there is nothing worse than a tricky checkout or one that takes a lot of time. There are a few ways you can make paying easy, each of which is listed below for you:
– Allow them to save their card data
– Use a flexible and inclusive company for taking card payments
– Incorporate things like PayPal, Apple Pay, or Amazon Pay for fast checkout
– Have a “Pay Now” button for express checkout (Amazon has this)
– Give them the option to set up a subscription (if applicable)
Build Customer Dependency
Become the expert in your field, and allow your customers to rely on your knowledge in the area to make choices about what they need to buy. Having your customers depend on your products and your knowledge on the subject makes you indispensable to them, and they will be more likely to turn to you for advice (which you can give through your social media channels). In turn, this increases their trust levels.
Gaining and Keeping Customers: Brand Loyalty
“The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson
Brand loyalty plays a part in both gaining and keeping customers, with each piece of advice below being relevant to both situations. It’s good stuff to keep in mind and to put into practice.
Boosting Customer Loyalty
One of the best ways to do this is with regular special offers or a reward card scheme. Let customers know that they are appreciated, and make the discounts that they unlock worth the time and money spent getting there. You could also send out random emails to customers with a unique code that only they can use for a period of time; personalising it with their name so that they feel special. Let them know that you are thinking of them, and their loyalty will be easily gained.
Promote the Loyal Customers
The customers that are most loyal to you deserve a little more attention, and it is a great way to keep them interested. There are a few ways you can do this, and to make it easy they are listed below for you to flick through:
– Send them special VIP deals throughout the year
– Create a ranking system based on purchases or how long they have been with you
– Send a surprise gift with their next order as a little thank you
– Give them a special title and exclusive deals that come with it
Always Put the Needs of the Customer First
The customers should always come first, above your revenue and anything else. After all, they are able to tell if you are prioritising them or not, and if you don’t focus on them, then you are less likely to retain them. Listen to their feedback, highlight good reviews on your page, and take the time to address any concerns or issues that they might have. If a negative review is left on social media, take the time to sort through the problem there instead of ignoring it. Resolution looks a lot better on you.
Gaining and Keeping Customers: Learning to Engage Your Audience
“Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
Engagement is key if you want to bring new people in and keep the old ones interested, so make sure you take the advice below into account before you begin your retention campaign says Chris Baron
Bring Personality to Your Company
Making a company human is both easy and important, because people are able to relate to other people. On your blog, or social media in general, it is great to let customers look at the behind the scenes action of your business. Let them get to know the people who work for you (as well as you), what their first jobs were, their hobbies, and the thing they like most about working for your company. Don’t do a professional headshot for them either, take a snap while they are working that your customers will be able to connect with on a deeper level. Personality builds both trust and likability.
Remind Them Why They Chose You, or Show Them Why They Should
Customers can forget why they chose your company and the way you helped them quite quickly, so reminding them can be a great way to get them back and interested. Send them an email to let them know that you remember, that you are thinking of them, and that your services are still there to help them out.
Similarly, if you are bringing people in, let them know there are ways you can make things easier for them, or show them that your products are an absolute must-have. Let them know why you are so much better than the other alternatives on the market, and why they should be using you instead. A clear and honest message is the best way to help guide customers to your doors and keep them there.
“Keeping customers is all about helping your clients succeed.” – Mike Sadowski, Brand24
It’s hard work, and it’s not going to happen overnight, but customer retention is good for you and your business. By following the advice laid out in this article, the process can be made a little easier; helping you to manage your time and also come up with new ideas to keep them interested in your brand and what you have to offer.