What’s better than acquiring one new customer? It sounds like a trick question, but the answer isn’t acquiring two customers. It’s more of retaining an existing customer.
By way of definition, a customer retention programme is a specific initiative or set which is designed to increase customer value and encourage them to re-purchase and evangelise a company’s offering. They can be company or customer-led.
While there’s a certain appeal that comes with capturing new customers, keeping customers coming back will continually result in a greater ROI and it costs almost 50 percent less. Question then is how do you create a customer retention strategy that keeps your current customers engaged and happy?
I will share some winning retention methods used by some big brands to inspire loyalty. From leveraging convenience to prioritising personalisation, these are elements any customer success team or marketer can take and test as they grow their portfolios.
- On-boarding programme
On-boarding is a customer success function that teaches new customers how to use your product or service. Rather than learning by themselves, customers are taught by a company representative who personalises the training according to their needs. This way, customers not only save time but also understand how the product can help them achieve goals.
On-boarding is an effective customer retention tool because it prevents churn with new customers. When users are first working with your product, they may get frustrated if they don’t understand how to use it. Customers have deadlines and they can’t afford to spend time learning how to master your product. On-boarding ensures customers know how to utilise your products or services so they can complete their goals on time.
- Customer feedback loop
It’s hard to improve your business if you don’t know how your customers feel about it. You need a process for obtaining customer feedback and sharing that information with the rest of your organisation. This is where a customer feedback loop provides a system for collecting, analysing, and distributing customer reviews and surveys.
There are a few ways to collect customer feedback. The most common way is with a survey like Net Promoter Score, or you can ask customers to participate in user testing and focus groups. Using a few of these methods regularly should provide your team with ample and relevant customer feedback.
Once gathered, you should analyse your survey results by looking for trends in customer behaviour and areas to enhance user experience. Then, share this information with teams that will benefit from it most. For example, product reviews should be distributed to engineers and development teams so they can address flaws in your product’s design. By using this system to collect and share customer reviews, your business can efficiently address criticism and improve customer experience.
- Communication calendar
Even if your customers aren’t reaching out with feedback, your team should be proactive with its communication. If customers haven’t interacted with your brand for a while, you should reach out to them and re-establish your relationship. Consider adopting a communication calendar to manage customer engagements and create opportunities to up-sell and cross sell.
A communication calendar is a chart that keeps track of customer communication. It tells you the last time that a customer has reached out and alerts you when existing customers haven’t interacted with your brand. This makes it easy to launch promotional offers and proactive customer service features that remove roadblocks before customers know they’re there. For example, if a customer’s subscription is set to expire, you can send out an email letting them know they need to renew their account.
- Customer loyalty programme
While it’s important to focus on customers who are at risk of churn, you can’t forget about your loyal customers as well. After all, what will these customers think if they see you putting all this effort in for users who don’t love your brand? It doesn’t seem too fair, does it?
A customer loyalty programme can reward customers for their continued loyalty. The more they shop and interact with your business, the more they’re rewarded. This keeps customers happy because they’re getting more from the experience than just your product or service. And, since the top 10 percent of your customers spend three time more than the rest of your customer base, you’ll want to make sure these users are more than satisfied.
- Customer advisory board
As we mentioned above, your most loyal customers are also your most valuable ones. Not just because of the money they spend, but also for the information they provide. They tell you why they love your brand so much and make suggestions as to where you can improve it.
Creating a panel of these customers can help you fine-tune products and services at your business. Additionally, you can increase customer advocacy by encouraging participants to publicly share their reviews. Customer testimonials are an effective method for building rapport when attracting and engaging potential leads.
- Corporate social responsibility programme
Your company is more than just a product or service. Customers look at everything your business buys, sells and advertises to its target audience. If they sense any inconsistency between your brand’s messaging and its actions, they’ll be quick to recognise your ingenuity.
Instead, it’s important to get involved with your customers beyond product and services. Think about their core values and create a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme that pursues a moral goal while the initiative doesn’t have to be as ambitious, getting involved with customers’ communities and personal goals is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to their needs.
- Company newsletter
A company newsletter is a simple and cost-effective way of retaining customers. You can use email automation to send updates or offers to all of your customers at once. And, you can send the email using a feed on a designated frequency, so you don’t have to manually update the content or remember to click “send”. Even though it’s simple, newsletters remind customers of your brand every time they open their inbox.
The views given herein are solely for information purposes; they are guidelines and suggestions and are not guaranteed to work in any particular way.
Robert Gonye is a Business Growth Expert and Influencer. He writes in his personal capacity. Comments and views: [email protected]