Understanding how to give your customers an experience they will remember is critical in retaining them for the long run. You have spent time and money acquiring those customers so it’s vital to keep them coming back time and time again.
Getting a new customer to try your business can be anywhere from five to 25x more expensive than keeping your existing customers, yet, retention programs are often an afterthought. The truth is, keeping existing customers happy is good business. Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. Retaining your top customers has enormous ROI potential for your business.
The best retention strategies are catered to your specific business and customer needs. Here are 21 tips to try with your business that will help retain your top customers:
1. Recognize Your Super Users
For those standout customers who support your brand and are consistently loyal, offer up special perks and recognition to keep them sticking around.
89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience so creating an amazing customer experience for your top customers isn’t nice-to-have, it’s required. Create a community that celebrates super users by allowing them early access to products, creating special help support or sending them swag like t-shirts or mugs. If cultivated and celebrated, super users may even provide strong word-of-mouth marketing and bring in new customers.
2. Demonstrate Enough Value for Upsells
Believe it or not, you can make your existing customers happier by upselling and cross-selling. Your customer upsells increase when you’re offering relevant services that your loyal fans are happy to buy. By not upselling, you may be robbing your customers of the opportunity to buy a product or service they desperately need.
So you need to work hard to earn these upsells with extraordinary value and service. And continuous promotion and engagement that’s relevant and not annoying.
3. Create a Newsletter
Creating valuable, helpful and interesting content in the form of a newsletter can be a way to reward your customers and stay top-of-mind with loyal buyers. Your newsletter must be full of actionable, meaty information answering your customers’ questions and addressing their biggest needs. It can provide industry insights, or even aspirational content, and should be an extension of your brand. The trip to a smart newsletter strategy is to not come off as salesy. Customers will respond more positively to content that is informative and useful and look at your business as a partner.
4. Don’t Forget the Training
Go out of your way to make your new customers comfortable with your product. You don’t want cancellations and attrition from a lack of familiarity with your product.
For instance, use this as a chance to excel at customer service by giving everyone who subscribes to a SaaS product a thorough walk through one-on-one or host regular seminars for small groups.
Using technology, your team can target customer service request tickets with special emphasis when it looks like someone is confused by your product. Today’s struggling user is tomorrow’s cancellation, so it is vital to get in front of users who show confusion or frustration.
5. Avoid Overpromises and Hype–Do Overdeliver
Don’t get carried away with marketing and start promising things you can’t really deliver. Failing to deliver on a promise can result in years of mistrust, or complete abandonment. By promising smaller things, and then keeping those promises or going above and beyond, your organization can create trust and excitement for your product.
Going beyond the standard operating procedure to offer an exceptional experience can make a lasting impression and keep customers engaged. But do your best for your customers every single time.
6. Talk to Your Customers
Make a point of having regular conversations with your customers. Recognize loyalty with the opportunity to have a say at new features. Invite your customers to vote on what color the background is or what special promotion you offer next.
Also, take the time to listen to customer needs. If you have a particularly upset customer, set up time to talk one-on-one. Understanding the perspective and problem can lead to innovation that will impact several customers. Additionally, by speaking one-on-one or in small groups, you will show how customers are a priority to your organization and ensure they feel special and heard.
7. Look for Signs of Future Churn
Have a plan for reducing churn by spotting it in advance. Churn means that a customer or group of customers regularly leave your product and service. While some churn is normal as customers out-grow your business or need different services, you may be able to revent some churn.
Review customer flows and characteristics to identify where most churn happens. See if there is a common trait or time of the year where churn is particularly high. Then, make a strategy to retain these customers. For example segment customers on your email list by engagement level and send an email offer or promotion to customers who might be at risk to leave.
8. Personalize Engagement
Customers are increasingly turned off by generic communications. Simple steps like using a first name in emails and customer care go a long way. Additionally, providing recommendations or complimentary products and services unique to them can increase customer engagement. Finally, consider making custom content by industry or region. Sharing this specific content with the right target audience will make them feel as though you understand their needs. Using automation tools, you can even create email sequences based off the personalization. By automating personalize emails, you can provide a human touch at scale.
9. Send Thank-You Messages
A little thanks goes a long way, even if it’s old-fashioned. Handwritten or even emailed thanks can be appreciated. Additionally, take time to thank customers on social media who take the time to provide great ideas or reviews.
Going one step forward, you can combine thank yous with coupon codes or early access to products.
10. Mistakes Deserve Special Outreach
If you mess up, don’t assume it’ll blow over. This is time for extra engagement to prevent churn or angry sentiment from rising up. When your company blunders by missing a shipment, charging the wrong account or sending a faulty product, there are several ways to go above and beyond to resolve the issues. Consider creating an “I’m sorry” gifts that is ready-to-go. Or, have the CEO create a thoughtful special offer with personal outreach. Finally, sometimes customers just want to hear from a real person. Try to put together a personal apology from a manager.
Remember, the average cost of a lost customer is $243. If it’s an expensive product, this price can get much higher.. While these activities take time and money they may pay off in the long run.
11. Pay Attention to CX
Customer experience, or CX, isn’t merely a buzzword. It’s something you should be paying careful attention to if you’re after customer retention. Make it as easy as possible for customers to continue doing business with you by having a clean product layout, easy checkout capabilities and even mobile apps when appropriate.
Bad customer service costs industry $75 billion each year. More than half of customers who’ve had a bad experience end up churning.
This makes CX a secret weapon to keep customers.
12. Return the Favor, If Possible
For your enterprise customers, consider patronizing their own products and services. Depending on your industry, creating mutually beneficial relationships can help both businesses grow. Also consider making marketing swaps where you promote your best clients and what they offer and in return, they do the same.
13. Constantly Test Your Customer Service
It can be hard to be critical of your customer service policies when you only view it from the business perspective. Take time to regularly experience your business as a customer. Ask questions, click through the website and test the product to see what is confusing or complicated about the experience. Both online and in brick-and-mortar locations, you may want to think about using mystery shoppers periodically. Also test competitors to see how their experience compares and identify ways to improve your own.
14. Look at Your Content and Language
Make sure you’re speaking your customer’s language and reflecting their self-perceptions back to them. Avoid jargon they don’t understand and references they don’t appreciate. For example, using GIFs is great, unless your audience doesn’t understand your humor or finds it inappropriate. Something you think is funny can quickly run the risk looking out-of-touch or silly.
Be open and honest of the use of chat bots or that your customer service reps are working remotely. This can be an opportunity to build a relationship based on honesty and transparency. It can also allow you to let customers know you’re committed to things like they privacy.
For example, let’s say you’re an ecommerce retailer and a current customer opens the chat app on the site to discuss a recent order. Before they share any personal information you can let them know that your customer service team is committed to their privacy and data security. The message could read, “Our customer service team members may be communicating from a remote location due to COVID-19. During the difficult time we are committed to the security and privacy of all customer information. All customer service reps are using a secure VPN to connect to chat discussions to ensure your personal data is safe.”
15. Empower Your Team
Give employees the power to serve customers and make it right in every situation. This can mean providing something for free or upgrading an unhappy customer. Again, sometimes these activities can cost money in the short-term, but reach live long happy customers. As a manager, don’t needlessly restrict their authority to intervene to make a customer happy.
16. Invite Customers
Whenever possible, create experiences you can invite your most loyal customers to interact with the business and other customers. Invite them to drop-in at your headquarters or throw them a picnic. Host a free webinar with something useful. Depending on the industry, a private Facebook group or email newsletter may be engaging.
17. Ask for Negative Feedback
We all like to hear praise. But when was the last time you asked your customers what they don’t like about you?
Invite your customers to give brutally-honest feedback. According to ClickFox, a customer with a bad experience will probably tell friends and family about it, in fact, over half do. If you’re not listening to negative feedback, remember that some customer is out there telling negative stories about your company and possibly negating the hard work you’re doing as a marketer.
18. Be an Authority
Become their go-to expert and build your brand’s authority in your industry. Create content that provides insights and uncovers trends about the industry. Attend important events and consider becoming a sponsor or speaker to show your expertise. Show what you know and remind your customers why they chose you in the first place. Customers will value having a partner that is committed to staying relevant in the field and someone who is looking for constant innovation.
19. Commit to Continuous Improvement
What works to engage customer this year, could change by next year. New social platforms and technologies are being developed where customers can interact with brands. Constantly look for new ways to improve the customer experience and provide a top-level service.
20. Remember the Relationships
An old piece of advice, but it remains true in customer retention. Build relationships. If you interact with more than one team member at a client company, make an effort to keep track of who they are and what they do. And if you don’t, consider trying to make more connections at the customer company so their team perceives you as an important partner.
21. Meet Unreasonable Requests
It’s not always possible or practical to meet every customer request, but the opportunity to win and significantly delight a customer can be well worth the effort. Look for opportunities and know when to take them.
Retain More of Your Best Customers
Keeping your customers happy and engaged isn’t just the job of the customer service team. Every level of an organization should be thinking about the customer and how the business can create a lasting impression. While some retention strategies are simple and free, others may require an initial investment, but will pay off in the long run. Spend time thinking about your unique customer base and what they prioritize. The best retention strategies will combine your special offering with the goals of your target customer and create a lasting impact.