When it comes to growing a small business, customer retention should be a top priority.
You may only have a handful of customers and a limited budget at this stage. Since it costs more to convert a new user than it does to retain an existing customer, you need more first-time buyers to become repeat customers.
Established brands also value a high retention rate because it means they are doing a good job. If customers come back two, four, or even six times after their first order, you’re doing something right!
It’s worth mentioning that the average retention rate and customer lifetime value can vary across industries. A website that sells thousand-dollar watches would likely expect its customers to make a minor purchase once a year and a major purchase every few years.
On the other hand, an email marketing SaaS considers a customer lost when they don’t renew their subscription, regardless of whether it’s one month or three years.
Today, I’m going to share several helpful universal strategies you can use to improve your retention rate.
Deliver a Top-Tier Product or Service
First and foremost, you must deliver a top-notch product or service to keep your retention rate high. If you make promises you can’t keep or deliver a half-baked product, very few people will want to return and make a repeat order.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling software, tennis shoes, pet supplies, or anything in between; quality and accurate marketing are essential to your success.
Think about how you would feel if you bought a new marketing program that offered tons of unique features, only to discover that a whopping three-quarters of the list won’t be available for another year. Like most people, you would request an immediate refund and never shop with that business again.
When crafting landing pages, product descriptions, and blog posts, make sure you accurately represent what you’re selling and how the various features will help your customers.
Setting expectations and delivering on your promises is one of the quickest ways to keep people invested in your brand.
Open Multiple Lines of Communication
Online shoppers expect businesses to give them options if they need to contact support. If all you have is a simple feedback form, you’re probably losing more customers than you know.
I recommend investing in multiple customer support channels so users can reach you from anywhere they want. You’ll want to include chatbots and live support options on your website. Chatbots can help visitors solve common problems with a quick answer, like offering a link to an on-site resource.
Your live support team can help visitors with slightly nuanced problems that require a little out-of-the-box thinking. The benefits of using both systems are two-fold. Customers can get nearly instantaneous help if they have frequently asked questions, which can aid in retention. Meanwhile, people with complicated problems will appreciate that your live team can take their time and help resolve the issue.
It’s also important to have contact options on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Over 4.2 billion people use these sites every month, so you better believe your audience is on these sites and interested in talking to a support agent.
If you need another reason, consider this; 59% of online shoppers say they’ve turned to social media when they want to make a purchase. This impressive statistic shows that you can do more than help users on these sites. If used correctly, you can actively retain people by helping them place a new order.
Send Customers Surprise Discounts and Gifts
In my experience, rewarding customers for their loyalty will lead to more repeat sales. You can easily reach on-site visitors and email subscribers with these offers.
Include an exclusive discount pop-up on your website for visitors who return and sign in to their accounts. For instance, your pop-up might read, “We haven’t heard from you in a while! Here’s 15% off your next order!”
If a person made it back to your site, they are obviously interested in your brand. Presenting a little discount to thank them for returning can lead to a ton of new sales and engagement.
When it comes to email marketing, the key is personalized offers and gifts. We found that personalized emails get 6x more interactions when compared to generic emails.
You’ll want to use customers’ order history and preferences to determine where they fall in your audience segments. For example, a footwear company would likely divide their customers based on the type of shoes each person buys.
It wouldn’t make sense to send offers for tennis shoes to someone who has only purchased sandals. Similarly, they wouldn’t send an offer for dress shoes to someone who only buys tennis shoes.
The more you know about your various customer segments in this situation, the better. If you still don’t have enough information to send personalized discounts or gifts, try working on your buyer personas.
Are you wondering if the email marketing aspect of this strategy is worth your time? Here’s something to think about – 80% of business leaders who use email say that it positively impacts their retention rate.
Invest in a Success Team
Lastly, investing in a customer success team can turn more first-time buyers into brand advocates. It’s worth knowing that there’s a big difference between customer success and customer service.
Customer service is there to help users who have questions or concerns about their orders. So, if a user buys a piece of software that doesn’t work with their device, they would reach out to support.
Customer success teams focus on reaching out to customers and asking if there’s any way they can help them get more value from their purchase.
In this instance, the product is working as intended. It’s the job of the success team to find out how they can make the experience even better. Here are a few questions you could ask:
-How satisfied are you with our product?
-Is there anything you’d like to do with our product but can’t?
-Do you want to know more about (specific features)?
-Are you interested in a hands-on tutorial?
These questions can help your team assess each customer’s needs, leading to an improved satisfaction score. And when people are happy with your product or service, they are more likely to place multiple orders.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from an improved customer retention rate. I’ve used the tips above across several of our brands to keep users returning long after their first purchase. I believe you can reap the same benefits if you’re patient, persistent, and spend time getting to know the needs of your target audience.