The Secret to Customer Retention: Make Friends Not Just Customers


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We have all had an experience with a company where at that moment in time, you want nothing more than to slam that door and never think of them again. But it’s in the majority of those cases that the company starts to dig their heels in, they want to hold on for as long as possible to delay the inevitable with lengthy processes and extra charges to tackle. It’s these frustrating actions that make us glad when we can finally get free from their grasp.

As a company you should try and get an emotional response from your customers to help build a lasting relationship. When they decide to leave, it should be a tough decision they are making, tugging on their heartstrings and making them feel guilty, as if they are leaving a puppy at home whilst they go to work for the day. But how do you get to that point?

Starting the Journey
When a visitor first enters your website, they are alone. Many will not want to approach your representatives straight away and will want to explore what you company has to offer. Keep your website navigation simple, they may want to explore but they are not signing up for a jungle expedition.

Keep icons universal such as your menu; use a hamburger button or the actual word so visitors know this is where they should be clicking to view their options within their journey. Ensure your navigation is placed in a commonly known area, in the top right or left of the page etc.

Make contact details easily accessible as the visitor is browsing. When questions arise, they can simply pick up the phone, send an email or start a chat without any hunting around involved. To keep visitors happy with your customer service ensure that representatives reply as quickly as they can, chat and telephone should connect the visitor instantly, they should ideally not be placed in a queue, even if the person who answers the phone is a receptionist they can direct them in the right direction. Company representatives should be friendly and professional, allowing the conversation to flow naturally rather than scripted; this allows any personal information, such as the visitor has a cat or kids to be commented on rather than ignored as its deviates from a script, helping to form the relationship.

The Relationship
When a visitor becomes a customer, ensure your company proactively follows them up to see how they are getting on, this gives the customer confidence that the business cares about them rather than their money. This can be done by account management calls if your organisation is a B2B model, alternatively, an email may be better suited for consumers, this can be tailored to their purchasing habits, for example sending out an email the day before payday, as this is the time they usually start to browse, or if they like a certain type of product, inform them if a new version or matching accessory is being released.

Make it easy for them to add it to their basket and purchase from you every time. Rather than them having to put in the effort to search around for an alternative supplier and explore their site for what they want, hand it to them on a plate, all they have to do is purchase.

It costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one, yet companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition than on retention . As my Sales director quotes “Make Friends Not Just Customers”, and their loyalty to you will make it hard for them to leave, giving them the left puppy dog feeling if they do.
Is your company focusing on customer retention? What are your tactics for making them stay?

Gemma Baker
Gemma Baker is the Marketing Executive for UK web chat software provider Click4Assistance, with a range of knowledge in live chat software and customer engagement channels, customer service methods and improving online business.


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