As a marketer or business owner, your most important job will be to attract and retain customers. Without them, you cannot sell, let alone grow your business.
Once you bring in new customers, how do you get them to stay with you from day one? How do you get them to choose you every single time?
Well, the answer lies in customer retention!
Customer retention refers to a business’s ability to turn new or short-term customers into long-term buyers.
Repeat customers tend to spend more over the long term. As a result, they also cost less in advertising and marketing.
Strategies for Customer Retention You Can Count On
This article will cover ten strategies to improve customer retention and help you get more repeat customers. Our tips will enable you to increase your customer lifetime value, bringing more revenue to your business.
1. Understand What Your Customers Want
Your first point of focus should be to have an in-depth understanding of your customer’s wants and desires. What do customers expect from you? What are their needs and pain points?
Knowing what your customers want will allow you to tailor the product or service to their preferences. It will also allow you to tailor the experience to your client’s tastes.
The best way to learn your customer’s desires is by collecting feedback through customer surveys.
Surveys will help you determine if customers are happy with your product or service. It can also give you an idea of what they want or don’t want and what they think you can improve. This information will, in turn, allow you to serve them better.
Once a customer buys your product or service, request them to fill in your customer survey.
The survey should cover questions like:
- How was your experience with our product or service?
- What did you like about our product or service?
- Did you encounter any problems using our product or service?
- Is there anything you think we can improve?
Ensure the customer survey is short, clear, and easy to fill. You can also offer incentives like discounts and gift cards to encourage customers to fill in the survey. Finally, gather your marketing team, analyze the customers’ responses, and brainstorm ways to improve.
2. Rethink Your Customer Base
Having a large customer base increases your company’s selling potential. It enables you to reach more people, sell more, and thus make more revenue. However, a large customer base might limit your chances of satisfying all of them. People are different. Everyone that buys from you has their own needs and desires. You may have a tough time pleasing everyone if you have thousands upon thousands of customers.
To improve customer retention:
- Focus on your strongest customers.
- Adjust your products and services to their preferences, and look for ways to attract more of them.
- Strive to build a relationship with them and turn them into lifetime consumers.
For example, say you have a business that develops software for small businesses. You can choose to target a broad range of industries, which might limit your shot at specializing. Or, you can focus on one or two sectors that need your service, for instance, the manufacturing and processing industries. Targeting a small niche will enable you to specialize and have a strong understanding of your customer. It will improve your ability to solve their needs.
3. Learn From Customer Complaints
Customer complaints are a part of any business. No matter how good your product or service is, there may come a time when a customer is unhappy with it. They may voice a complaint to you or your customer service team. Don’t dread the complaint. Instead, take it as an opportunity to learn and improve your product or service.
When a customer complains, it shows your business matters to them. If it didn’t, they would have just walked away and never come back. The customer is, in a way, allowing you to correct your mistakes. Hear them out, apologize, acknowledge your faults and offer them a solution. Most customers are forgiving. They may also tell their friends that you handled their complaints in the right way.
A good tip would be to create a system that enables you to track, categorize and analyze customer complaints. Not all complaints are equal. Some are about your company’s product or service. Others may be related to the customer’s experience, such as rude or dismissive personnel. Track the complaints to find patterns and categorize them so that you can take the necessary actions.
4. Create Customer Loyalty Programs
Customer loyalty programs are a sure way to get customers coming back to you. By offering discounts and other incentives to customers, you can encourage them to keep buying from you. Loyalty programs can also help you attract new customers through referrals from existing ones. When people enjoy the rewards of the program, they may refer you to their friends and family.
To implement a successful customer loyalty program, start by defining your goals, then prepare a program that helps you achieve them. There are many types of customer loyalty programs you can utilize for your business. For example, you can go for point-based programs that allow customers to earn and redeem points or tiered programs that reward customers based on their spending.
You may also want to decide which customers get the loyalty program. You can tailor it for new clients, existing ones, or those that reach a certain level of spending. Try and set a budget for the customer loyalty programs so that they don’t drain your business.
5. Make Your Customers Feel Important and Part of the Family
Treat your patrons as you would your own family. Develop a relationship with them and offer them a discount when you have high-profit margins. Remember that if it weren’t for them, your business would not be thriving as it is right now.
Treating your customers like family lets them know that you appreciate and care for them. It helps you earn their trust, and thus they always come back to you despite all the rewards and incentives your competitors offer them. Clients that feel valued are also more forgiving when your business is at fault.
But how can you make your customers feel part of the family? For starters, you need to believe they are family. Next up, personalize your relationship with them. Send your customers gift cards and wish them happy holidays. Address them by name and always be thankful that they chose you.
Another way to show customers that they are family is by being honest with them. For example, assume you own an e-commerce company. A customer sends a complaint that the product they ordered hasn’t arrived yet. Don’t just say the product is on the way. Instead, apologize and explain to the customer the reason for the delay. Afterward, tell them you will follow up with the fulfillment team and do so.
6. Review Your Customer Service
Customer service refers to the support a business offers its customers before and after purchasing a product or service. It enables the customer to have a satisfying and enjoyable experience doing business with you. If you want the customer to keep choosing you, offer them the best customer support. While at it, review your customer service on a quarterly or yearly basis.
When evaluating your customer service, address questions like:
- Does our company offer enough avenues for customers to reach out?
- Do customers have a tough time connecting to our customer support team?
- Is our customer support team available 24/7?
- Are there customers that complain about our customer service?
- Do we address the customer’s problems in the right way?
The best way to review customer service is to ask your clients for feedback. Listen to what they tell you, find gaps then make improvements.
7. Review the Industry
Strive to know the ins and outs of your industry. Analyze your top competitors and ensure they don’t have the upper hand on you. If they have a good product or service, offer better. If they have excellent customer support, make sure yours is superior.
When reviewing your industry, check for trends in the market. Do you have new competitors? Have your customer’s needs evolved, and has your industry undergone any changes or innovations? Try and find gaps in the industry. You may come up with an idea for a product or service that no other business is providing.
Knowing everything about your industry will enable you to catch on to new trends and ideas quickly. As a result, you will have a better chance of becoming a leader in your industry or market.
8. Improve the Customer Experience
Customer experience is different from customer service. It refers to how a customer perceives your business or brand. Customer service, on the other hand, is the actions a company takes to help its patrons. These two terms, however, go hand in hand. Good customer service leads to a desirable customer experience, which in turn leads to customer retention.
When improving customer experience, you may want to think about the entire customer journey. First, create a visual story for how the client interacts with your business. Then, begin your journey from the time they call, walk into your physical store or log in to your website to the time they leave with the product.
Mapping out the customer’s journey will enable you to spot loopholes in each interaction point. In addition, it will provide you with a holistic view of how your clients interact with your brand and thus show your strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if you are a marketing consultant, your customer journey may go the following way. First, clients walk into your office, and they talk to your secretary. They then wait for 15 to 20 minutes as you finish attending to another client. Finally, you call them in, have a 10-minute conversation, and they are thrilled to do business with you.
When mapping, you may notice that the waiting period is too long for the client. To improve their experience, you can reduce the waiting time or offer a complementary product such as a cup of coffee.
9. Train Employees to Deal With Customers
Employees are the ones who, for the most part, interact with customers. Coach them on how to deal with your clients so that you can ensure customer satisfaction. Involve your employees in the training process so that they buy into it and be on board.
For efficient training, it’s best to use scenarios instead of lectures. Make the training sessions authentic. Don’t just give your employees a list of phrases to say when talking to a customer. Train the employees in all possible scenarios, from handling angry customers to talking to happy ones to dealing with those that don’t know which products they want.
10. Offer the Best of the Best
Your last task should be to ensure your product or service is of the best standard. Offering quality products and services will go a long way towards helping you retain customers. A customer that loves your products is more likely to return and spread the word about your company to family, friends, coworkers, and others.
How can you improve the quality of your products or services? You can start by understanding what quality means to your business. The metrics for quality vary from one industry to another. Software, for example, is considered high quality if it is secure, stable, intuitive, and easy to master. A couch, by contrast, is of high quality if it is comfortable and lasts longer without a tear.
Once you learn what quality means to your business, create and test your products based on your quality metrics. You can also implement a quality management system to help audit your products and processes.
Improving customer retention can significantly impact your business’s bottom line. Repeat customers tend to buy more over a long period. They also reduce the cost you incur in marketing and are more forgiving when you make a mistake.
There are many strategies for increasing customer retention. For example, you can improve the quality of products and services or polish up the customer experience. You can also train employees to handle your clients better or create customer loyalty programs. Find the strategies that work for you and use them to increase your customer’s lifetime value.
In this section, you’ll find a few resources that will allow you to dive into the topic for more tips and insights.
Books are a great way to expand your knowledge on any topic. Unlike an article that may be a couple of thousand words, a book will detail a given topic and likely expand on the focus areas.
A book is comparable to a course that you may take either online or in the classroom.
Taking a course is a great way to expand your knowledge and move towards mastering your skills.
Some courses go into depth and may take a few weeks to complete, while others are introductory courses, which you could finish in a few hours.
It all depends on how much depth you want to get into regarding customer retention.
Suppose you have a bit of background with strategies for customer retention. In that case, you can quickly go over the modules you are familiar with and take a more detailed approach to the modules you’re unfamiliar with.
If you want, browse through the latest Google search results related to Customer Retention Training.
Going through the news is another great way to keep up with current events related to customer retention.
I like to use Google news to keep up with current events and check out any archives related to the topic I’m looking into.
Videos are a great way to expand your knowledge about many topics. I’m not much of a reader, but I do enjoy learning from videos.
Many of the YouTube videos are short, and I can get in a lot of information from a short 5 to 10-minute video.
Another advantage is when the videos are short, I can go through many of them to get different perspectives.