A vital component of any business’s success is having a firm grasp on customer retention strategies.
But what is customer retention?
It’s defined as the company’s ability to prevent the customers from switching to the competitors and retain them over a specified period. It means turning your target audience into loyal customers.
Not only do your loyal customers help you source further sales and revenue, but they also give you more leverage to grow your business via word-of-mouth marketing. It’s also a great predictor of customer loyalty and trust for a longer time.
Why Does Customer Retention Matter to Your Business?
Because every year, an average American company loses 23% to 30% of its customers for poor customer loyalty.
Plus, loyal customers tend to spend more than new customers, increasing your overall average order value.
So, you see, it’s more important than ever to keep your customers happy, whether you’re running a small business or a large corporation.
And in this blog, we’ll show you how to do it.
10 Proven Customer Retention Strategies
Here are 10 customer retention strategies that’ll help you keep your customers coming back for more.
1. Offer Flawless Customer Service
If you want to keep your customers happy and loyal, you need to ensure that you’re providing them with great customer service. When customers reach out to you, they want to be heard and address their concerns.
And timely resolving their issues can go a long way in cementing a positive brand perception, promoting loyalty, and increasing the average purchase value.
According to a study published in HBR, the group surveyed customers who had reached out to brands via Twitter to post their complaints, questions, and comments.
Here are the results of the survey:
- The people who received any response to their tweet were willing to spend more on the brand in the future.
- Brands who responded to customers’ tweets scored at least 37 points higher on the NPS (Net Promoter Survey) score than others.
Although the study considers only the Twitter interactions between brands and customers, the results can be easily extrapolated to any service channel. It clearly shows that prompt service can generate goodwill among the customers.
Here’s are some ways to use support services as a customer retention strategy:
- One of the simplest ways to offer 24×7 support is through live chat. It lets your customers speak to support representatives in real-time without needing to email or wait on the phone.
- Another indispensable tool is a robust ticketing system. You can add a simple ticket form on your website or app.
- Install self-service options like an integrated knowledge base and help center. You can also consider creating a video help center. Tools such as StoryXpress (alternative to Vidyard and Loom) can be a great way to get started with this.
For instance, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most important success metrics for customer service teams across all industries.
NPS is a method where customer loyalty is measured through a set of questions after a purchase or service interaction. The responses are noted on a numbered scale (0-10) or free text.
Here’s the primary NPS question:
- How likely are you to recommend our product/service to your friend/family?
To collect more in-depth data, you can use branching to add follow-up questions based on respondents’ answers.
Similarly, internal KPIs can gauge the efficiency of your support staff. Some of them are:
- Volume of service requests handled by channel
- Total repeat tickets per customer
- Average response times
- Customer effort score (CES)
- Customer satisfaction score(CSAT)
2. Establish A Strong Relationship
A strong relationship with your customers will make them want to stick with you. But, most people think about getting new customers and how to convert them. If you don’t have strong retention strategies, you’re likely to lose existing customers, even if you’re getting new ones.
To build a strong relationship with your customers, you must genuinely care about their experience with your brand. You have to be willing to go above and beyond for them and give them whatever they need to be satisfied.
And it starts from the point they enter your sales funnel as a prospect.
Think about how you can communicate with your customers regularly, not just when you want something from them.
A robust CRM tool like BIGContacts can be incredibly helpful for building long-lasting customer relationships. The right CRM tool provides a one-stop platform for tracking and managing your customers to avoid miscommunications and ensure an effortless experience at every point of their journey.
- It lets you stay on top of your business, strengthen your customer loyalty, and streamline your sales process.
- You can group customers and prospects into different segments to understand each cohort’s preferences, needs, and problems.
- Then, use targeted marketing strategies to engage with different customer segments that are at different points in your sales funnel.
- You can segment high-value customers to offer personalized deals and discounts based on their purchase history to increase the repurchase probability.
- You can also target new customers with free first-time Saas product setup or free training sessions.
These services foster a healthy relationship between the business and the customer and greatly promote customer retention.
3. Collect Regular Customer Feedback
Customer feedback becomes an essential asset to stay ahead of the game and to make sure you’re delivering the best product to your customers.
They are easy to implement, cost-effective, and provide rich insights into customer behavior and actions.
Some of the proven and most effective surveys include:
- CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)
- CES (Customer Effort Survey)
- UES (User Effort survey)
- Exit-intent survey
- Market research,
- Product feedback
- CSAT helps measure transactional customer experience to gauge how satisfied or happy customers are after the interaction. It can be making a purchase, contacting the support agent, or any other interaction.
- Studies also show that an increase of 10% in customer satisfaction can lead to 12% in customer trust.
- CES measures how easy it is for the customer to get their queries and issues resolved. It is an indicator of brand loyalty and repurchase probability.
And as we mentioned earlier, NPS is a standard metric to measure long-term loyalty and brand promotion.
But surveys can help collect more than just customer feedback. They make you aware of what customers say about you and your services.
That’s why it’s important to prepare a survey and add depth to it using branching logic and follow-up questions to understand the WHY.
But it doesn’t end here. You need to analyze and act quickly to close the loop. Advanced survey tools like Qualaroo let you design surveys, collect feedback, and analyze it in one place.
4. Offer Post-Purchase Services
Acquiring a customer is only half the battle. You need to extend the services post-purchase to make them feel like they’re getting more value from their investment.
Here are a few examples of how you can make it happen:
- You could offer them free consultation by an expert or periodical quality checks. You could also provide product or service upgrades or help them with any questions about what they just bought.
- After your customers buy your product or service, you also need to set up systems that enable you to follow up with them and keep the relationship going.
- To ensure no client emails are missed, filter and organize all emails in one place.
- In the same way, hassle-free returns and exchanges are essential aspects of an effortless post-purchase experience.
- If your customer is unhappy with the product and wants to return it, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get a refund or exchange.
- New visitors or customers are more hesitant to purchase from a new brand because they have no experience with your return or exchange process.
One way to combat such reservations is to clearly state the return & exchange policies on your website or the product page. Studies have also shown that over 67% of customers expect a return policy to be clearly stated on the packaging, product page, or site before they purchase their product.
One good example would be how Amazon clearly states its return policy right underneath the product feature list so that people do not accidentally miss out.
Old brand or new, it’s also important to make sure it’s super easy to get in touch with your returns department.
The more friction you put into the process of buying and returning products, the less likely people will be to make a purchase. So, a clearly mentioned return and refund policy on the website or the product page can help you retain your customers and save you from chargebacks.
5. Engage in Customer Loyalty Programs
Implementing a customer loyalty program is another great customer retention strategy to keep them coming back to you.
A loyalty program is an initiative that rewards repeat customers with points that can be redeemed on subsequent purchases. The reward encourages them to continue buying from you and refer you to others to earn more points.
For example, if you have a restaurant, you can give loyalty points every time they buy certain meals or drinks — just like Starbucks.
You could also offer special discounts to repeat customers or provide special perks to VIP customers. Or, offer special discounts on their birthdays or anniversaries. It’s also a way to gather some interesting data about your customers.
The key is to give your customers something that they want. As a customer, earning rewards for using a certain product or service is a great way to feel more connected to a brand.
6. Introduce Gamification To Your Customer Loyalty Program
Over the years, loyalty programs have moved from simply rewarding purchases with points or coupons to offering more interesting features.
Gamification applies game features in rewarding customers, typically to promote customer engagement with a product or service.
Some examples are the prize wheel, quizzes, exclusive club memberships, and so on.
Gamifying your loyalty program provides consumers with an incentive to purchase more frequently, buy more, or earn points.
But there’s another advantage of gamified quizzes — it lets you collect demographic and behavioral data about your customers.
You can design a scored personality test and reward the customers with personalized results sent to their email addresses. With a simple quiz, you can collect insights about your audience and capture their email address for retargeting campaigns.
Not only this, you can also use the data from quizzes meant for product recommendations to provide better purchase options that the customers find to be relevant every time.
And who doesn’t enjoy getting just the right options when they are planning to buy something?
Throw in a small discount code, and you have also enticed the respondents to make a purchase.
It does this by creating an incentive to purchase more frequently or use loyalty points for rewards.
7. Address Customer Complaints
If a customer has complained about a flaw in your product or service, there’s a good chance that they’ll tell other people about it. Therefore, it’s paramount to address customer complaints as quickly as possible.
But, it’s also important to do it in a way that doesn’t make it seem like you’re just trying to get them to go away.
Now, complaints can come from all channels like emails, tickets, phone calls, and social media pages.
So, you need an omnichannel approach to address the complaints and fix the problem.
- Set up a dedicated helpdesk system to centralize the tickets.
- Integrate live chat with the helpdesk to automate ticket creation after the chat ends.
- Use tools like Hootsuite, Recurpost to monitor the comments, complaints, and brand mentions on social channels.
Watch: What’s Help Desk & How Ticketing System Works
Another way to improve their experience with your brand is to act on the concerns and comments proactively. Keep your customers informed regarding the ticket’s status and use surveys to gauge their satisfaction once the complaint has been resolved.
Respond to the complaints and try to not only fix the problem but also show the customer how much you care about their experience with your brand.
It also shows how much you care about customers’ experience with your brand.
What’s more, be empathetic and offer reasonable solutions to problems, and always act in the best interest of your customers. Address the complaint immediately and be open and honest about what happened.
Apologize only if you are at fault. Otherwise, take responsibility for the situation. Try to understand the customer’s perspective and ask them what you can do to rectify the inconvenience.
If you don’t address it, it’s just going to come back again and again. With more people likely to research your business online before they purchase from you, you must have a good reputation on the internet.
Related Read: 15 Best HelpDesk Software in 2022
8. Track Customer Lifetime Value
There’s an old saying – “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Keeping an eye on your CLV graph can surely take your customer retention game to the next level.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the total profit from that customer over the entire period they are in business with you.
It helps to determine if your current customers are spending more than they initially did and if you have long-lasting relationships with them.
You can then reevaluate your marketing and experience optimization strategies to increase the average lifetime value. It would help improve retention rates, conversions, customer loyalty, among other things.
Related Read: 25 Best Customer Experience Management Software & Tools
9. Provide Personalized Experience
There are significant positive effects of experience personalization, as shown in the image below:
As we can see, 44% of people would likely become repeat buyers after personalized experiences. So, it needs to be a key part of any customer retention strategy.
It means you’ll need to ask customers what they want, listen to their feedback, and use that feedback to tailor the experience they have with your brand.
It’s also important to work out what your customer’s purchase journey looks like, where they drop off, and what you can do to improve that experience. One way to do that is by using data.
Here are some ways to do it:
- Map your customers’ purchase journey: To track where they drop off and what you can do to improve that experience. You can use behavioral tools like heatmaps and session recordings.
- Use surveys to collect customer feedback: To map their preferences. You can then use the data to show personalized product recommendations.
- Send personalized notifications: To entice customers to make a purchase.
Using customer data and behavior insights, you can design the ultimate personalized experience for each customer according to their tastes and preferences.
Some good examples of personalized experiences are:
- Spotify’s playlist customization
- Amazon’s product recommendations
Other examples of personalization are sending personalized emails, deals, and updates.
10. Automate Customer Engagement
If you find yourself overwhelmed with repetitive tasks, it may be time to automate.
Marketing and experience automation helps to target your customers without spending too much time focusing on the mundane.
It’s a great option to
- market your start-up,
- monitor your customers
- keep them in the loop without much manual work
It makes brand remembrance easy in the customer’s mind. It allows you to track and communicate with your customers without having to dedicate too much time to one-off communications.
Here’s how automation works to improve customer retention and engagement:
- Automated chatbots can auto-initiate live chats based on visitors’ actions and behavior. Plus, they can automatically redirect the chat to an agent, schedule meetings, and create tickets.
- A comprehensive CRM is another way to automate tasks and client interactions. You can set up workflows, segment clients, assign tasks to teams, set up reminders, and more to automate the sales process.
- Use automated drip mail campaigns to warm up leads and retarget customers automatically to increase sales.
- Use a product recommendation engine to show automated suggestions based on customers’ browsing and purchase history.
Customer retention is much more important than trying to gain new customers. 70% of the companies say that it’s a lot cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones.
Therefore, having frequent interactions with your customers help you understand the ways they think, the things they like, and ways you can improve your products and services to better suit their needs.
Treat your existing customers well using the strategies discussed here, and you’ll find that they’ll be more than willing to spread the word about your business to other people.
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