Often in business, we get so caught up in the need and hunt for new customers that it can be easy to overlook the sales opportunities staring us right in the face, retaining existing customers. While the hunt is the most exciting part, it costs between 5-25X less to retain a customer than to find a new one.
So how do you create a customer retention strategy that not only keeps your existing customers engaged and happy but to keep them coming back for more? Read on as we break down seven strategies to utilise in your customer retention strategy to improve ROI and cut your customer acquisition costs.
1. A clear and engaging customer onboarding process
How you onboard customers will vary by which industry you are in and the products you're selling. On-boarding is an integral part of your customer success strategy as it teaches new customers how to get the most out of your product or service. While you could just send the product and hope they work it out themselves, an engaging onboarding process will teach them how to use your product the way it was designed to be used.
Have you ever purchased a product, tried to use it a couple of times, only to become frustrated with its impracticality and thrown it into storage or written it off as a waste of time? Because you didn't fully understand how it operates or the features you became frustrated and gave up. A clear and engaging customer onboarding process attempts to eliminate these frustrations before they fester and puts you on the front foot to help your customers at every step.
Your customers will have a goal in mind for why they required your product, so as part of your onboarding process teach them how they can reach their goals effectively and you're on your way to a happy returning customer.
2. Always gather feedback from your customers
If you don't know how your business can improve then how can you move forward? The primary source of areas to improve for a business should be delivered direct from your customers. Gathering consistent feedback from your customers allows you to stay on top of any issues before they get out of hand.
Using a survey such as a Net Promoter Score allows you to gather relevant and actionable feedback. It not only helps you see where you can improve customer experience, but it can also be an effective tool for gathering more Google and Facebook customer reviews.
3. Use a communication calendar to stay in touch
Even if your customers aren't engaging with feedback it is still important to be proactive with communication and stay front of mind. A communication calendar can be that half-naked firefighters calendar that Cheryl from accounts bought or the more common and practical way is to keep track of interactions in your CRM. You should keep track of the last customer interaction date so that if they haven't engaged with your brand for quite some time, you can be automatically notified and proactively engage with them. This helps you be proactive in your customer service, removing roadblocks for your customers before they realise, such as reminding them to renew their subscription or to re-book a service.
4. Reward your loyal customers
It's not everything, but a contributing factor to why you return to the same coffee shop every single day is that you're only two coffees away from a free one and when out hit that freebie, you're basically making money. A loyalty card is the simplest way to reward your existing customers but it won't work in every situation. A 'buy 10 SEOs and get your 11th free' card wouldn't be plausible because that's not how SEO works, but discounted rates on your SEO services for returning customers would. Rewarding engaged and existing customers with discounts or offers is a surefire way to encourage repeat purchases without the need for spending money on lead generation strategies.
5. Tell your brand story with a corporate social responsibility program
Brands are more than just the product or service they deliver, customers want to relate to a brand on a deeper level than just through a purchase, they want to believe and get behind their story. If there are inconsistencies between your brand's messaging and its actions, your consumers will spot these a mile away and avoid at all costs.
A corporate social responsibility program doesn't need to be anything wild like Lego's plan to spend $150 million to make its products more environmentally friendly, but if you're a surf brand that raves about the importance of protecting the ocean but you don't do anything about it, you're a bit of a phoney right?
6. Keep your customers in the know with a newsletter
If you're envisioning those old newsletters you were sent home with from school back in the day then you may think a newsletter is a little old fashioned, but with the help of email marketing you can keep your customers engaged and informed with your brand. Use it as a tool to launch new products, release special offers or share an update on the blogs you've released for the month.
By keeping your customers informed on news, you're keeping your brand front of mind making them feel like part of the brand and the journey.
7. Educate your customers and offer support
Offering tools, videos or articles on how to get the most out of your product and service not only supports your customers, but it can be a handy tool for your sales team to demonstrate features. Something like a knowledge base or 'frequently asked questions' section to your website offers indirect support so that customers can solve their own issues before contacting support.
If you're educating your customers and they know as much about the product and its features as you then there's a strong chance they'll love the product just as much as you do. An educated customer is an engaged customer, who, if you're doing your job right, will come back time and time again.
While finding new customers is essential for a businesses long term growth, sometimes there is a lot of real growth overlooked within your existing sales channels. With the cost of keeping customers significantly cheaper than finding new ones, you're doing your business a disservice by not giving them attention. Keeping your current customers happy, engaged and gathering their feedback on a regular basis will allow you to improve your customer's experience, lower customer acquisition costs and improve your ROI.