Last week we touched on the importance of steering clear of guesswork and assumptions when it comes to identifying your most profitable customers. The logical next step from this – and the topic of this week’s content – is how to ensure those valuable customers stay loyal to your business and keep buying. With the average cost of new customer acquisition on the rise, this is the most cost-effective way to grow your business.
Yet we know that it is easier than ever for customers to ‘switch’. Even longstanding customers will transfer their loyalties if they think they can get a better deal or experience elsewhere. So what can you do to prevent this?
Here are 5 practical steps to boost customer retention and generate opportunities for growth within your business.
- Create A Customer Success Team
Keeping your customers happy is so fundamental that it will undoubtedly pay to have a dedicated team who leads the way in ensuring that Customer Experience lies at the heart of your operations.
It also sends out a clear message that you are proactive in caring about your customers, making sure that their expectations are met and that they get the best results from your products or services. To put it another way – customers want to feel loved! When asked for the reasons they feel a strong emotional connection to a particular brand, 65% of US consumers recently said it is because they feel as if the company cares about people like them.
You can read about our experience of setting up a Customer Success team here.
2. Maximize Opportunities For Feedback
The adage about not relying on assumptions applies to customer retention as much as acquisition. Don’t be fooled into thinking you know what it is your customer expects or needs in their ongoing relationship with you. Aim to give them regular opportunities to feed back on all aspects of your delivery, from onboarding to the product itself to overall satisfaction and experience.
Customer satisfaction surveys certainly retain a role in retention marketing, but this doesn’t have to be restricted to a formal (possibly annual) mass send-out. You can ask customers to complete ad-hoc surveys after any engagement exercise, such as a webinar. Immediate, activity-specific feedback like this can be immensely useful to help you tweak your approach mid-campaign. Consider getting loyal customers involved in focus groups – and don’t underestimate the value of timely and concise email updates, blogs – like this one! – and engaging with customers on social media. In essence, aim to keep the dialogue going at all points in the customer journey so that you are equipped with the insight you need to make informed decisions about future retention activity and make your customers feel valued at the same time.
- Value Reviews For Deeper Understanding
As you will read in our Customer Success blog I referred to above, Value Reviews form a key element of best practice retention strategy, not only to gauge satisfaction levels but to check that your customers are reaping maximum benefit from your services – and to support them in doing so. This really helps build trust and loyalty from a relationship perspective, not to mention the practical matter of embedding your services deeper within their company.
We’ve found that these in-depth reviews – which can be undertaken by phone or face to face – tend to surface new areas for growth and development for both our business and our customers’.
- Educate And Advise
Today’s consumers are masters in self-education. Between 60% and 90% of the buyer’s journey is now self-guided, and both Forrester and Gartner have predicted that 80% of the buying process will take place without any direct human-to-human interaction by 2020. You can try to exploit this trend by ensuring there are plenty of opportunities for customer-based learning on all your communication channels. For example, providing webinars, videos, online user guides and even case studies can further customers’ understanding of how your services can be adopted and extended, helping you to create more valuable and stronger relationships.
- Create A Customer-Centric Culture
This last step essentially joins all the others together to establish a coherent path to customer satisfaction and loyalty across your whole organisation. Everyone within your business (not just those in customer-facing roles) needs to understand their contribution and impact on your customers’ experience. Fostering a positive, forward-looking, customer-centric culture may require training to secure buy-in from all teams.