Get customers to love you rather than leave you
Get customers to love you, not leave you: How to Increase Loyalty and Retention.
There’s lots of statistics that show it costs much less money to keep an existing customer rather than obtain a new one. This makes me think of shampoo. Hear me out.
I go to the store and pick out the most familiar bottle that I know works. Maybe for you it’s shaving cream or a bar of soap. In any case, I’m much more likely to use what I’m used to rather than change what I’m doing. If there’s a big sale, I might be swayed to try something new. Or maybe if one of my friends recommends a great new brand they’ve tried. But other than that, if I’m using a product I’ll probably stick to it.
Unless something goes horribly wrong and I switch. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about shampoo or Estate Agents. If I’m happy, I’m more likely to stay. That’s customer retention – continuing to use a product or a service. As you can probably figure out from the shampoo example, it’s obvious why it takes less effort for customer retention than acquisition(like getting me to use a new shampoo).
But, what if I’m not happy and haven’t taken the step to change my brand yet. Then a better product or service comes along…and it’s time to say “so long”. According to American Express, about one third of customers stated that experiencing poor customer service just once would make them want to switch credit card providers. When a customer isn’t happy, it’s easy to lose them.
Talk to your Customers
Enter a customer retention strategy. When figuring out how to keep customers, it’s common to analyse churn – the rate of people leaving. And in order to understand why they’re leaving, there needs to be customer feedback. This means surveys. If you have the time or staff you could contact customers by phone.
But for most small businesses, getting customer feedback looks like an email campaign. You can also get customer feedback from reviews, live chat, and on social media. It’s important to gather both quantitative and qualitative data in order to get a good picture of what’s going on.
The Customer is Always Right
It’s so simple, yet so often neglected. Customers want good service. Vonage, a communications provider, found that customers switch brands because they didn’t feel appreciated. This means in order to increase retention you need to treat people well. Fancy that.
It might take a lot of intellectual honesty in order to admit there’s something amiss with your customer service. But investing the time and money to fix these issues is much more likely to pay off in the long run.
Just remember, it costs much less to keep a customer than to gain a new one. Also, dissatisfied customers are likely to leave a negative review. That can have a detrimental impact when obtaining new customers.
For small businesses it might be too costly to have a full customer service team. What can help though, is a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that has support tickets. This way, if customers can’t get through for help by phone, there’s an alternate way for them to be heard.
In addition, using messaging apps is a relatively new and growing method for interacting with customers. For example, if you’re using Facebook as part of your social media strategy, then you can have a WhatsApp business account linked to it. This allows you to exchange direct messaging with customers and provides an opportunity for voice calls straight from the app.
Content is Good for your Customers
You might be using content marketing to get new business. <insert internal link to article for content marketing>. Well, it turns out that content is also good at keeping your current customers happy.
When you consistently deliver valuable information then it strengthens your relationship. It’s an opportunity to maintain interest and get your customers to engage regularly. Find out what content they would appreciate most and cater your retention strategy to fulfill these needs.
Create a Community
Having an online community can make a big difference with keeping your current customers happy. It’s a great place to share your content and provide a platform for conversations regarding your products or services.
You can use a community to gain insights for improvement and quickly address potential issues. It’s an opportunity for your customers to individually contribute and feel a connection with your brand.
Customer retention programs
You’re probably familiar with these programs from larger brands. Some of the common types of customer retention programs are:
1) Onboarding: ensuring a smooth experience adopting a new product or service so that customers will use it successfully
2) Loyalty Rewards: rewarding repeat customers with incentives
3) Customer Advisory Board: getting the direct input of customers to help steer business decisions
4) Social Responsibility Program: giving back to the community to engage customers and identify with their values
Although customer retention programs would be more robust for larger businesses, you can use similar ideas in a scaled-down version. For example, you might not have an extravagant rewards program with points and free airline tickets. But, you can offer a coupon to customers for repeat business.
The Ultimate Goal: A Happy Customer Sells for You
When it comes down to it, the sales cycle doesn’t end when you get new business. Instead, the ultimate goal is to create a happy – and loyal – customer. Even after making sales, continue to nurture the relationship.
Get customer feedback, make customers feel appreciated, provide ongoing value, create a community and use retention programs. Aim to grow a dedicated group of customers. And they’ll be eager to sing your praises.
for your business
(not anybody else’s)