Successfully maintaining a customer relationship is a key factor in growing your overall business. Why is that? Because it costs much less to retain an existing client than acquiring a new one. According to research by Harvard Business Review, improving customer retention rates by 5% can actually increase your business profits by 25% to 95%. And the opposite is true as well. Think of a business with no focus on customer retention as a Jenga tower: you hope to build it while knowing you’ll be losing key foundation pieces along the way. The results are inevitable. So let’s delve into what customer retention actually is, and what strategies you can employ to improve your own:
What is customer retention?
Customer retention refers to any action undertaken by a business in order to maintain and foster its relationships with existing clients. In concrete terms, it’s the science of making sure that customers are satisfied and will come back to spend more money on your products or services. Customer retention should be at the core of any sound business strategy, as maintaining your existing customers is faster and, on average, costs 5 times less than finding new ones (according to Invesp).
How to improve your customer retention
Here we’ll provide you with the best, most effective customer retention strategies that will help you grow your business.
01. Make it easy for people to reach you
When customers reach out to you, they usually want answers. And they want them fast. The best way to cater to your customers is to provide solutions on multiple channels. This way, you’re covering each and every one of the zones of contact you can have with your customers. This entails being able to respond to emails or phone calls, as well as being present on social media or live chat. Choosing a customer service software that you can trust to cater to your clients’ needs as best and efficiently is an important consideration. Wix’s own help desk software is created in such a way to provide support to customers from multiple channels all through one system. You can embed a handy widget into any part of your website to let customers access articles, tutorials, or your entire help center in just a click.
02. Provide quality customer service
Good customer service is one of the most important pillars of customer retention. A study by Kolsky shows that 66% customers switch brands due to bad customer service. So how exactly do you go about it? A key factor in providing excellent customer service is showing your customers that you are there for them by listening to their concerns. Frustrated customers want human interaction more than anything. If your customer service reps respond robotically, sticking to the support script, your users will perceive this extremely negatively. It’s important that your clients understand the person behind the screen is human, too.
In addition, excellent customer service starts with a robust help desk and the customer representatives behind it. When looking for customer representatives to join your team, make sure you prepare a thorough list of customer service interview questions and conduct conversations with prospective candidates. In addition, an in-depth customer support training should help new representatives understand the messaging, tools and techniques that your company employs. If you’re looking for more guidance, have a look at this informative article for more detailed list of customer service skills that any good representative should have.
03. Educate your clients
Education is a known marketing strategy in which a business shares extensive knowledge with the purpose of building trust with customers. And what does trust lead to? You’ve got that right: loyalty. If a customer is interested in purchasing your product or hiring your services, they surely want to know more about it and how to use it effectively. But instead of your customers coming to you for questions, why not let them help themselves? A knowledge base software can help you achieve your goals. It’s a sort of self-service tool in which users can solve issues without the help of an agent. This way you can lower the amount of support calls you receive and provide seamless support for your products and services. Use your own ticketing system to understand what your customers’ main concerns and question are, and create insightful and informative articles based on these topics. On top of this, your knowledge base can be turned into an internal educational platform, to make sure your support representatives are fully trained on your product and services. A win-win situation for all.
04. Create a community
Social media channels, forums and blogs are a great way to create a community around your brand. These channels give people a more direct communication line with your business, and allow you to connect and engage with your audience in a more eye-level and authentic way. Community is an active ingredient in user engagement as people feel they are part of something bigger. Engaged members tend to be more loyal to your brand, and can even become your best ambassadors, bringing more people to the group. All social channels are great community creators, so those are great places to start. In addition, having a blog on your business website is another channel for sharing information with your loyal subscribers. Anything from product updates, to user testimonials to ‘behind the scenes’ footage of the office are great ways to let your customers in on your company action.
05. Be transparent
In personal relationships, as well as business relations, transparency creates trust. A company that doesn’t willingly disclose information may seem like they’re trying to hide something. Therefore, instead of straying away from transparency, brands should embrace it and use it as a way to increase customer loyalty. For example, if you’re experiencing an ongoing issue, it’s better that people know about it straight away, rather than your users second-guessing your company, and ultimately leaving because of it.
06. Empower your customers
It’s no secret that reviews and testimonials help promote a brand’s credibility. But not only do they give your business a stamp of approval, they actually are able to improve conversion. Plus, if you know that 72% of consumers claim that positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more, you know what to do. Here are some great ways to empower your customers:
Let your customers add reviews on your business website to your product pages.
Share their stories on social media. At Wix, we love to empower our users by showing videos of their successful businesses.
Add testimonials to your website.
07. Personalize your customer experience
In recent years, personalization has become more of an expectation to clients, rather than a requirement or request. Research shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. This is why adding the personal touch across all of your channels can help keep your customers involved in your business. Everything that can be personalized, from the way you offer support to customers, to your email marketing and the way you package your products can help you achieve better customer retention.
08. (Proactively) find the feedback
Possibly the best way to understand your product’s strengths and weaknesses is to speak directly with your customers. They are the key to understanding your product as thoroughly as possible. Improving your offering will ultimately make your customers stick to you. How do you go about it? One way could be to initiate a customer survey. A second option would be to arrange a feedback session over the phone with a user that is willing to help. There are actually more than 10 different ways to get data from your clients - all with their own pros and cons. This guide will lead you through the journey of asking valuable feedback from your customers. This will also let users understand that they are an important part of the process, and your company.
09. Quality over speed
It might sound counterintuitive, but research found that customers appreciate quality customer service over the speed at which it is served. Providing your customers with an optimal help desk solution is also a key factor. By offering them a complete solution, they’ll be able to choose the right kind of information they are requesting. For example: an in-depth knowledge base article can often be the solution to a customer query. This way, a frustrated customer doesn’t need to spend more time on hold. Another crucial item you may be overlooking, is making sure that your company hires the right representatives. Onboarding and training will also play a big role in the quality of the service your reps provide.
10. Offer incentives
It’s true. People just love free stuff. And discounts. Occasional sales and offering coupon codes are a great way of keeping your customers satisfied. But, actually people tend to appreciate free small gestures better than perks, as they appear to be more genuine and personalized. So think of creative ways to incentivize your customers. You can share their stories on social media, organize contests or even interview them for your blog. In many cases, people don’t necessarily want money. Sometimes the free exposure can be a wish come true, or just a sign of appreciation.
11. Keep your team customer-centric
It’s important that everyone on your team understands your customers as much as possible. Why? Having a customer oriented team will be extremely beneficial to your product production process as well as your marketing style. Understand your audience will help you form better products which will keep your customers coming back for more. From product, to marketing and sales, have all of your team members listen in on client calls, inspect tickets in your ticketing system, and conduct surveys with your existing customer base.
12. Turn complaints into opportunities
As we’ve mentioned before your customers are the key to understanding your products and services the best. A great deal of information can actually be found in tickets. Within your ticketing management system, find the top feature requests or complaints that users are sending you. Maybe a feature request can turn into reality? Use these to improve on your product or services. Once you’ve done so, notify users and your customers will be forever thankful and appreciative of your efforts.
13. Market wisely
Long gone are the days are stiff sales reps cold calling you at home or at the office. Businesses competing for customer attention need to adapt to an ever-evolving online world. This is why choosing the right marketing channels are key to connecting with your audience. Is your audience on social media? Or are they subscribed to your blog? Choosing the right outlet will make it possible for you to be engaged with your audience on a regular basis. Email marketing can also be a great way to connect with your audience, although try not to spam your customers. No one like that. In addition, the language used in marketing is crucial when trying to connect and retain clients. It’s know that customers feel more inclined to stay with a company that they perceive as engaging, friendly, and provide unique content. This is why speaking your client’s language is a good way to convey this message. Do your customers enjoy a more professional approach? Or do they like to be spoken to on an eye to eye level? Knowing this will help you shape your messaging strategy and will keep users connected for longer.
14. Share your values
Research found that of those consumers who said they had a strong relationship
with a brand, 64 percent cited shared values as the primary reason. But how do you show that you share the same values? In order to build relationships, clearly communicate your brand’s mission and vision to your customers. For example, for every pair of TOMS shoes bought, another pair is given to someone in need. The social and charitable work that is done in partnerships with multiple channels, is something that resonates with buyers, and therefore they will always have a positive purchasing experience.
There are many ways to improve customer retention, but there are certainly no magic formulas. Your product as well as your customer service experience will be the main factors that will stand the test of time of your customer loyalty. Customer relationships need to be invested in and nurtured. Hopefully, these customer retention strategies will offer a fresh perspective for you and your business.
Looking for a system to retain your customers? Try the best customer service software!