Customer Retention Gets Tough. Here’s How to Deal With It
If you want your business to succeed, it’s not enough to just bring in new customers over and over again. Yes, new customers are always needed, but if you’re not retaining the customers that you already have, you’ll always be working from a marked disadvantage.
That has always been true, but in 2020 it is more true than ever before.
A whopping 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. So keeping your customers happy and coming back for more is absolutely vital to your continued success.
But customer retention isn’t easy. With competitors constantly trying to outdo you and steal your customers away, you’ve got to constantly be on top of your retention efforts, or you risk a mass exodus.
In this article, we’re going to arm you with a number of tips and tricks that will help you retain your customers for years to come, creating a steady stream of reliable revenue that will keep your company in the black.
Why is Customer Retention Important?
You know that retention is important, but how important is it really?
The world economy is in shambles as the world reels from the impact of COVID-19, which means that people aren’t going out and spending money. Consumers are not taking chances when they don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from.
As such, the already arduous task of generating new business has become even harder. But if you’ve managed to retain the customers that you already have, you’ll be working at less of a disadvantage. Customer retention allows you to future proof your business.
Another hurdle is that customer acquisition in today’s climate is incredibly expensive.
Customer acquisition costs for both the B2B and B2C sectors have gone up by almost 50% in the last five years.
So if your customer base is a revolving door, and you’re constantly having to replace old customers who have abandoned you, it’s going to be harder to generate a profit. At a time in which businesses are struggling with reduced revenue, those acquisition costs are going to be even more of a financial burden, pushing you ever deeper into the red.
When dealing with a brand new prospect, you have between a 5% and 20% chance of closing a sale. But, when you’re selling to someone that has already bought from you in the past, that chance goes up to 60% to 70%.
Now for the cherry on top. Customers are actually proven to spend more on brands that they are loyal to. According to Fundera, 43% of customers will open their wallets more for a company they feel a sense of loyalty for. Loyalty and security are two of the main driving factors which could lead to people spending money during uncertain economic times.
If they know that the company they’re doing business with produces quality work with value, they’re more likely to make a purchase than someone who sees your business as an unknown gamble.
So, to review:
- It is more cost-effective to retain customers
- It is easier to sell to existing customers
- Loyal repeat customers actually spend more money and are more likely to spend money during the economic downtime we’re currently experiencing
Now that you’re seeing dollar signs around customer retention, let’s focus on how to establish customer loyalty.
Understand Your Audience
If you’re going to successfully hold onto customers, you first have to understand them.
- Who they are
- How old they are
- What they do
- What they like
- Where they live
- How they interact with the internet
- And so much more.
You need to make sure that you’re up to date with all of the latest internet statistics so that you can ensure that you’re appealing to the sensibilities and preferences of your specific audience.
For example, 51.5% of global internet traffic in 2019 was via mobile devices. That’s up from 2009 where only 0.7% of internet traffic came from mobile. You can leverage that information into action. Clearly more people are using the internet via mobile platforms, so you should focus at least half of your retention efforts on mobile internet users that fall within your customer profiles.
For support professionals, it’s incredibly important to understand the needs of a target audience. Most notably, you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand the pain points that they have. It’s also vital that you understand how the current economic climate is impacting these demographics.
If you’re marketing to urban communities in Florida, for instance, where COVID-19 cases are exploding, you’re going to have to take that into account when trying to retain your customers.
When you intimately know the sensibilities of your demographic, you’re able to better respond to their issues in a way that isn’t going to drive them off.
If you’re selling a tech-based product and you know that your audience is not made up of tech professionals, it’s never a good idea to come at them with technical jargon or assume that they know what they’re doing.
On the other side of the coin, if you are dealing with tech professionals, giving them a walkthrough on how to turn on their computer is going to frustrate them.
By developing a series of well thought out customer profiles, you’re going to be able to better serve your existing customers and ensure their continued loyalty well into the future.
Streamline the Sales and Support Processes
Interacting with your company and making repeat purchases needs to be simple. If it’s even a little bit difficult, your customers are going to start looking elsewhere.
In order to keep customers coming back, you’re going to have to optimize landing pages. This landing page from elemental labs is a prime example.
The benefits of the product are clearly outlined, with all of the various different options outlined below. The return customer can review the benefits and then make an informed decision.
Product pages also have to be optimized. Below you’ll find another good example from LFA.
You have the price up top with a CTA button right next to it. Below that, you’ve got a plethora of product information that will answer whatever questions the returning prospect might have.
Optimized landing pages and product pages make reordering a snap, but you’re also going to have to communicate consistently.
When a customer makes their initial purchase, the sales department should not be done with them. It’s important to reach out to existing customers to try and gauge their satisfaction and inquire about additional purchases or upselling.
Automation tools, such as CRM or customer support helpdesk, can be quite helpful in these situations. With these tools, you will be able to segment your customer base, schedule touch emails, and calls, and ask for feedback, so you don’t miss out on crucial post-purchase engagement.
These tools will also come in handy for your support staff. Customers will abandon you in droves if your support team isn’t stellar or if there is a significant drop in customer experience after purchase. When customers contact you with support related issues, they expect those problems to be solved quickly and efficiently.
With a helpdesk, you’re able to take notes on every interaction you have with a customer and provide better service by reviewing a customer’s entire interaction history before taking their call.
If this is a repeat issue, you can see what has and has not been done in the past and provide a more complete and satisfying support experience that will keep them coming back.
Create Content That Adds Value to Your Customers’ Lives
Content creation is vital when trying to retain customers. But it has to be content that adds value¹ to your customers’ lives.
It’s also important to remember that what was once valuable to a customer might not be anymore. In the midst of a global pandemic and economic crash, the priorities of your customers might have shifted. If so, then you’re going to have to adapt in order to continue meeting their needs.
When trying to attract new customers, you might take to guest blogging² to put your content out to the masses. But when you’re trying to retain customers, it makes more sense to include high-quality content in places where they can find it.
Obviously, you should be producing high-quality blog content that adds value to a customer’s overall experience with your company.
From a support perspective, it’s important to have a strong knowledge base that your customers can peruse without ever having to call in for help. By providing this content at no cost, you’re giving a valuable service that will keep your customers satisfied and prevent them from wandering over to a competitor.
Your knowledge base should consist of both written and visual content. You might want to create a whole page of your knowledge base section to highlight how your company is adapting in the wake of current events as a way of ensuring your existing customers that the level of service they’ve come to expect from you will remain the same.
Consider infographics, video tutorials, and even helpful animations that can walk your customers through whatever issues they’re having.
Animations are one of the more effective means of attracting and retaining the attention of repeat customers because it allows you more creative flexibility. It’s also more cost-effective than custom filming.
Engage Your Audience
You have to engage your audience in order to develop a sense of brand loyalty. Make sure that you’re replying to comments on social media, taking questions, and reaching out in order to ensure that the service you’re providing is the best that it can be.
You might want to consider starting a podcast.
As long as you have a passion for your topic and a deep knowledge base, you can establish customer trust through regular podcast episodes, as the above quote states.
When working with a podcast, you can take questions on social media and then answer them personally on the air. Not only does this show your audience that you’re hearing and responding to their concerns, but it’s also an amazing way to direct attention and downloads to your podcast.
Never underestimate how much people like to hear their names and words read aloud on a show they enjoy.
Also, while people are stuck inside and social distancing, they’re more hungry than ever for content. Producing something like a podcast or web video series can generate more attention now than it might have eight months ago when your audience had a lot more to focus on.
If you’re not engaging your customers enough, more than half of them will consider dropping your services.
The old adage of “It’s not personal, it’s just business” doesn’t really hold true outside of The Godfather. People are influenced by their emotions when it comes to the companies that they do business with.
When you actively engage with your audience, it builds emotional bonds that keep them coming back well into the future.
Offer Giveaways, Discounts, and Loyalty Programs
It’s always a great idea to reward customer loyalty.
After all, you’re obviously grateful for your repeat customers. It’s time that you let them know in a way that positively impacts their customer experience.
Make sure that you organize special giveaways for some of your top or most profitable customers. Really put your all into these giveaways so that they seem special. Design a special limited graphic for it, promote it along social channels, you could even write about it in your blog or talk about it on your podcast.
It’s also a great idea to offer discounts regularly to some of your more frequent fliers. These can be communicated directly through email campaigns.
Medical Alert Buyer’s Guide crafted a short article that helps seniors in the AARP find the right medical alert system for their specific needs and budget. This helpful step establishes trust by imparting important information while simultaneously pushing products to new and repeat customers alike.
Send out special coupons. Let them know that this offer is just for them in gratitude for the loyalty they’ve shown as a valued customer. With the economy breaking into pieces, your audience could see special discounts and rewards for their loyalty as even more of a service. This would, in turn, inspire even more loyalty from them going forward.
Consider a loyalty program with some form of gamification built-in. People love competing and winning prizes. Gamification is also a growing trend in business, with more than 56% of loyalty programs implementing some game mechanics.
Sources have also stated that up to 70% of customers will recommend your company to a friend or colleague if they are happy with your loyalty program.
That’s because loyalty programs make customers feel special, and that in turn makes them more loyal than ever.
Loyal customers who come back for more are the bread and butter of any modern business. And when the economic state of the world is in constant flux, it’s important to make good use of that existing customer pool.
As such, you have to do a lot of work to increase your customer retention rates and keep those people coming back.
Implement these vital customer retention steps, and you can take comfort in a strong customer base that is supplemented by new incoming buyers who have the potential to become loyal repeat customers themselves.