10 Ways to Improve Customer Retention

Posted by Alayna Frankenberry on Mar 30, 2017

 “Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company.”       – Michael LeBoeuf

Acquiring a new customer can cost up to 25 times more than retaining an existing one. Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can boost profits by up to 95%. Considering these statistics, it’s no wonder that the most successful companies make building customer loyalty a top priority.

Offering high quality products and services at competitive prices isn’t enough. In order to improve customer retention rates, business leaders need innovative strategies. Are you looking for ways to breathe new life into your customer retention efforts? Gain some inspiration from these loyalty building methods.

Build Trust to Raise Retention Rates

Trust is powerful. Not only will 82% of customers stick with a brand they trust—83% of them will recommend that brand to their friends. But building trust isn’t a one-step process. Establishing and maintaining a trustworthy image takes time and effort. Here are a few ways to earn and keep the trust of consumers:

customer retention1. Offer Multiple Payment Options

73% of online consumers want different payment options when making a purchase. Making these options available so they can choose the one they feel most comfortable with is a great, easy way to build trust.

2. Peel Back the Curtain

Use social media to show consumers what happens behind the scenes. Use Facebook Live to broadcast a new product launch or share snapshots from company headquarters on Snapchat. Allow the personality of your brand and employees to shine through and consumers will feel like they know and trust your company on a personal level.

3. Create Seamless Campaigns

Establishing trust in the marketplace is nearly impossible without a clear and consistent brand image. Use customizable marketing templates to create cohesive campaigns that can be distributed across all channels, from social media to direct mail.

4. Perform Regular Site Audits

When was the last time you visited each page of your company’s website? Broken links and images could be damaging your credibility. Make it a priority to regularly audit your website to uncover issues. Digital tools like SEMrush make the process simple, so there’s no excuse not to put your best face forward online.

See how the world’s top luxury retailers build brand loyalty.

Boost Customer Retention Through Personalization

Seth Godin once said, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Experts like Godin know that a solid sales and marketing strategy always centers around the customer. To retain and refine that focus, personalization is key. Here are a few ways brand managers can leverage personalization to grow customer retention rates:


5. Personalize Loyalty Programs

How do customers experience your loyalty program? The answer should vary depending on the customer. Some customers may love an annual discount during their birthday month. Others may love the thrill of accruing points and earning rewards. Offer multiple options for customers and you’ll see higher engagement rates and create a loyalty program that actually builds loyalty.

customer retention data6. Make the Most of Customer Data

Today, consumers engage with brands on social media, through e-commerce, and in brick and mortar locations. Gathering and compiling data on those interactions can help marketing managers spot patterns and tailor the shopping experience to each unique customer. Connecting those experiences is much easier when customers use membership cards to earn rewards.

7. Create a Connection Through Handwritten Notes

Personalization isn’t just about tailoring offerings to your customer’s interests. It’s also about creating a human connection. There’s no better way to do that than with digitally handwritten notes. While your CEO may not have the time (or hand strength) to pen thousands of personal notes every day, creating that connection is possible through services like Simply Written. Digital handwriting can even replicate the personal writing style of a CEO or brand ambassador to make postcards, holiday greetings, and other print collateral truly unique.
 
Designing notes with digital handwriting is fun and easy.  Get started here.
 

For Higher Retention Rates Provide More Than a Product

The most engaging brands attract, convert, and retain customers using more than just products. The added value they offer consumers builds loyalty and keeps them connected even when they aren’t actively making a purchase. Try these strategies to strengthen that connection:

8. Educate Consumers as an Industry Expert

The content you provide to customers shouldn’t focus solely on selling your products. To create a lasting connection and boost customer retention, provide them with insider knowledge. For a clothing company, this could mean creating a series of blog posts about how to wear the latest styles. A landscaping company can send monthly newsletters that teaches subscribers how to maintain their lawns year-round.
 
Educating consumers does more than provide added value. It creates additional opportunities to stay connected with customers. Those connections have very real consequences. Research has found that brands which connect to customers more than ten times a year can see 300% more profits than those who don’t.

9.  Help Customers Build Social Capital

customer retentionMost brand managers know that higher retention rates come when customers are better able to connect to each other and feel a sense of community. Bill Lee, president of the Customer Reference Forum and Executive Director of the Summit on Customer Engagement recommends taking this idea further by helping customers build what he calls “social capital.” Here are two interesting strategies he’s shared to help make that happen:
  • Reward with reputation: Amazon designates top reviewers and even has a Reviewer Hall of Fame. The desire to earn this title doesn’t just lead to more reviews—it increases the quality of those reviews, engagement rates, and even sales for Amazon and its partners.
  • Create customer advisory boards: Microsoft created industry-specific advisory boards such as the Interoperability Executive Council or IEC. These boards are filled with top executives from around the world. Not only do these members feel more involved in Microsoft’s process, they also are more likely to act as brand evangelists and raise retention rates through their own recommendations.

10. Handle Complaints the Right Way

To boost retention rates, it’s important to remember that an unhappy customer isn’t a lost cause. 70% of complaining customers will do business with a company again if their issue is resolved. Of course, preventing issues before they arise is always a goal. However, at some point customer complaints will arise. When they do, it’s important to handle them the right way by following some simple rules:
  • Respond quickly. Set up Google alerts and continuously monitor social media accounts so you can identify and address issues as they arise.
  • Start with a Plan. Build a list of potential problems and have strategic guidelines on how to handle common types of issues so your team doesn’t have to “wing” it. Be sure to tailor each response to the sender and situation, but always have a plan to guide your responses.
  • Keep an eye on tone. Sarcasm has no place in customer satisfaction. Try to cultivate a tone that’s empathetic and genuine
  • Explain the journey. If you need to refer an unhappy customer to other employees or departments, keep them in the loop and explain why. This will prevent them from feeling like you’re simply avoiding them or “passing the buck.
  • Follow up after the resolution. Interaction with a dissatisfied customer shouldn’t end after their immediate issue is addressed. Follow up with them in a few days or a week to thank them for being a customer and ensure they don’t have additional questions or concerns.

As you continue to build your brand, keep customer retention at the top of your list of priorities. Remember the 80/20 rule: that 80% of your revenue is driven by the 20% of customers who remain loyal year after year. Loyal customers are your most valuable resource. Reward them for that loyalty and they’ll reward you with steady profits for decades to come.

Looking for more customer retention strategies?  Follow the Simply Written Blog.

Topics: Customer Loyalty, Customer Experience