Customer retention should be front of mind for businesses large or small, not least because it’s easier to retain customers than to acquire new ones, and typically profit is much greater from a customer’s lifetime value than from a single transaction.
Acquisition will always be necessary to replace natural drop off, however customer retention should play the leading role in your business growth (or survival) strategy. Here are some ideas that might help your retention;
Before dedicating resources to acquisition, wake up your dormant customers who will be receptive to your attempts to regenerate their business if you approach them the right way, with the right offer.
A happy customer may still wonder, therefore be proactive and maintain regular communication. Don’t let a subscription expire without a reminder, invest in converting a one-off visitor into a loyal customer and have a clear lead nurturing system in place. Don’t allow warm contacts to chill and incentivise your customers to show loyalty.
Customers love to have their say, explore ways to get them involved, invite them to help define new products or services or to improve or enhance existing ones. Build a community, a user forum or a place where the most loyal customers have a voice and gain some recognition in the process. Treat them like stakeholders, listen to them, learn what they want and need, respond and make a direct difference – create a culture that proves how much your business needs them.
Evolve your loyalty by segmenting your customers and delivering targeted offers. Encourage your infrequent customers to visit more often and your regular customers to involve the family and spread the word.
It’s common practice to try to build a profile for your loyal customers, gain every last bit of information about them, but is this really necessary? Providing the option to checkout as a guest by collecting the least amount of data possible may be enough to attract them back for more as the process is quick and simple.
Not every customer journey is plain sailing, it’s inevitable that problems will occur, but deal with them face on and gain credit for doing so. Some of your dissatisfied customers won’t complain, they don’t know how or don’t believe it will make a difference, so encourage feedback and interaction, make it easy for them, see their complaint as a gift of free advice that you can learn from.
Be transparent, responsive and demonstrate your professionalism dealing with negativity online and socially, don’t hide.
Be sure you are making the most from your existing and past client relationships before beginning the customer acquisition journey.