Converting a new customer is certainly very exciting. However, many businesses make the mistake of overlooking the valuable customers they already have and focus most of their marketing efforts on acquisition rather than retention. According to Harvard Business Review statistics, it’s nearly 7 times less expensive to retain an existing customer than to gain a new one.
Customer retention is not only cost-effective, but also a great branding exercise to delight your customers so that they become your brand ambassadors – if they like you, they’ll refer others to you, and free advertising from a satisfied customer is one of the most powerful marketing tools around.
Here are 7 ways to keep your customers engaged and satisfied:
1. Stay in touch and encourage their interaction.
Customers need to know you’re there and know you care. While it can be challenging knowing how to strike the right balance between keeping customers informed and crowding their inboxes, it’s important to remember that statistics indicate it usually takes a minimum of 5 touches before a potential customer will make a purchase, and 3 interactions for an existing customer to do so.
Alert your customers to promotions, rewards programs, product updates, and any other content you think they’ll find interesting and relevant. Ask people to share their stories or hold contests to encourage engagement. Stay a step ahead by anticipating future challenges they may have and suggesting new solutions. If you haven’t heard from particular customers in a while, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Even if your efforts don’t result in immediate sales, they’ll go a long way toward keeping your brand first in your customers’ minds.
Keeping up with your customers means you have to ensure you have lots of data on them in order to keep them engaged, and you need to be able to deploy that data in agile ways throughout your entire ecosystem. Group FiO’s Customer Data Platform can help you establish a central repository of truth throughout your enterprise that can be used to maximize your marketing efforts and budget and ensure you’re reaching customers with the right offers and engagement at the right time.
2. Make the most of social media.
Social networks are extremely useful in maintaining customer contact after the initial sale. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer great opportunities to engage your customers and build trust by showing the personal side of your business, presenting special offers as a reward for following and engaging with your profiles, and announcing new products or services.
Monitor your customers’ opinions, interests, and motivations using social media. Pinpoint and reward your most loyal customers. Make efforts to change negative perceptions other followers may have by providing great customer service. Consumers often turn to social media platforms to ask questions, register complaints, and resolve product issues. Take advantage of it to show how your brand is listening and cares about your customers. Ensure you respond quickly and resolve issues with a demonstrated commitment to customer service. Studies indicate that a complaint, handled with care and resolved quickly, can actually make customers more loyal than had they never had a complaint. So turn a positive into a negative whenever you can.
3. Get Hyper Personal.
Many customers place as much value on the quality of your service – friendliness, comfort, and familiarity – as they do on the quality of your product. Remember that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Make your business a friendly and accommodating partner in your customers’ eyes. For starters, try to customize your offers around actual customer behavior via analytics rather than trying to make predictions based on general demographics, or your personal perceptions. Recognize loyal customers by name. Show appreciation with coupons, special offers, sneak previews or thank you notes. Invite them to forums or ask for feedback to let them know that you value their opinions.
Achieving these ventures can be difficult, however, if you don’t have a comprehensive data platform that gives you the data needed to personalize your communication and marketing efforts to your existing customer base. Keeping track of personalized details like purchase history can allow you to utilize modern-day tech tools like Predictive Analytics to suggest future purchases and can keep your customers engaged in your sales funnel. A solid Customer Data Platform like Group FiO’s can also ensure you communicate using your customers’ preferred methods, provide them with highly targeted offers, and notify them of product launches and opportunities germane to their specific needs. By demonstrating a deep knowledge of what your customers want and how they wanted to be engaged, you have a much better chance of keeping them loyal to your brand.
4. Problem solve.
When customers have problems, make sure they can speak with a real, sympathetic person, ideally in person or by phone. Even in our digital world, people like to communicate with other people. This desire is so strong that 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent on the telephone or an online chat. Referring already frustrated customers to an FAQ page or an email contact form will most likely make the situation worse. Empower your employees to fix problems when they arise. Employees who are kept well-informed and have access to believe that they can make a difference will be more motivated to care and take responsibility.
By giving all of your department access to a “central repository of truth” for customers like Group FiO’s Customer Data Platform, you provide them with universal insight into the customer’s individual journey with the brand. By keeping a complete record of a single customer’s experience with your brand, you provide the tools and intel needed to provide the highest level of customer service, a level that will become synonymous with your customer base.
5. Take responsibility.
Your brand is only as good as the reputation behind it. When problems arise, admit to your mistakes and apologize if necessary. Honesty demonstrates authenticity. It also lets customers see that you’re willing to correct faulty processes and prevent future mistakes.
6. Keep a good time.
A survey of consumers revealed that 24 hours or less is widely considered an acceptable email response time. Make sure your customer support actions are consistent with the brand image you want to convey, as well as your customers’ expectations. If you market a product or service to improve system performance, for instance, don’t take too long to respond to customer dilemmas.
7. Bow out gracefully.
According to stats, 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a business because of poor customer service. It’s never easy to lose a customer – but if the result is unavoidable, always end the relationship on a good note. Remember, how you handle a customer’s departure can determine whether they’ll give you another chance down the road or disappear entirely and leave you with a bad review. The bottom line? Never underestimate the value of effective customer retention strategies. Maintaining a positive brand experience is crucial to a productive customer relationship and greater ROI. If you’re new to the benefits of a robust Customer Data or Customer Loyalty Platform, Group FiO can help! Contact us TODAY to find out more information about how utilizing tools like zero-and first-party data can help you achieve record customer retention goals.