Customer retention is a critical function for today’s enterprises, and for good reason: it costs less to retain an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one. Plus, repeat and loyal customers tend to spend more than first-time customers, and your most loyal customers often become brand ambassadors. There are many reasons to pursue customer retention.
If you’re looking to increase your customer retention rate to boost your company’s bottom line, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide including insights from customer retention experts and thought leaders on how customer retention helps businesses, the latest trends and statistics, the most effective customer retention tactics and strategies, and best practices for successful customer retention marketing campaigns.
Click a link below to jump to a specific section:
- Why You Need Customer Retention Marketing
- Customer Retention Marketing Tactics
- Customer Retention Marketing Trends and Predictions
- Implementing Effective Customer Retention Marketing Campaigns: Best Practices
1. Losing customers can stunt company growth. “The average business loses around 20 percent of its customers annually simply by failing to attend to customer relationships. In some industries this leakage is as high as 80 percent. The cost, in either case, is staggering, but few businesses truly understand the implications.
“Imagine two businesses, one that retains 90 percent of its customers, the other retaining 80 percent. If both add new customers at the rate of 20 percent per year, the first will have a 10 percent net growth in customers per year, while the other will have none. Over seven years, the first firm will virtually double, while the second will have no real growth. Everything else being equal, that 10-percent advantage in customer retention will result in a doubling of customers every seven years without doing anything else.” – 20 Customer Retention Strategies, Marketing Wizdom; Twitter: @marketingwizdom
2. Customer retention boosts profits. “Retention Marketing efforts have recently gained more traction. Consumers today have short attention spans and an excess of options, and marketers have had to adjust accordingly.
“This trend is beneficial: according to a study by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. What’s more, 82% of companies agree that retention is cheaper to execute than acquisition, according to an eConsultancy report.” – Jerry Jao, Customer Retention Is King: The Future Of Retention Marketing, Forbes; Twitter: @jerryjao
3. A low retention rate means you’ll be working harder on acquisition to make up for lost business. “A low retention rate is similar to filling a bucket with holes in the bottom — sure, you could keep piling on to make up for it, or you could figure out what caused the holes and how you can patch them up. Retaining customers costs less than acquiring them, and both add to your company’s bottom line; revenue doesn’t care where it comes from, earned or saved.” – Gregory Ciotti, 20 Customer Retention Strategies that Work, Help Scout; Twitter: @helpscout
4. It costs ten times as much to earn a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. “Studies show that it costs ten times more to generate a new customer than to maintain an existing one. If you have a small number of customers, losing a few could cripple your company. Even if you have a large number of customers, a small increase in your customer retention rate should dramatically increase your profits. In his book The Loyalty Effect, Fred Reichheld writes that ‘a 5% improvement in customer retention rates will yield between a 25 to 100% increase in profits across a wide range of industries.'” – Customer Retention Strategy, Marketing Mo; Twitter: @MarketingMo
5. Customer retention enables you to build on existing relationships without the cost of acquiring new customers. “We are in tough times. Most of us have limited funds for large marketing efforts but there are opportunities for all of us to make the most of what we already have, and position ourselves properly for future market events, whatever they may be.
“It is a great idea to consider whether you can build on your existing relationships. There are significant costs in finding new clients in the form of Marketing and Sales costs. Add to this the possibility that if you have a group of customers who buy from you repeatedly, they already know that they can work with you and they may well pass on the good news to further prospects! This has the double benefit of reduced marketing cost per customer and improved revenue.” – Why Customer Retention Is so Important?, Maximizer; Twitter: @MaximizerCRM
6. Longer relationships typically have lower account maintenance costs. “The downfall for many companies is that they don’t know how to keep customers. It seems this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and few firms find it. But why bother? What are the real advantages of customer retention?
“Studies across a number of industries have revealed that the cost of keeping an existing customer is around 10% of the cost of acquiring a new one. So, economically it makes pretty good sense. Putting together a good retention strategy will also lead to increased customer profitability, as the longer the relationship, the lower the account maintenance cost.” – Keeping customers – the importance of loyalty, Marketing Donut; Twitter: @MarketingDonut
7. Customer retention marketing efforts (specifically loyalty programs) can strengthen a positive customer experience. “According to Forbes, 79% of online shoppers will turn to a competitor if they experience poor customer service in the first week. That’s a fast way to lose a customer, right?
“At this stage, it’s not just about customer support, it’s also about the way you show your customers that you value them for making a purchase at your store. A loyalty program provides the perfect vehicle to do this. But how?
“Let’s take a little detour into the field of social-psychology.
“When customers see that they can collect points in exchange for purchases, their first thought is, ‘Wow, it’s so cool that I get something extra for my money besides the product I purchased!’
“This positive experience also invokes a desire to ‘return the favour,’ motivating shoppers to purchase from you again.” – Lilach Bullock, 5 reasons why you should have a customer loyalty program, Smart Insights; Twitter: @lilachbullock
8. Customer retention puts customer satisfaction at the forefront and promotes the development of long-term relationships. “Customer retention has many definitions because of the varying views. However, the most common of them, which carries the most weight, is that CRM is an technology-enabled business strategy. It is through this strategy the organization focuses on satisfaction, through the fostered customer issue/resolution behaviors and the practice of focused customer processes. This means that the outcomes become optimized in profitability revenue, and the satisfaction of the customer.
“Furthermore, the company has to have the philosophy and alignment for focused customer intimacy. When this happens, the mission of the business gives it the purpose aimed at long-term relationships with their customer base. Stating this, and how information technologies affect this, is with the customers information within a database the sales team can access it to find better solutions to fit the needs of the customer, and generate leads from the information about similar customers already working within the framework of the company.” – Dick Wooden, Why Businesses need Customer Retention Programs, Success with CRM Consulting, Inc.; Twitter: @successwithcrm
9. True loyalty is a highly effective tactic for reducing costs and growing revenue. “Forrester analysts found customer loyalty programs aren’t creating loyal customers. Their research ‘shows that great customer experience correlates to loyalty metrics like retention, enrichment and advocacy’ but that current ‘transactional benefits are more about increasing frequency and spend than influencing emotional loyalty and devotion.’ Simply put: We’ve focused more on gamey point programs than how great experiences make a customer feel about a company.
“During the ‘Age of the Customer,’ true loyalty is an unbeatable tactic to mitigate risk, grow revenue, and reduce costs. The universality of mobile (and the internet generally) allow empowered customers to greatly erode a company’s brand reputation in a matter of days. Rewards points will not aid a company that has reputational risks or stiff competition in the marketplace. By contrast, 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience, and 83% of consumers need some degree of support when purchasing. It is now savvy to treat customer service like a valuable loyalty and acquisition tool.” – Devin, Why You Need True Customer Loyalty, HelpShift; Twitter: @helpshift
10. Customer retention enables you to get a clearer view of who your ideal customers really are. “One of the best things about high levels of customer retention is that you’re able to build a more nuanced view of who your customers really are. On one hand, this data is vital to your customer retention efforts and gives you the tools to create personalized and targeted promotions to maximize your chances of success.
“But, moreover, this will all assist you in your future acquisition efforts; you will know exactly what kind of people are most likely to become loyal customers — who they are, where they hang out online, what motivates them to buy and what kind of messaging they best respond to.
“On the flip side, if you neglect your customers, this represents an incentive for them to shop with your competitors. Statistics show 61% of consumers take their business to a competitor when they end a business relationship, which is why retention is vital to the success and growth of your company.
“By implementing the best possible customer retention plan for your business, you can set yourself apart from your competitors. Let’s be honest: who doesn’t want the reputation of being a business that takes care of its customers? It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this kind of brand profile.” – 5 Reasons why Customer Retention is better than Customer Acquisition, Wheelhouse Advisors; Twitter: @WheelhouseBiz
11. Companies with high customer retention rates grow faster compared to those with low retention rates. “Good customer retention is vital to any organization because a slight reduction (5%) in the customer defection rate has a disproportionately positive effect on profitability (depending on the cost of acquisition, ranging between 25 and 80%!). Companies with high retention also grow faster. However, customers can only be retained if they are loyal and motivated to resist competition. When customers are merely satisfied with the service they receive they may still ‘walk.’ Your customer retention management relies on the combination of the following:
- High satisfaction with product performance and customer service.
- High intention to continue to do business with you.
- High willingness to recommend you to others.
“(High means the top-box score [typically of a five-point scale] in quantitative measurements)
“There are two components of customer retention. Both need to be pursued.
- Customer satisfaction.
- Systematic and proactive customer relationship management.” – Eric Fraterman, Improving Customer Retention Is Vital To Profitability And Growth, Customer Focus Consulting
12. Loyal customers become brand ambassadors. “Loyal customers are more than just people who you can rely on to keep spending money with your company. They can become brand ambassadors who direct new business your way. According to this study, consumer reviews and word of mouth are still the most powerful forms of marketing. Up to 92 percent of consumers trust peer reviews more than they trust marketing.” – David Galic, Why Your Business Needs to Focus on Customer Retention, Humanity; Twitter: @HumanityApp
13. Emails aren’t only useful for promoting products; they’re also powerful retention tools. “Many of you are likely already using email marketing to sell your products, but likely not doing it with a retention marketing mentality. Instead of using email to showcase your latest products and sales, strategically use it to encourage past customers to come back and shop again.
“For example, if you know your average time between purchases, you can segment your customers based on last purchase date. If customers have gone longer than the average time without purchasing, you can give them an extra nudge to come back and shop again.
“The best part of this tactic is you can use your current email service provider to send these retention emails, you just need to target segments of your audience.” – Alex McEachern, The 5 Best Retention Marketing Tactics for Your Online Store, Hubspot; Twitter: @alexmcea
14. Use gamification and referral programs. “The folks at MeUndies were tired of the struggle that comes with finding a great, comfortable pair of underwear. To back this up, they’ve fostered a strong culture and are very transparent with the process. They have an entire page dedicated to their factory (it’s beautiful by the way).
“Although this makes for great retention, our focus is on their clever referral program. Customers are encouraged from the moment they purchase to refer a friend, and the rewards are worth it: For every friend you refer you get $20 and they get 20% off their first purchase.” – Jenny Beightol, How Real Brands Are Retaining Customers: 8 Strategies From Starbucks, Amazon & More, Hubspot; Twitter: @jRoseBeezy
15. Offer discounts and credits to entice customers to return. “You want to be careful with discounting your products. For many ecommerce merchants, margins can be tight and if your customers become accustomed to discounting they may expect it all the time. However, discounting can also be a really effective trigger to bringing back customers that haven’t purchased in a while.
“You may also wish you experiment with offering credits to use at your store (i.e. $10 towards any purchase) versus a percentage discount (i.e. 10% off any purchase). The credits make the offer feel more tangible and makes the customer feel like they need to spend it, otherwise they are wasting money.
“Sending out discounts to dormant customers can either be done manually if you still have a relatively small customer list, or, it can be automated through email apps like Klaviyo discussed previously. ” – Richard Lazazzera, 7 Customer Retention Tactics to Get Current Ecommerce Customers to Purchase More, Shopify Blogs; Twitter: @Shopify
16. Provide exceptional customer service. “Buffer is an app designed to make it easier to schedule content to share on social media sites. It’s hardly the only player in this industry; in fact, it even faces competition from free alternatives. How does it differentiate itself from the crowd? It provides exceptional customer service.
“Buffer documents the progress of its satisfied customers in something called a Happiness Report. This report provides detailed statistics of how Buffer has helped its customers. Looking at January’s Happiness Report, we can see that 78 percent of people who emailed Buffer received a reply within just six hours.
“The happiness report keeps Buffer’s team members accountable, while letting its customers know just how seriously the company takes customer service.” – Charles E. Gaudet II, 5 Customer Retention Strategies to Boost Profits, OPEN Forum; Twitter: @charlesgaudet
17. Re-engage customers using automation. “Automation is allowing some of your routines to be handled automatically be a software. The most popular is ‘marketing automation.’
“Monitoring and keeping your customers abreast manually is time consuming.
“Because there are so many processes to be repeated daily, in order to keep your brand fresh in the customer’s mind.
“Truth be told, there are still challenges of marketing automation. The most obvious is the data quality and integration. Poor marketing process is also a big factor.” – Jamil Velji, 17 Awesome Customer Retention Strategies That Work, BuildFire; Twitter: @BuildFire
18. Turn customer complaints into opportunities. “Remember that in a retention-driven business, service is paramount. Complaints are an opportunity to engage with your customers, not an annoyance. Use the opportunity to resolve the problem fully and to thank them with additional services.” – Eric Siu, 10 Customer Retention Strategies That Supercharge Your Marketing, Entrepreneur; Twitter: @ericosiu
19. Regularly publishing quality content gives your customers a reason to return. “The best-practice strategy that practically everyone can recite (even if they can’t accomplish it) is that you should publish new content regularly. You do this to keep your website constantly updated and to add continuous value to your users’ experience, which should entice them back for more.
“Frequent content updates often come in the form of blog posts, but don’t let that stymie your creativity if you want to take a different route—FAQs, how-to guides, product demos, product reviews, video announcements, vlogs, podcasts, Google Analytics reports, and curated lists all make for great short form material.” – Steven Peters, Content Marketing for Customer Retention, Builtvisible; Twitter: @Builtvisible
20. Provide consistent customer service across all channels. “Brands still adjusting to the digital and social space might be less than well equipped to handle customer complaints that come in via their customer service outlets. To ease frustrated customers and improve your customer service in general, ensure your presence across all of your customer service outlets is as consistent as possible. If there are standard answers that reps are supposed to be giving for common problems, make sure that reps working across all platforms have that information. Also, make sure that reps across all platforms are courteous, polite and know the chain of command, should larger concerns crop up.” – Janelle Vreeland, The Importance of Customer Retention (and 3 Ways to Improve Yours), Sailthru; Twitter: @sailthru
21. Identify VIP customers who haven’t purchased anything in 6 months and reconnect with them. “The most obvious way to ensure customer retention is to prevent a customer from leaving.
“And if you pay attention, you can always see the signals of your customers impending departure. All you have to do is to identify the key variables such as purchase patterns, product usage and service calls – Capture the signals and then put specific actions in place to stop your customers before they leave.
“Let’s say you want to know how many of your VIP customers have not purchased anything in the last 6 months, which might be a sign of them considering your service or even bringing their money to your competitors.
“First, create a list of all of your VIP customers, and then create a list of all sales made within the last six months using your CRM software. By combining both of these lists, you end up with a list of VIP customers who haven’t purchased from you in more than half a year.
“You can now follow up with these VIP customers and find out the reasons why they were not purchasing and look to prevent them leaving your business, which, if you consider the 80/20 rule, this investment is bound to pay off!” – Toma Kulbytė, 5 Unique Ways to Increase Customer Retention, Super Office; Twitter: @SuperOfficeAS
22. Rethink your value proposition. “Why did your customer become a customer in the first place? You may not know the exact reason for every customer, but you can get a good sense of the reasons why by understanding your value proposition or unique selling proposition.
“I suggest that you take a look at that value proposition, because it forms of the core reason the customer started with you. Very likely, the reason they are still with you is because of the value you offer.
“If you’ve somehow gotten off center from your value proposition, make whatever changes are necessary to continue to offer that same great value to your client.” – Neil Patel, 27 SaaS Customer Retention Strategies You Need to Be Using Today, Crazy Egg; Twitter: @CrazyEgg
23. Increase the “stickiness” of your products. “One of the ways you can keep more customers is to make sure they are using your products or services. Product stickiness is the degree to which customers remember/need to use your product or service. The more they do, the more sticky it is.
“Product stickiness is the lifeblood of SaaS and app-making companies. However, it also can be applied to services or products.
“It would be hard to expect anyone to keep paying you if they don’t use your products. So your task is to either make your product indispensable or really hard to forget. For example, a mobile application can try to coax you into using it by sending you push notifications. Have you ever had a hard time to work because an app like Instagram was constantly letting you know that somebody did something fun and posted a photo? That’s product stickiness.
“To increase the stickiness of LiveChat, we encourage our customers to install our desktop apps. This way, LiveChat will start as soon as they turn on their computer and they will be ready to receive chats from customers immediately.” – Jacob Firuta, Customer Retention Strategies: How to Keep Your Customers, LiveChat; Twitter: @JFiruta
24. Keep your finger on the pulse of customer satisfaction continuously. “Satisfaction feedback is obtained from the individual customer at the time of product or service delivery (or shortly afterward)… and then periodically thereafter. Customer retention scores based on the satisfaction tracking surveys will provide flags and a management tracking tool to assure quality is at high levels over time.
“Customer Retention provides an understanding of customers’ expectations and satisfaction. Satisfaction surveys typically require multiple questions that address different dimensions of the satisfaction concept. Satisfaction measurement includes measures of overall satisfaction, satisfaction with individual product and service attributes, and satisfaction with the benefits of purchase. Retention measurement is like peeling away layers of an onion-each layer reveals yet another deeper layer, closer to the core.” – Customer Retention, Qualtrics; Twitter: @Qualtrics
25. Stay in touch with your audience on social media. “Connect with your existing customers on the social media channels they prefer. For instance, if you own a B2B business, you and your salespeople should connect with customers on LinkedIn, responding to their posts and sharing relevant information. For a B2C business, get customers to follow you on social media by focusing on the benefits they’ll receive — special offers, alerts on new products or services and invitations to events. Place social media icons prominently on your website and marketing emails so people can just click to follow you.” – Rieva Lesonsky, How to Get Better at Customer Retention, SCORE; Twitter: @SCOREMentors
26. Make every customer interaction count. “Deliver a great customer experience for prospects and existing customers. Sales expert and Zero-Time Selling author Andy Paul says that salespeople must bring value to prospects in every interaction. This also extends to your existing customer base! When your team keeps customer value in the forefront, you cultivate stronger customer relationships. If you’re engaging with customers, stop and think about what’s in it for them before you reach out – no matter what it’s about! This can take more time but what you can gain from it is invaluable.” – Micheline Nijmeh, 4 Ways to Improve Customer Retention in 2016, Salesforce Blog; Twitter: @Salesforce
27. Create experiences that are worth talking about. “Focus on making a lasting, positive impact with each and every customer so when they talk about your business on social media, online review sites, or in their circle of friends and family, their story is one you want to be seen and shared.
- Online: Create and share content that existing consumers find interesting, engaging and shareworthy. Offering helpful how-tos and tips related to your industry will reinforce your commitment and passion to your customers. For example: if you’re a plumber, advising customers on how to deal with seasonal changes, like dripping faucets in the winter to prevent freezing is helpful to your customers and builds your brand. Anything you can do to position yourself as the trusted authority in your industry will make you a valuable resource your customers will value, helping build customer loyalty and potential referral.
- Offline: Make a good impression from the get-go by delivering a solid product with excellent service each and every time a customer interacts with your business. Think of each customer interaction as a defining moment that will determine whether that customer comes back to you or tries a competitor the next time they need your services, or whether they write a positive or negative review online.” – Lindsay Paramore, 5 Tips for Using Social Media to Boost Customer Loyalty, ReachLocal; Twitter: @ReachLocal
28. In a survey of small business owners, more than one-fourth report that between 11-20% of first-time customers don’t return. “27% of small business owners estimate that 11-20% of first time customers don’t return to their business. Increasing the return rate of these first time customers would have a dramatic impact on revenue, which may be why customer loyalty programs have seen an increase in popularity and adoption over the last few years. 82% of respondents note that the purpose of their digital loyalty platform was to get customers to visit more often. The Pareto principle leads to the conclusion that 80% of revenue is generated by 20% of customers, so increasing the amount of times a single customer visits would prove incredibly valuable to a small business.” – Melanie Jucewicz, The State of Small Business Marketing in 2016: Marketing & Customer Retention Trends, Customer Insight Group, Inc.; Twitter: @sallieburnett
29. There’s a much higher probability of making a sale to an existing customer than a new one. “The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent.” – Matt Mansfield, CUSTOMER RETENTION STATISTICS – The Ultimate Collection for Small Business, Small Business Trends; Twitter: @smallbiztrends
30. Customer loyalty programs remain an important piece of the puzzle. “Marketers continue to pour more and more money and time into their programs, but they often aren’t getting the payoff they expect in long-term relationships, customer engagement and increases in sales and profitability. Consumers, likewise, often aren’t getting what they expect from loyalty programs. They know their data is valuable but feel that companies often miss the mark on creating relevant communications and personal experiences.
“COLLOQUY conducted a major survey of 2,000 U.S. and Canadian respondents in August and found that people still want to form real, long-term and emotional loyalty with the brands they trust. The good news: Consumers still see the value in loyalty programs; 55% of U.S. respondents said they had joined a loyalty program in the past year, for example, with 63% of millennial respondents having done so.” – Hard Lesson from New Research: Stop Chasing Members – You Have Enough Already!, COLLOQUY; Twitter: @colloquy
31. In fact, the majority of millennials, a key target audience for many companies, say they won’t be loyal to brands that lack solid customer loyalty programs. “Every marketer loves to win — and an often-used measure of success is new customer acquisition. It’s no wonder we spend so much time (and money!) trying to answer: What are the best channels, messages and timing to acquire and engage new customers?
“Though it will always be critical to fill the funnel, it’s equally important — and most would agree less expensive — to make sure your existing customers are happy. Of course, loyalty programs have been around for ages (toys in Happy Meals, buy-one-get-one-free perks, come-back coupons handed over following a purchase, or credit card points). But, customer loyalty programs and other retention tactics are as much about customer service as they are about rewards.
- 68% of millennials say they wouldn’t be loyal to a brand if it doesn’t have a good loyalty program.
- The top two reasons why consumers stop participating in a loyalty program are: the program did not provide offers that were of interest (56%), and it was too hard to earn points for rewards (54%).” – Rebecca Otis, Best Examples of Customer Loyalty and Retention Marketing, Salesforce Marketing Cloud; Twitter: @marketingcloud
32. Single-view technology will replace the marketing stack in 2017. “The old days of mass campaign emails pushed out through legacy marketing stacks are behind us now. According to McKinsey & Co., 83 percent of marketers identify that the ability to make data-guided decisions is one of the most important capabilities, but only 10 percent believe they are effective at feeding insights about customer behaviors back into the organization to improve performance.
“Measuring campaign success on whether or not an email was opened won’t cut it anymore. Companies need to have a single view of online and offline systems across multiple channels so that they can build single, operational profiles for each customer.
“2017 will pave the path for becoming more agile and making data real-time and actionable in the mobile-first world. Behavioral and transactional data and syncing individual profiles will be the only way to reach customers, not through campaigns built for large masses. Companies need to make sure to integrate their technologies to make their once siloed marketing stack more agile, real-time and actionable.” – Rachel Newton, 2017 Predictions for Mobile Marketing and Loyalty Trends, SocialTimes; Twitter: @SocialTimes
33. Customer retention in the B2B space is easily modeled and analyzed. “Every month, new tools emerge that can help with B2B customer retention, and skilled marketers know how to use them. By using the latest software tools, you can easily map how many customers reach the stage of making a final purchase, and where others decide to abandon their ‘customer journey’. With that information, savvy firms are perfecting their strategies, and you should do the same.” – Jason Rainbird, 7 Trends You May Have Missed About B2B Customer Retention, Flowbird; Twitter: @flowbirdltd
34. Creating better customer experiences is a priority for many businesses. “Churn is closely tied to customer satisfaction, and for obvious reasons. Unhappy customers are more likely to leave, and when they do, they take a piece of your business with them. More and more, companies are recognizing just how much customer happiness impacts revenue, and they’re focusing on transforming their customer experience to meet modern expectations.
“In fact, last year businesses ranked “create better customer experiences” as their #2 priority for new technology investments, right behind “grow revenue.” There’s a reason companies are pouring funds into improving their customer experience. It doesn’t just impact customer loyalty, which saves companies money and drives referrals. A great customer experience is a major competitive advantage that drives new sales—and it’s predicted to overtake price and product as the primary brand differentiator for B2B sales by 2020.” – Chris Boeckelman, 40 Customer Retention Statistics You Need to Know, Business 2 Community; Twitter: @cboeck
35. Utilize positive social proof. “While negative social proof (‘Nearly 90 percent of websites don’t use heat mapping software!’) has been proven to dissuade customers rather than encourage them, numerous studies on customer motivation have shown that positive social proof (‘Join 20,000 of your peers!’) is often the most effective strategy for getting people to listen.” – Greg Ciotti, 15 Important Tips To Help You Keep Your Customers, Convince & Convert; Twitter: @convince
36. Be accessible. “Accessibility plays a critical role in the customer retention process. Regardless of the industry you are in, you need to ensure that your customers have a means of reaching your company if they have questions or need to make a purchase. Telephone accessibility is particularly important. Results of a 2016 survey of 1,200 adults by MarketingCharts.com show that 20% of consumers will abandon a relationship with a company if they have to wait too long to speak with a customer service representative by phone. Below are four strategies to help increase customer retention through accessibility:
- Provide customers with a means of reaching your company 24/7
- Ensure that the Contact Us page of your website contains your business address and means of reaching you
- Enable your customers to request a quote or ask a question through your website
- Provide a variety of ways for your customers to reach you (phone, email and live chat, for instance)” – 10 Steps to Increase Customer Retention, Tallyfy; Twitter: @tallyfy
37. Use surveys to uncover customer needs, wants, and pain points. “Data about what consumers really like (and what they wish you were doing differently) infuses your products, services, and advertising with knowledge. Use that information to:
“Test ideas to build better customer loyalty programs. Should you offer discounts? How big? How often? Or should you focus on freebies and hidden perks? Will customer loyalty cards make people stick to you like glue? Use surveys to find out what consumers really want, and take the guesswork out of developing a loyalty program for your customers.
“Ensure a successful new product launch. A strong feeling of brand loyalty could make consumers hop right on new products you launch. When they trust you, they’re more willing to give your new ideas a spin. Use surveys to measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns you try.
“Find your customers and chat them up. Use social media surveys to determine what social media sites ensnare your BFF customers. Use those sites to launch new products, discuss your customer loyalty programs, or just share some love. Don’t waste time on sites no one likes. Pick the right ones with surveys.
“Fix the right problems before people walk away. Is your customer service department at the root of loyalty problems? Or is there something wrong with the products you provide? Or, is your competition just really, really good? Know where your hot spots are and fix them with surveys, so you’ll get better every year.” – Improve Customer Loyalty and Retention, SurveyMonkey; Twitter: @SurveyMonkey
38. Transparency is crucial for industries such as retail. “Retail transparency can be an asset in building credibility and loyalty as a brand, but it’s not as simple as just letting consumers know where your products come from. It’s easy to say that your products are “100% natural,” but customers are smarter than that and expect more. To give customers a deeper look into their businesses, brands have followed two simple rules to create transparency:
- Have something original to say.
- Be honest about your sourcing.
“This practice is nothing particularly new or revolutionary. Whether through a promise to stay organic or an assurance that products are hand-stitched, companies have been telling their own origin stories for decades. But in ecommerce, the idea of transparency has become a viable trend that helps businesses connect with consumers, especially when their customers are buying clothes without ever trying them on.” – In eCommerce, Transparency is (Still) Radical, Retention Science; Twitter: @RetentionSci
39. Make customer communications personal. “No one knows your customer better than your customers. Therefore, it’s imperative that you talk with your customers, collect data and insights and learn as much as possible about their wants, needs, problems and how you can position your products and services as a solution. The more you can help, the more likely you will be able to retain them.” – Leah Klingbeil, 6 Retention Marketing Strategies, LoginRadius; Twitter: @LoginRadius
40. Set customer expectations early. “By setting expectations early and a tad lower than you can provide, you can eliminate uncertainty as to the level of service you need to offer to ensure your clients are happy. This clear vision enables your company to build KPIs around specific expectations and ensure you are always over delivering.
“Clients tend to remember negative experiences. So if you have over delivered on the past 20 occasions, but, once, you undelivered – your client will no doubt quote that negative experience as a reason to cancel his or her contract with you.” – Ross Beard, 9 Customer Retention Strategies For Companies, Client Heartbeat; Twitter: @ClientHeartbeat
41. Set goals for your customer retention marketing campaigns. “Without goal setting, you’ll have no tool to measure the success of your customer retention efforts. There are many ways to define your goals. To ensure success and buy-in within your business, create your set of retention objectives around the S.M.A.R.T principle (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). Consider sales figures from prior years or months to set the goal for an upcoming time period.” – Adam Waid, 5 Digital Tactics for Customer Retention in 2015, Pardot; Twitter: @Pardot
42. Know your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). “The difference between a business that sustainably grows long-term, and one that flames out and dies, often comes down to just three words.
“Customer Lifetime Value.
“Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the total dollar amount that a customer is worth to your business, taking into account their purchases from the first day they buy from you until their very last transaction.
“Customer lifetime value is a massively powerful metric, and here’s why: tiny increases in CLV can lead to huge gains in overall revenue.
“If your SaaS customers pay you $50 per month, and the average customer stays with you for 10 months, then your average CLV is $500.
“With 1,000 customers, simply increasing that average to 12 months — just 20% — would add $100,000 in revenue to your business.” – Len Markidan, 10 Customer Retention Strategies to Implement Today, Groove; Twitter: @Groove
43. Figure out what makes your loyal customers stick around, and do more of it. “Before you consider implementing any new ideas for improving customer retention, it’s a good idea to dive into your data (see “An Introduction to Analytics for eCommerce Websites”) and see which cohorts of customers are being retained and try and learn from it.
“Let’s look at an example.
“Let’s say that you find that customers which spend more than $50 in their first purchase get retained at a much higher rate than customers which purchase less than $50 in their first purchase.
“This insight would tell you that if you can increase the size of the first order of customers you will retain them at a higher rate. You could provide a coupon for first time shoppers or improve your upsell offerings.
“The ‘more than $50 in the first purchase’ is an example of a cohort but don’t stop there: spend time diving into many different cohorts because every business is different and you never know what you may find.” – Justin Butlion, 10 Innovative Techniques to Improve Customer Retention, From Our Optimization Expert, Yotpo; Twitter: @Yotpo
44. Have a feedback system. “There is no better way to improve your retention techniques than hearing from the customers themselves. A feedback system, such as a survey or talking with your loyal customers, will help you hear from them directly regarding how they felt about your business. This can offer a lot of great insights as to what would keep your clients coming back for more, which you can then put into effect and keep revising. Learn about a few of the ‘don’ts’ of a feedback system here.” – Adam Heitzman, 5 Strategies Guaranteed to Improve Client Retention, Inc.; Twitter: @HigherVis
45. Know what you want to achieve with customer retention marketing. “Like most things the first step of creating a retention strategy is to decide on the goals you want customer retention to accomplish for you. Do you want your strategy to focus on customer satisfaction, loyalty, referrals, or maybe something totally different?
“Before you go into the specifics of how you will use retention tactics and tools sit down and determine the most important area of retention to your business. Try to focus on things that can be directly measured like I want to increase my customer lifetime value or I want a higher percentage of repeat customers.
“Knowing what you want to achieve and setting measurable benchmarks ensures that you are setting up a retention strategy that will have sustainable success.” – Alex McEachern, How to Craft an Amazing Customer Retention Strategy!, MonsterPost; Twitter: @templatemonster
46. Customer retention is more than merely resolving complaints and overcoming objections. “Most sales managers believe that customer retention is merely a matter of resolving complaints or quelling current customer objections, but that’s only a reactive approach. To be a truly successful, you need a proactive framework that treats current customers with as much priority as the prospects in your sales funnel.
“Customer retention is primarily driven by building rapport and deepening the relationship with your clientele. However, this doesn’t mean your approach shouldn’t be informed by a little science as well.” – Customer Retention: The Science Of Keeping Your Customers Coming Back, Invenio Solutions; Twitter: @InvenioMS
47. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your customers are real people. “Given the amount of customer data available today, companies sometimes forget that behind that data is a real person. Shep Hyken, a customer experience expert and author of The Amazement Revolution, says that needs to change. Customers, after all, are more than the trail of their data—they aren’t just numbers and shouldn’t be treated as such.
“‘There is a big difference between satisfied customers and loyal customers,’ explains Hyken. ‘Satisfactory is a rating and loyalty is an emotion.’
“To build that emotional connection, Hyken says you must make customers feel special and show appreciation for their business.” – Kelvin Claveria, Customer retention strategies: 10 tips from customer loyalty experts, VisionCritical; Twitter: @visioncritical
48. Track the right metrics. “Churn is a fire alarm. It’s a great indicator that something’s gone wrong, but it doesn’t help you put out the fire.
“In order to diagnose and fix your customer retention problem, you need to look deeper than the simple churn formula of customers out vs. customers in. You need to get an understanding of the metrics that tell you who is churning, when they’re churning, and why. Only then will you be able to use your time wisely, and make adjustments that will have the biggest impact on the growth of your business.” – Ty Magnin, The 4 Customer Retention Metrics You Need to Measure Now, Appcues; Twitter: @Appcues
49. Avoid making blind offers. “Selling to existing customers is smart business, but do so thoughtfully. Blindly throwing your products and services at them won’t get you very far.
“Survey your customers regularly and frequently to get a real-time understanding of their needs so you can make targeted offers to them. Gathering customer feedback and incorporating the results into your decision-making will help promote satisfaction, engagement and loyalty over time.” – Customer Retention: 7 Signs You’re About to Lose a Customer, Questback; Twitter: @Questback
50. Figure out why customers are leaving first. “If you want to improve customer retention, it’s a good idea to take a step back and figure out why people are leaving in the first place.
“If you know the reasons that lead to people leaving, you can take steps to tackle those reasons.