Customer retention often feels like an uphill battle. Trying to keep customers around long-term can be just as difficult as gaining new ones. Moreover, it can actually be more important, since keeping existing customers is much less costly than acquiring new ones.
It won’t happen overnight, but there are several ways you can improve your efforts to retain your most loyal customers. This article will discuss six strategies you can implement to boost customer retention in a way that fosters trust and growth long-term.
1. Revamp Your Customer Service
If you’re struggling with customer retention, improving customer service is the perfect place to start. Look for the points in your customers’ purchasing journey that they struggle with. Are you providing adequate support to customers with product malfunctions or delivery mishaps? If not, how can you change that?
If manning the phone lines all day every day is too big a burden for your employees to bear, try working with a call center. These establishments make a living from optimizing the customer experience. They will provide the trained manpower to give your customers the assistance they need. You can then focus on the other aspects of your business, resting assured that your customers are being taken care of.
A Microsoft survey showed that 58% of customers are likely to cease doing business with a company that provides a poor customer service experience. Even with a quality product or service, poor customer service leaves a bad taste in a consumer’s mouth that will cause them to turn elsewhere. Your business simply can’t afford to put customer service on the back burner.
2. Offer a Rewards Program
Customers love to be rewarded for their loyalty to a brand. Rightfully so, as a business is only as strong as its customer base. You’re more likely to see recurring faces at your place of business if you’re incentivizing people to keep coming back.
Just take a look at hotel chains. You could stay at a different hotel every time you travel if you so chose. However, hotel chains want to be your exclusive home away from home. That’s why they incentivize return stays with reward member points and membership benefits that only get better the longer you remain loyal.
Other examples of rewards programs include giveaways, punch cards, and early access to new products and services. The type of loyalty program you implement will depend on what your business offers and your customer base. Experiment with various ideas to see what your customers value the most.
3. Listen to Feedback
Your regular customers also want to be heard. After all, if they’re going to spend so much time and money on your business, they should have some input. You can influence customer retention by asking for and listening to their feedback.
Getting feedback from your customers can be as simple as asking them to post an online review. You can even incentivize this by providing a discount on their next purchase for leaving a review of any kind, good or bad. You can also attach survey links to receipts, emails, or newsletters to ask more direct questions.
As you solicit feedback, be sure to actually implement good suggestions. Make the right positive changes, and your retention rates could skyrocket. Fail to take customers’ viewpoints into account, and they may move on to different companies that do.
4. Be Transparent
No one enjoys having secrets kept from them. Nowadays, customers want to know everything from where you source materials to the labor conditions inside your factories. The more transparent you are about these details, the better your retention can be.
For instance, you might increase customer loyalty simply by demonstrating that your products are made in America. You can keep them around by showing that you provide adequate working conditions and follow ethical practices. Doing so also holds you accountable to maintaining those positive business practices.
Being transparent about data usage is also very important. Customers entrust businesses with a lot of valuable information, such as their physical address and credit card numbers. Being transparent about what data you collect and how it is stored and protected will build trust with both new and existing customers.
5. Go the Extra Mile
When it comes to customer interactions, always strive to go above and beyond expectations. This doesn’t have to equate to some grand gesture. Just small acts of consideration can add significantly to the customer experience and make it all the more memorable.
This could be anything from a hand-written thank-you note added to packages or remembering to refer to clients by their name. These little gestures don’t require a great amount of effort, but they do require you to be intentional about them. Make plans and hold trainings to make sure your customer-facing employees always walk that extra mile.
6. Be Accessible Online
In today’s business world, it seems almost everything is done digitally. If your company and its resources are difficult to access online, you can say goodbye to a lot of your customers. The way you establish yourself online is nearly as important as the product or service you offer.
Is your website user-friendly on all devices? Is the purchasing or booking process straightforward and easy to navigate? Your goal should be to make accomplishing these feats a snap so that customers don’t get frustrated online. If they can easily find what they’re looking for, it becomes much easier to encourage them to return.
No matter what customer retention strategies you put into place, strive for consistency. You won’t see results immediately, so it’s important to move forward consciously until you can determine whether or not you’re seeing success. With a combination of these approaches, you’re bound to see some improvement.