Customers like to shop with brands that understand their needs. In fact, up to 91% of customers prefer to buy from brands that offer personalized recommendations and relevant offers. Taking steps to understand and respond to your customers' needs is vital for retaining their business. Many of today’s customer service best practices, such as personalization and self-service offerings, help cultivate a higher degree of trust with your audience. Cultivating trust boosts customer retention, as customers that trust your brand are more likely to continue doing business with you.
Data from Bain & Company indicates that a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profit. Selling to your existing customers is easier and cheaper than acquiring new customers, and it's also more profitable. Luckily, companies can use several strategies to retain more customers and facilitate repeat business. In this article, we'll discuss six of the best customer retention strategies you can implement starting today.
1. Personalize Messages
Customer retention is all about building trust and developing deeper relationships. Your support team plays a central role in these efforts, and their communications with customers can make a real difference. By personalizing your emails and other messages, you can show your customers that you take time to address them by name. Directly acknowledging customers takes relatively little effort but can have a large impact in helping to retain customers over time.
2. Provide Exceptional Customer Support
When a customer has an issue, they would like it to be resolved quickly and with as little effort as possible. Developing customer support systems that can effectively address these needs could mean the difference between a long-term customer and one that never returns. One useful omnichannel strategy is to engage with your customers through multiple platforms. Incorporating live chat into your website and having an easy-to-access help desk are also excellent tools for improving support.
3. Have an Excellent Onboarding Program
The first messages a customer receives from your company are crucial to retention. A customer onboarding process can help reduce confusion and communicate how to access relevant information and where to learn about new features, products, and services. The ultimate goal of this strategy is to improve conversion rates for new sales and keep your audience subscribed to your newsletter and social media feeds. It is much easier to sell future products to an existing audience already familiar with your brand.
4. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
When developing your customer retention strategies, it's wise to put extra effort into the programs you provide to your most loyal customers. A formal loyalty program makes your entire process transparent, with clear incentives for your customers to make additional purchases. You will also want to create plans for trying to retain customers that you are at risk of losing, but don’t forget about your most loyal customers. Failing to keep your best customers can negatively impact your revenue and your long-term brand stability.
5. Develop a Customer Feedback Loop
Listening to your customers' needs is a universal customer service best practice. But what do you do with this feedback? It's essential to request customer feedback through surveys or other methods at various touchpoints throughout the customer experience journey. Doing so will help you solicit timely feedback that can lead to actionable improvements. It's best to use well-crafted questions that can be easily analyzed in a measurable way. Asking questions that focus on engagement with your product or service can help you understand your potential to retain these customers.
6. Set Clear Customer Expectations
Many customers can grow frustrated by their needs not being met and could leave before you receive a single complaint. After you have taken time to collect customer feedback and understand more about the customer journey, it's crucial to put these learnings into practice. One excellent strategy for improving customer retention is to set clear customer expectations proactively. Making promises that you can deliver on, or even exceed, will increase the likelihood that a customer will be satisfied and return.
Like most customer service activities, there is no single strategy that can be used to improve customer retention across the board. It's best to use a holistic approach and take a broad look at your customer journey from end to end. By providing a personalized experience, adding unique value, and empowering your customers, you can differentiate your brand from competitors and boost customer retention.