Too many expectations, they say, bring resentment.
I’ll start off this post by saying that expecting your customers to be loyal to you forever is a wrong notion. And using tricks and tactics to retain customers is going to be fruitful only to a certain extent. Many marketers might find it hard to adjust to this thought.
But the basis of these opinions is – the needs of your customers change, their preferences change, and these days they have more options than ever. You’ll find many of your customers leaving you and there’s nothing you can do to retain them once they have decided to move on.
That’s not to say focussing on customer retention is no more important and that you should not invest in it. The business dynamics have surely evolved but having your customers come back to you, again and again, still remains the best business outcome. But we cannot use the old marketing playbook focused primarily on incentives and loyalty programs in 2019.
According to an Accenture study, 77% of all consumers admitted that they retract their loyalty more quickly than they did three years ago. Going by this, the need is to rethink how we look at customer retention and redefine the rules.
Importance of customer retention
It’s never enough to remain focused on acquiring new users and generating more leads. Consider your job as a marketer is only half done unless you pay attention to customers who have already placed their trust in you. To put it simply, it would be like a leaking bucket which if not plugged at the right places would leave you with an empty one again.
Besides, your existing customers can bring in a lot of value to you in terms of – bringing more customers through word of mouth, helping you improve with honest feedback, and saving you marketing money for the acquisition. In fact, customer loyalty is revenue as you can get more chances of success in upsells with existing customers.
How to redefine customer retention for your marketing?
In principle, this change in how we view customer retention is not because of the ineffectiveness of loyalty programs or old retention techniques – rather it is customer loyalty which has changed. Customer loyalty has declined because consumers can switch brands easily.
With this in mind, it is impractical to expect customers to stay loyal to you – instead, it’s you who need to stay loyal to them. Once you assimilate this thought completely into your marketing, you’re sure to make progress in your customer retention strategies.
Strategies to improve customer retention for your brand
The redefined way of doing retention marketing requires keeping the consumers happy and providing them with reasons to stay loyal.
Here are 8 customer retention strategies that you can use to do just that.
1. Humanize your brand
Remember how everyone talked about how the 21st century would be the advent of all things next-gen. Well, we’re two decades into it now and brands going more human is one significant trend which stands out when we look back to see how modern-day marketing has evolved.
The change has been brought in from both ends – brands started to realize that customers listen to them better when they drop a more uptight, programmed (while being professional) and talk like it was their everyday communication.
Customers, too are getting more value-oriented now and have multiple touchpoints with their brands and service providers and it amounts to an open, personalized, to-the-point talking with them.
2. Be brutally honest about your product or service
An important step towards winning customer trust is to be extremely and brutally honest about what you do and how you operate. At the same time, this thought needs to be applied universally across all functions in your organization.
Whether it is your website, messaging, sales, customer support, shipping or pricing, treat your customers with absolute honesty to win their trust. Any loophole in practicing it, your brand may falter sooner or later.
3. Safeguard cutomers data
No other way of putting it – this is indispensable. The past few years have been ridden with brands of all orders hitting the first page of newspapers for failing to safeguard their user data. The legal frameworks and regulations have evolved over years and therefore compliance is a key concern for brands and customers alike.
The crux here should be doing things the right way – let the compliance and mandatory regulations not be the key triggers to push you into data vigilance mode.
Instead, let it stem from the empathy you have for your customers. Be known that they are trusting you with it and will keep on coming back to you if you keep that trust intact.
4. Provide instant communication
Gone are the days when customers would wait to hear back from you. These days, consumers expect instant communication 24 hours a day for 7 days.
By implementing channels for instant communication like chatbots (on website and social channels), and text messaging, you can be sure to win extra brownie points from your customers.
Furthermore, chatbots are expected to become more human-like in the future and will add to the overall experience of your customers. To get started on this one, ask yourself if you’re meeting these expectations of instant communication in an easy and frictionless way.
5. Offer great customer support
How well do you think of the restaurant where the waiter was rude or didn’t serve you well? Does it rank high in your list of go-to places for a nice, eased-out dinner? It’s not hard to guess that response.
The fact, therefore, is plain and simple. A bad, broken support process is a reason enough for the customer to leave a brand.
According to a study by American Express, 33% of people say they’ll consider switching a brand after just a single instance of poor service. That says it all.
- Some of the practices you can adopt are:
Let your customer support team have access to a unified view of your customer’s journey. Doing so will break any silos that exist in different departments and help your team have a meaningful conversation with customers.
- Build a system of self-service. By allowing users to solve some of their problems on their own using chatbots, FAQs, and user guides, you save them a lot of time and also boost the productivity of your support teams.
6. Offer 1:1 personalized experience
Your personalization efforts shouldn’t stop once the customers enters the doorway for the first time. Personalization should rather become a mindset rather than an approach. How you communicate with your customers, how you resolve their issues, how you inform them about their success, and even how you inspire them – all these things should be done from the view of the customer.
Recommended read: 5 examples of delightful moments of personalization in customer journey.
7. Don’t be too pushy in your marketing
We’re hitting 2020 in a month now and the truth is no longer obscured – people understand when you’re marketing and when you’re not. None of us likes to be bombarded with irritating messages shouting pleaseeee buy this from meeee. So, why do it in your marketing? Understand and draw boundaries for your marketing activities and stick to them.
8. Build for continued customer success
One key area which often gets overlooked in all the humdrum of running a business is – continued customer success. While a good start sets the tone of the relationship, continuous wins throughout the relationship journey are much needed to stay relevant to them. And relevance is something you can’t ignore ever in business.
Some of the things which need to be looked at in this case are – clear and simple communication about features and updates, regular and consistent efforts on product marketing, competitive analysis, and product updates as per the changing needs of the customer.
Additionally, you must pay attention to what your customers have to say and help them maximize their success consistently.
Surely, there would be users who will leave you even after you follow all the advice we shared in this post. The reasons could be many but that doesn’t mean you as a business has failed. It could be that they have gone out of business, facing financial issues or going through operational or staff overhaul, or even simply have outgrown your product or services. This is natural and it is bound to happen. And that’s okay. It happens to every one of us. However, the focus here should be to build relationships based on the idea of commitment and trust, always.
We hope the ideas shared in this post help you do that. We would love to hear your thoughts on how you practice customer retention in your marketing. Drop in a comment below! To know how a growth marketing platform like Smartech can be your partner in your efforts, get in touch with us today!