When developing or maintaining a sales strategy, the importance of current customer retention is often overlooked. New business should always be a goal, but investing time and resources in keeping your clients on board actually costs less; as much as 5 to 25 times less, which results in a much greater ROI in the long run. Taking the time to save your customers before they leave should be a top sales strategy as it is far easier done than winning them back once they’ve gone.
So how do you keep your customers engaged and happy? And more importantly, coming back to you?
Below are some steps you can take to ensure you are building loyalty with your customers.
Track and Evaluate Metrics
Your churn or attrition rate is one that you should start tracking closely. This metric measures lost clients and can be an important tool in your retention strategy. Churn metrics help you monitor customer turnover and can give you a better idea of why a customer may choose to leave. If you don’t know what is wrong, you can’t hope to fix it or prevent it in the future.
While some churn is inevitable, tracking it will help you spot patterns before they become too widespread. Besides the cost of losing a customer, churn negatively impacts your brand when dissatisfied customers spread a negative word of mouth and leave negative reviews. Remember in today’s digital world, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as those from friends!
To start this process, it helps to understand your sales cycle for all products and services that you offer, as they will typically be different and splitting them this way can also be telling about how one is performing over another. Here’s an example of a customer churn rate:
Develop a Customer Feedback Process
The key to understanding your customers’ needs and expectations is to develop methods that gather information on how they feel about your business, and what makes them want to work with you. Find a feedback process that works for you and share it with the rest of your organization. Whether you do a simple in-house survey or the Net Promoter Score (https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/net-promoter-score-calculation/) ensure all customer-facing team members are aware of the feedback coming in so they are armed with the knowledge of what current clients believe is working vs. what isn’t working. If everyone is on the same page and has intimate knowledge of consistent feedback there will be clear expectations for you and your staff. Encourage everyone to watch for trends, common complaints, or suggestions to find what is working for you and your company and what needs to be improved upon. 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand after just one negative experience, so when you open yourself up to feedback and listen to your customers, it gives them a sense of importance, which in turn will help reduce your turnover and avoid unexpected experiences in the future.
Maintain Customer Communication Timelines
Regardless of whether your customers are reaching out or not, your team needs to be proactive regarding communication. If it has been a while since you’ve interacted with a client, then reach out, check-in and reestablish your relationship. A communication calendar will help you keep track of your client interactions, and will also act as a good reminder of when it’s time to reconnect. Keeping a detailed online calendar that all your staff has access to will help ensure it stays updated so that your team can continue building relationships with your existing clients. It will also help you keep track of customers with expiring subscriptions or contracts, as well as new promotions and discounts that could apply to them. Customers want to feel important, no matter how big or small they are. It is everyone’s job to make sure that happens. A simple phone call, email or purposeful face-to-face interaction shows that you’re willing to put in the work to make sure your clients feel important and taken care of.
An electronic newsletter is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your clients in the loop. Using automated emails, you can send promotions and updates to all your clients at once. You can choose the frequency you send them out, be it once a week or monthly, as well as the content. But make sure to include any new changes they should be aware of, as well as promotions and company news. This is an easy way that reminds your customers of you every time they open their email.
Build Trust with Clients
Just because they buy from or work with you, doesn’t mean they instantly trust you. Building trust with your clients takes time to develop. A whopping 81% of customers say that trust is an important factor in their buying decision, says Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer Special Report. You have an opportunity to build a strong relationship with a client. Reliability, consistency, and transparency are key elements to building long-term and meaningful trust with your clients. By spending time with them and earning their trust, you can learn how to tailor your services to give them a better customer experience and fulfilling their needs. This type of rapport takes time to build with a brand new client.
Customer Retention Program
When you’re seeking out clients, these aren’t people you know very well. It’s important to get to know them so you can ensure they have the best experience possible, so they keep coming back to you. You want to create an experience and unique value for the client that sets you apart from your competitors. Building on pre-existing relationships creates loyal clients, and it’s the best way to keep your business growing. Some companies that employ great examples of Customer Retention Strategies are:
HUBSPOT – Research done by HubSpot determined that 96% of survey respondents would stay loyal to a company if, in cases where there was a company error, the company rep apologized and made right when the error occurred in as real-time as possible. They developed a plan on how to quickly and honestly respond to clients when errors were made and now move forward as seamlessly as possible.
TOMS – TOMS has built and maintained a brand around the mission of making the world a better place. Their One For One policy means that for every pair of shoes that they sell, they give a pair to people in need and have donated over 60 million pairs of new shoes. This mission resonates with consumers wanting to contribute to a good cause and automatically inspires brand loyalty.
CHEWY – This pet supply e-commerce company uses thoughtful “surprise reciprocity” to show their customers they care. Sending unexpected gifts and cards to clients’ pets keeps the pet moms and dads happy and returning time and time again.
There are many more strategies that you can look into to grow your retention rate and not everyone is right for every business. The key is prioritizing building these strategies and being consistent in trying and adopting new tactics that will resonate with your current clients. Your customers want to identify with you, they want to stay, feel important, and know that they’re getting the most out of their money. So take the time to build relationships, inspire & educate them, and most important be open and transparent with them – these are win-win for all involved, as much as they are ways to ensure you’re taking care of business.