Winning Loyalty: 7 smart ways to retain customers
Anyone working in sales will tell you one thing: finding new ways to increase customer revenues is always top priority.
However, most salespeople are so focused on gaining new clients that they forget to address the need to keep the ones they have. One reason why this negligence becomes unavoidable is that of a common misperception: if you have a great product or service, then customer retention will follow on its own.
While this might be the main case, the truth is that it’s actually a short-term strategy. Your current customers can easily leave you if they feel as if they are not being cared for – and no business wants that.
Since there is so much noise about customer retention strategies, we have compiled our top 7 ways you can retain your customers:
Know your customers
The more you know your customers, the more you can tailor your approach to suit each individual’s needs.
A smart approach to this would be to use tools like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. They can help you view a customer’s purchase history so that you can decide what kind of offer will be the most appealing to each person. Your customers will feel more relevant, helping your brand’s name stay in their minds for longer.
Other ways to learn more about your customers is by allowing your team to spend more time with them. It may sound strange at first, but smart entrepreneurs know that increased interaction with your target audience spells increased sales and a better service experience.
Reward the loyal ones
Your loyal, recurrent customers are part of the reason your business is earning money in the first place – naturally, they deserve their due credit.
Rewards don’t necessarily have to be over-the-top. They can be as simple as assigning positive labels to your most common customers (take “awesome customers” for example!) or a simple “thank you” after they make any purchase. Even these simple words have power; they stand out as delightful gestures that make your customers feel special and cared for.
Businesses like Oscar POS have taken this one step further by setting up Loyalty Programs that award ‘loyalty points’. Such schemes not only elevate customer status but also give exclusive offers to customers who continue to shop with you.
Create a Customer Community
In the real world, very few people connect directly with a brand – they connect with other people who are associated with your brand.
This in itself is not bad – in fact, it creates a sense of communion underneath your brand’s name, giving an impression of inclusion. You can enhance this by reminding your customers that they are not buying a product – rather, they are buying their way into a community of like-minded people with similar interests. This can be done in the form of timely newsletters, interactive social media posts etc.
Revamp Marketing Strategies
It is wrong to think that marketing strategies only apply to new customers – they are just as valid for your current customers.
Marketing strategies are usually flexible; they often don’t follow a cookie-cutter form and mould as per the requirements of any business. But elements common to any good marketing scheme involves the use of what I call “user-friendly terms” – i.e. words people like to hear.
Certain words like free, new, and instantly encourage customer engagement, mainly due to the positive promises they imply. They instantly enjoy their purchases more than they would have otherwise.
Another way to increase customer engagement is by involving them – give them the impression that you stand beside them, not in front of them. As your products get updated, create excitement with current customers by showing them the latest features in the form of newsletter/email updates, or even updated posts on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. Give them a reason to come back for more.
No business should hold anything back from clients, for that creates a sense of distrust – and ultimately alienation – with the brand name. To avoid that, a relationship should be established on transparency – maintain healthy, clear conversations with your customers about things like payment and return policies. This removes a veil of uncertainty between you and the customer so that a bond of trust – and retention – is maintained.
Be passionate and engaged
What you give is what you get – so if you keep your brand engaged with your customers, they are bound to return you the favour.
Caring for your client doesn’t just mean smiling and sending little gifts, but actually, make efforts to learn about new technologies and options that might benefit them. Be responsive to their needs by maintaining an active support system; from the get-go, make sure that you’re available to your customers if anything goes wrong. This can be as simple as placing a “Get Help” button placed on your website’s initial splash screen or on any dead-end pages. The subtler – the better!
Demonstrate your willingness to retain customers by finding milestones in the customer relationship, and find ways to reward them in the least expected way. These kinds of surprise displays of appreciation go a long way when it comes to creating a lasting, memorable customer experience.
Survey your customers
Philip Libin, CEO of Evernote, has always loved his angriest customers: “Complaints are great… they tell us where our product or overall experience is failing.”
Therefore, surveys not only help you see what is your best and worst product, they also help identify at-risk customers before they completely leave. Companies can then drive all poor ratings to their support team, who can send those customers follow-up emails; offering discounts, introducing enhancements or just mentioning that you’re here for support is more than enough.
Positive ratings can be used to drive reward schemes in Loyalty Programs, or even push forward promotion on social media. Be sure to keep your surveys as short and precise as possible – and try to ask everyone you can.
The path to customer retention has no shortcuts – you can’t hack into a personal relationship. Undoubtedly, tools like CRM Softwares offer you ample data to make customer retention a walk in the park – all without the added cost of reigning new customers.