Getting new business through the door is a top priority for businesses who are trying to grow and keep their cashflow steady, but many companies don’t put as much effort into customer retention. Customer retention can be a goldmine for businesses if they can manage to do it. The odds are in your favour, a statistic from Marketing Metrics states that there is a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer, where-as there’s only a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect. Bain and Co have also said that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to put more effort into customer retention, Lee Resource has also said that attracting new customers will cost your company 5 times more than keeping an existing customer.
So, customer retention; how can we do it?
Build a relationship with your customers
The one obvious, but common mistake that lots of companies make is to target prospects, sell to them, and then proceed to ignore them unless they are sending them more marketing material to for an upsell, or chasing them for payment. Getting your account managers to build a relationship with your customers will boost your persona with them. When customers are paying for a product, they are also paying for good customer service. Bain & Company research stated that a customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price or product related. Reach out to your customers; offer them support, answers to any questions and always have an out of hours number or email address they can contact so they can access your customer support team at all times. Some customers won’t want a relationship, so don’t be forceful, but the ones who do will appreciate your account managers going above and beyond to make them happy and will be more likely to come back.
Connect with them on social media
By socialising on social media, you can not only speak directly with your customers but you can also build a solid brand identity as a company that cares about their customers. By knowing your customers and what they would be interested in, you can also post relative content to engage them. For example, if you’re selling lawn mowers, you can post articles like ‘ten top tips for your garden’ or something along those lines. Having a voice that isn’t constantly trying to sell something will benefit your company no end; and your audience will start to engage with you as an expert in your field that can teach them something, not just a company they purchased from.
One good tip to remember is always answer any complaints on social media within 24 hours, do not ignore them. Social media can be a very powerful tool to help you connect with your audience but it can also be your worst PR nightmare if your customers decide to voice their opinions on the internet. Our advice? Give your customers lots of options in ways of contacting you. Offer an email address, telephone number, call back requests and live chats. Normally when a customer goes on social media to complain, they are deeply unhappy with the service and want their voices to be heard. Most of the time they have spoken to or at least attempted to contact the company and their issues haven’t been resolved. The more complaints you keep offline, the better.
By finding creative ways to engage your customers’ you will not only make them happier with your service but it will also demonstrate your quality customer service to prospects. People care about the opinion of others, if someone was thinking about buying your product; they would ask a friend if they have had any experiences with you first- make sure that friend’s experience was a good one. Take Amazon for example, they have a live web chat that customers can instantly connect to a customer service representative for help with any queries. A snap shot of one conversation went viral last year when a representative called himself ‘Thor’ from Norse mythology, and the customer played along being his father ‘Odin’. The problem was resolved in the same language as the book and the internet exploded with praise for Amazon’s quality customer service. Customers want to speak to real people when they have problems, and this Amazon representative was far from your normal, boring customer support caller. He made it funny, engaging and he resolved the problem, so there really is no wonder that Amazon is a well-known household brand with millions of customers returning time and time again after purchasing a product. Remember, when you’re dealing with customers online, the whole world can see, especially potential prospects; always try to do your utmost best to satisfy your customer and remain professional at all times.
Rewarding loyalty can be crucial to making your customers feel valued. Yes they could be happy with the service, they could be happy with the price, sometimes the they could be unhappy with the price but so happy with the service that they still continue to be a customer of yours, so don’t fall at the last hurdle by not appreciating that. If a customer renews a contract with you, add them to a mailing list for birthday and Christmas cards. Email them on a bi-monthly basis to check everything is ok and if they need any assistance with anything. Give them discounts and offers before you give them to new customers, this will assure them you know they are a valued customer and you appreciate their custom.
Getting your customers to come back to you time and time again is a very rewarding for both your company and your reputation, so concentrating on customer retention is definitely worth it!
Do you have any other tips for customer retention? We’d love to hear them!