Essential Customer Retention Tools and Strategies
If you read my last article on the benefits of customer acquisition, then you already know the eye-popping statistics regarding the cost of new customer onboarding.
I won’t get back into it here. Let’s stop being so negative. It’s time to think positive!
Rather than looking at the downside of losing a customer, how about the upside of keeping a customer happy?
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that an increase in customer retention by as little as 5% can result in a 25% to 95% increase in profit. Further, we already know about the Pareto principle, which tells us that 80% of business sales can come from 20% of a company’s existing customers.
So, to put if frankly, customer retention not only decreases the need — and cost — of new customer acquisition, but it also can exponentially increase your top and bottom line. Who wouldn’t want that?
To help you with your customer acquisition initiatives, I’ve compiled a list of the top tools and strategies that you can implement in your business today. Before long, you’ll cultivate a customer base of raving fans and evangelists who can’t help but support your business!
Customer Retention Tools
Customer retention tools aid a business in customer loyalty, repeat business, and increased performance. Therefore, even if your retention rates are through the roof, it may be wise to test the following tools.
Who knows? Even an increase in retention from 90% to 95% could lead to a doubling of your profits. It never hurts to try.
1. Survey Monkey — The number one way to retain a customer is to keep them happy. The number one way to keep a customer happy is to understand their pain points and then service those needs.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to ask your customers for feedback through a survey platform like Survey Monkey. A tool like Survey Monkey allows you to design and implement intuitive surveys that you can send to your existing customers.
2. FreshLime — Data drives almost everything nowadays, and it should. It’s no surprise, then, that your customer retention efforts should also implement data tools. Enter FreshLime, a data marketing platform that helps small businesses re-engage customers.
There are a bunch of tools that help with acquisition analytics, but that’s only half the coin. FreshLime lets you see where your paying customers are coming from, when they’re purchasing, what they’re purchasing, and also when to re-engage them if they haven’t had any activity in a while.
3. Woobox — Woo for Woobox! Sorry, had to write that — couldn’t resist…
Anyway, all customers like deals, discounts, and contests. What better way to reward your existing customers than with just those things? Thanks to the Woobox tool, you can provide your customers with sweepstakes, photo contests, video contests, and more, rewarding their loyal service with prizes.
The beauty of it? The prizes are related to your business, so in addition to keeping your existing customers happy, you can encourage them to sing your praises by giving them a new feature or new product, service, or company rollout.
4. Hootsuite — Social media is one of the best business tools on the market. And the best part? It’s free! However, a lot of companies misuse their social media profiles and implement ineffective social media strategies. What a waste!
Leveraging existing social platforms is great way to stay engaged with your existing customers and retain them in the long-term. Using a tool and service like Hootsuite lets you schedule social media posts across all your channels and even gain insights through data and trend analysis.
Keep your brand top of mind among your existing consumers and have them interact with your business via social media. It’s a great way to increase retention!
5. Rankur — Ok, we’ve been upbeat until now. Unfortunately, we’re going to bring the mood down a little. Sometimes, through no fault of your own, your existing customers will become unhappy. It’s a fact of life.
When customers are unhappy in today’s world, chances are they’ll be writing their thoughts on Yelp, Google, or any other review-type platform. Rankur helps part of the problem by notifying you when your company or brand is mentioned in a review. Thus, while this doesn’t change a customer’s mood itself, it does grant you the ability to address the problem and potentially retain a disgruntled consumer.
Customer Retention Strategies
You’ve got the tools now, but how about the implementation strategies? You have the “how” — now it’s time for the “what.”
To help, we’ve outlined three effective customer retention strategies that leverage the tools above. Choose one or choose three; just make sure you’re making retention a focus.
1. Consistent Customer Surveys — We’ve learned that the most important aspect of customer retention is keeping your customers happy, and the best way to keep your customers happy is to understand their needs. Now, bear with us, but what’s the best way to get to understand your customers’ pain points? Simply talk to them! Revolutionary, we know.
So, the number one thing you can do to increase your retention is to implement a customer survey strategy.
Customer surveys can be created and launched through existing services like Survey Monkey, mentioned above. This platform lets you design simple email surveys with customizable questions that can be answered by your existing customers on a sliding scale of 1–5.
Further, you can add fields for write-in answers to dive deeper into the mind of your customer. Then, after you receive the surveys from your customers, conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis by averaging the score of each 1–5 answer as well as leveraging qualitative text search among the long-form answers. Look for keywords.
Survey strategies can help you improve your product or service, meet customer service expectations, and even better understand your competitors.
2. Proactive Customer Service — In today’s world of Yelp, Google, Angi, and even social media, customers usually shop for a combination of price and experience. Customer service is the most important customer experience and is the number one way you can differentiate your business from its competitors. This will help you retain customers long-term.
Further, a study conducted by HubSpot found that 68% of customers leave because they don’t like a brand’s customer service.
Therefore, if you want to retain your customers, you need to have a proactive customer service strategy rather than a reactive one. When you’re reactive, you’re dealing with customers only after they become unhappy (see Rankur, above). When you’re proactive, you’re giving your customers so much value that they don’t get disgruntled in the first place.
Proactive customer service starts with your sales strategy. Train your sales, marketing, and growth teams to anticipate customer problems and get in front of them. From there, build social equity by having your customer service team surprise your customers unexpectedly. A great strategy could be the implementation of Woobox.
The idea here is to go above and beyond — and to do this often.
3. Manage Customer Expectations — There’s a business belief that says you should “under promise and over deliver.” While this sounds like you’re providing a decreased level of service, you’re not, and you should take the words to heart. It’s not uncommon for a company to over promise just to make a sale, and then lose a customer because they can’t deliver on that promise.
Instead, be honest with consumers from the beginning. Accurately communicate the value of your company, as well as its product or service.
This way, when you onboard a new customer, they have the right expectations.
Let your company sell itself. If you’re solving a real need and you have a defined market, you already have the elements for success. All you need to do is talk to your consumer about their pain points and how you can make it all better.
Customer acquisition is important, but retention is key. As Seth Godin said, a successful business is one who found “its tribe.”
Find your tribe. Use the above tools and strategies to do it.