Whether you’re a mid-sized company or a Fortune 200 enterprise, high customer retention is a survival priority in today’s business environment, and increasing retention is a core strategy for remaining competitive. Need proof? Recent statistics underscore the tremendous value of loyal customers:
Despite those realities, some company leaders assume that relationships with their existing customer base can coast along on autopilot after initial acquisition, without requiring ongoing investment on the company’s part; but that assumption is mistaken, and very costly.
Check out the infographic below on how you can improve your customer retention in 2016:
In a highly competitive, constantly changing marketplace with ever-rising customer expectations, outstanding service to existing customers is key. It’s the foundation of customer retention and a critical starting point in formulating your company’s retention strategy.
Understanding what your customers think is essential to high retention. VoC research informs all aspects of engagement. Use it to improve the service experience and increase realized product value. Strategically design a customer survey that is not oversimplified (hint: one question is not enough). Find out what really matters—especially unmet needs or weaknesses causing dissatisfaction and deflection.
Know from the outside in how customers flow through your organization. Is it logical, simple, and streamlined? Does it produce a high-quality, consistent, repeatable experience? Journey mapping identifies challenges that customers encounter, plus opportunities to make changes that create value and deepen engagement while trimming cost.
Segmentation is powerful when tied to overall company goals and focused on increased value for customers. Categorizing customers into market or service groups points you toward winning and retaining the right customers. Customizing your service delivery to different segments also helps to utilize limited resources wisely.
Reacting to customer service requests is a performance baseline—but forecasting and responding to customer expectations proactively is entirely different. Are you conducting site visits with your most valued customers to learn their needs, help them realize product value, and gather insights for new product features?
Proactive outreach is an uncommon but very promising approach for creating customer value and profit potential while preserving existing revenues. Interactions that educate current customers, stimulate use of your product, and resolve issues also foster an invaluable emotional connection. When conducted in a manner that respects your customers’ time and privacy, this is a service experience differentiator that builds customer loyalty.
The SaaS/Cloud technology roster used to support customer loyalty is changing everything. I advocate using customer health dashboards and social media scanners as well as other enabling technologies in the areas of VoC and customer intelligence, application adoption monitoring, and engagement and retention marketing. By purposely facilitating ongoing customer relationships post-sale, these tools provide a powerful competitive advantage.
Customers review where their money is spent and consolidate their purchasing under loyalty programs featuring rewards that they actually want. What are your loyalty program’s objectives, strategies, positioning, and value? For maximum appeal, offer customer-relevant reward options and a quick, easy redemption process.
Did some customers leave? Don’t let it end there. Reach out to understand what happened. Tell them about the changes you’ve made to resolve the issues that led to their departure, share your exciting roadmaps and future vision, entice them to come back with a loyalty offer they’ll value—and then keep them with excellence.
Last but certainly not least, happy employees are a crucial prerequisite for happy customers: the relationship between employee engagement and customer engagement is undeniable. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that employees throughout your company are educated, encouraged, and empowered to promote and enact your customer retention strategy at all times.
“Inspire customers to stay longer, buy more and tell others about you”