The process of turning single-time buyers into repeat customers is customer retention. Simple, right? You sign on a new customer, they give you their business, bada-bing, bada-boom.
Yet, you’re in this for the long-haul. At least you want your customers to be.
What is it? How do you keep it up?
Customer retention means maintaining as many customers as possible, often through customer loyalty campaigns and brand loyalty. It starts with a clients’ initial contact with your company and continues all throughout the relationship’s lifetime.
In this article, we’ll discover the 5 best ways to improve retention, loyalty, and turn existing customers into brand ambassadors.
1. Manage expectations
First impressions are one thing, but if a prospect already has certain expectations, you want to be sure they’re manageable. You want to impress your customers, but if you say you can deliver more than you actually can, disappointment will instantly make a prospect or customer drop off.
By contrast, if you set expectations that are too low, prospects will likely think you can’t deliver what they need. Ensure long term and high-quality performance with moderate, realistic expectations by:
- Not over-promising
- Knowing your limits
- Being transparent
- Being flexible on timing
- Saying no once your plate is full
2. Measure Top-of-mind awareness
You know how oftentimes, everyone calls tissues, Kleenex? Well, that’s because Kleenex’s brand is so powerful, that when someone needs a “tissue”, the first thing that comes to their mind is, “I need a Kleenex.”
Top-of-mind awareness is a variable that measures how your brand ranks in the mind of the consumer. This psychological measure works great in all aspects of analyzing consumer behavior.
Top of mind is not just useful, it’s essential. Sales reps have a 50% higher chance of closing deals with respect to the way they communicate top-of-mind to a prospect. The better known the brand, the higher the chance a general population will buy.
It is extremely important to develop strategies and methods that engage your target audience on a palpable and continuous basis. Some of the best ways to strengthen your brand and increase top of mind include:
- Add value to your customers, don’t wait for them to ask for it
- Create relationships that are meaningful and human
- Send daily updates to your subscribers through marketing activities
- Consistently check in on your customers without being pushy
- Personalize your marketing and communication
No matter how much progress you make with a client, don’t break up the relationship by focusing on the next prospect. Keep meaningful, ongoing relationships with all customers, even after a deal is closed or a project is finished.
3. Use CRM Software
4. Have a high-caliber customer support team
Great customer support will make the biggest difference in the success of your business. To better automate and assist your customers, your support and services teams should be taking advantage of artificial intelligence tools.
Using chatbots for minor inquiries can help to reduce the amount of time taken to answer questions and concerns. Things like monitoring notifications, delivering data, and booking calls do not require human interaction.
Supporting customers who are live on chat is where an immediate response will yield the best conversations. For example, if a prospect or customer uses your chatbot for anything that cannot be automated, that window can close fairly quickly. Respond and let them know they are talking to a human. Chatbot strategy will provide faster support and has enough influence to make or break your customer’s decision to stay on board.
Tending to customer complaints
People complain so that they are heard. When you get negative feedback from a customer, take it seriously, and address it immediately. The longer you wait to respond positively to it, the more upset a customer becomes. This especially hurts a customer’s word of mouth. Even if you respond immediately and appropriately to a complaint and a customer is still peeved, it still shows that your support team cares and takes meaningful and thoughtful action.
Answer questions with well-rounded information
If someone asks a question you thought was obvious, that’s your hint that maybe it’s not really that obvious. Or, if they ask a question you’ve already answered, you may not have answered it well enough or loud enough. Remember that if one person asks a certain question, it’s likely that others will ask the same.
Make customers feel comfortable asking questions, no matter how small or how often they ask. Give a guiding, hand-holding approach when necessary, and make sure that they know that you have time for them. Onboarding at the pace of the customer is indicative of your company’s level of thoughtfulness, dedication, and commitment.
5. Implement customer rewards and loyalty programs
By developing a customer loyalty program, you are rewarding those who have stayed on the longest. This gives existing customers the encouragement to keep shopping with you. Your CRM system can help you identify your company’s top customers.
For example, airline programs like the Frequent Flyer program reward their passengers with miles, points, badges, or other means of identification. Another example is offering exclusive discounts for a limited time to your most valued customers. Instituting a loyalty rewards program is an effective (and automated) way to retain customers, as it benefits them on a continual basis.
There are so many ways to engage customers at first glance, but there are certain and highly specific tactics to maintain that engagement. Focusing only on new customers will leave your sales funnel high and dry because your existing customers are just as important as new ones.
Tend to the ones who have entrusted you with their business. Continuously give them reasons to stay with your company, day in and day out, using the 5 ways to improve customer retention.
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