To make a business grow, whether it be online or offline, it takes more than just acquiring customers. Business growth comes when you get to retain your acquired customers and transform them to your loyal consumers.
In thinking of strategies to grow your business, you must include customer retention and loyalty to your primary goals. While you may get overwhelmed with the joy of attracting new customers, you must also put great importance into retaining your customers.
According to a study by Belly Card on marketing and customer retention trends, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are advised to place more emphasis on retaining customers than in acquiring them. The reason is that existing customers are reported to be 50% more likely to try a new product and spend 31% more than new customers. Even with just a 5% increase in customer retention, your profit can experience a whopping 95% raise.
That’s good to know; but how exactly can a business retain its paying customers? To help you increase your customer retention and loyalty rates, here’s a basic compilation of a few effective and tested retention strategies you can try:
#1 Having a mission or something you stand for
Sometimes, people get inspired to support a brand because of their mission and what they stand for. Customers are more likely to choose a brand with a cause than a brand whose aim is to merely sell its products.
A research by the Harvard Business Review states that brand loyalty comes from shared values. You must have values or a mission to share with your customers. Here are a few brands who do well in this aspect:
- TOMS, a shoe company, isn’t only popular for its comfortable slip-ons, but more for its “One for one” movement which aims to make the world a better place. For every purchase of a pair of shoes, a new pair is given to a person in need. This movement has already given 60 M+ new pairs of shoes across the world.
- DOVE, a Unilever product, did more than just creating a cause. Its #RealBeauty campaign that started in 2004 has ignited a worldwide awareness for abolishing beauty stereotypes. It has won the hearts of many and still continues to reach more women with the information of how they should be positive about their bodies.
You don’t necessary need a cause or mission as grand as the above examples. You can start with determining what people care about and build your mission and values around that.
#2 Personalizing your customer’s experience
Consumers are more drawn to brands they can relate with – a brand that has a human persona. In personalizing customer experience, the first step would be to get to identify your consumer personas and what social channels they would most likely be at. From there, think of strategies where you can communicate, engage, or interact with them on a more personal level.
There are so many different ways to personalize customer experience. You can either leverage Twitter to speak to them directly, use words your customers would love to hear, offer them personalized recommendations based on their data, or personalize customer service.
You can also ask for their recommendations or suggestions when you’re planning to launch a new product or service for example. Let’s say you’re an ice cream company. Ask them what ice cream flavors they would love to be created. Doing this will make them feel important and valued. It will establish a deeper connection between you and them – increasing customer loyalty.
#3 Providing excellent customer service
Besides searching for products and services, most people also look for a brand with a customer service or support they can easily engage with. They are more likely to do business with a brand that provides quality, courteous, helpful, and willing customer service representatives. More than that, customers are more satisfied with a quality customer service more than a speedy one.
To deliver excellent customer service and support to your customers, consider the tips below:
- Make sure to have a customer support available round the clock so you can’t miss out on a potential customer’s queries and messages. Always have someone ready.
- If possible, get to know your customers personally. Make conversations that are both personal yet professional. Address name by their first name too, it really works.
- Always be courteous and polite when dealing with your customers, including the irate ones. Be consistent with your quality of service no matter what the situation is.
- Address and resolve your customers’ needs. More than that, you can go the extra mile.
Customer service greatly affects customer retention and loyalty. If you want to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, provide them with excellent customer service. You can also learn from the big brands included in 2015’s Customer Service Hall of Famers list.
Remember that poor customer service can instantly drive your customers to your competitors.
#4 Practicing consistency and integrity
Imagine men when they’re courting the woman they like. Their efforts don’t end after winning the woman’s heart. They have to be consistent all throughout. The same applies to making your customers stay with you. You should never stop “courting” them. Be consistent with the quality of the products and services you provide them. Provide them with even better service.
Deliver what you promised your customers when you’re still winning them over. Make every effort to be consistent in addressing their needs and expectations. Never let them down.
There are different customer retention and loyalty tactics you can find around the Web. But, it’s for you to find out which of these tactics will work best for your brand. Use the tips and strategies enumerated above to guide you in crafting your next marketing strategy.
But most of all, remember that the quality of your products and services is still the number one factor that will lead your customers to stay and your business to grow.