The key to business success isn’t all about attracting new customers.
No siree - you’ve got to give existing users a reason to stick around and make it impossible for them to slip through the cracks.
Research by Semrush indicates the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60% and 70%, whereas the probability of selling to a new customer is only between 5% to 20%.
This is all the more reason to do everything you can to increase your customer retention rate and improve customer loyalty.
The million-dollar question? Which methods can you use to keep consumers onside?
In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on:
- How to improve customer retention and customer loyalty
- Why customer retention is important for company growth
- How to understand your customers
How to improve customer retention rate and customer loyalty
Publish customer case studies
Your buyers will always be more inclined to buy your product or service if they see a ringing endorsement from an existing customer who’s singing your praises.
Case studies are a great way to demonstrate what your customers love about your brand, and more importantly, what your prospects could have in store if they put their hand in their pocket and bought the product, too.
Use this type of content during the sales process and you’ll communicate to your customers why your product will fulfill their customer needs.
When planned and executed well, case studies can be worth their weight in gold, offering unrivalled insights into the mind of the consumer.
However, there are elements you need to consider, as highlighted by Adam Thomas, Lead Product Manager at SmartRecruiters, as he outlined three critical components for your next case study.
Don’t make unrealistic brand promises
Honesty is truly the best policy when it comes to providing exemplary customer service - somewhere down the line, you will come unstuck if you make promises you can’t keep.
So, instead of trying to pull the wool over your customer’s eyes, channel every fiber of your efforts into delivering an awesome value proposition and keep your end of the bargain. This’ll keep your customers happy and help you build future customer advocacy programs.
Plan for the future
Your hard work doesn’t end once you’ve converted a prospect into a customer. It’s essential to create a roadmap outlining how you’ll build and consolidate for the future.
Internal collaboration is essential to make sure you get this on the money; liaise with your Customer Success Manager, and establish clear goals and milestones you can communicate to your users to get them hyped about the next stage of your relationship.
For example, when a gamer purchases from the PlayStation Store, Sony isn’t content with a one-off sale. They send their customers messaging to inform them about new gadgets, upcoming titles, playable demos, and so on.
Oftentimes, the customer will be asked to give their feedback, and this is fundamental in making them feel as though they’re playing a proactive role in the development of the brand, which in turn, encourages them to stay loyal and keep on buying the company’s products.
Plant the seed of positivity
Whether it’s a rude waiter in a restaurant, painfully slow service at a bar, or an unsanitary Uber journey, as consumers, we’ve got a tendency to remember poor customer experiences.
When such instances occur, companies bend over backward to put things right. However, why’s it rare for companies to highlight when things go as intended and customers are left with huge grins on their faces?
Good customer service is all too often treated as a given, so when you do an awesome job, buyers don’t always appreciate it.
Instead, speak with your CSM and put communications in place that’ll earmark to your customers just how amazing you are, and the quality of the service you provide.
When you deliver a product or service that blows the competition out of the water, don’t approach it with the mindset that it’s to be expected.
Instead, sing from the rooftops and celebrate your success - if your customers can see in no uncertain terms the quality you’re bringing to the table, why would they go elsewhere?
Ask for feedback
Churn predominantly occurs because your users aren’t happy with a particular element (or elements) of your product or service.
So, what better way to improve your offering than going straight to the source and asking them what they like, and what they’d like to see improved?
Customer and market feedback is essential in improving your offering, understanding the customer experience from the consumer’s point of view, and essentially, holding onto more of your valued client base.
From focus groups to questionnaires and surveys, there are a variety of ways to collect quantitative and qualitative data that you and your team can use to make informed decisions about your product, without relying primarily on internal assumptions.
Make customer experiences consistent
Consumers are often creatures of habit; they like to know what to expect when making a purchase.
The chances are, your customers won’t buck the trend; the element of surprise isn’t a favored tactic amongst marketers - and for good reason. It’s very rare for customers to relish unfamiliar territory.
Create onboarding processes for your new customers and conduct kickoff phone calls and meetings.
It’s also important to create web assets and social media channels that are consistent. This’ll support you in securing adequate support across a variety of channels.
Furthermore, ensure you have regular check-ins and milestones penciled in. If there are any areas for improvement, you can address these in these sessions before they slip under the radar.
We’ll say it time and again: while reactivating a churned user isn’t impossible, it’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, so look after your customers!
Make information easily accessible
We’ve all been in a situation when we’ve needed customer support, but haven’t had a clue where to find it.
Is it fun? No. Is it irritating? Absolutely.
If your customer has a query, it’s your responsibility to ensure they can find the information they need quickly, and with minimum levels of fuss.
If they can’t use the product to its full potential because they have to jump through hoops to get answers to a simple question, don’t be surprised if they jump ship and seek an alternative.
While chatbots can be useful in helping your customer get some of the help they need, never underestimate the effectiveness of old-fashioned, human-centric communication.
Log previous mistakes
While we all aspire to fulfill the perfect product launch or promotional campaign, invariably, there’ll be instances where areas for improvement emerge.
It’s part of your remit as a product marketer to ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes time and again.
You can also minimize the risk of future disruption by using a CRM system to track customer feedback, and phone calls, and check miscellaneous information that’ll help you familiarize yourself with the preferences of your customers and offer a more fulfilling service.
Act swiftly on pain points
There’s more to customer retention than serving up products that tick all of the boxes. You also need to pay attention to pain points that are being flagged to your customer support team.
Never underestimate the importance customer experience plays in establishing loyalty amongst your consumer base.
If you’re trying to establish yourself in a saturated market and vying against competitors, you need to eradicate any shortcomings or run a serious risk of your customer churn increasing.
Go above and beyond
Satisfying the basic needs of your customers should be a given, and won’t always convince people to hang around and become advocates of your brand.
Conversely, when you exceed customer expectations, more often than not, your customers will marvel at your customer service, recommend you to their friends and family, and help you grow your business exponentially.
The recipe for offering a service surpassing expectations is based predominantly on the following questions:
- What expectations do your customers have?
- What do they expect from the industry in which you operate?
- What’re your competitors doing?
- What measures can you put in place to exceed expectations?
Remember, one person’s perception of going “above and beyond” will differ from somebody else’s. Therefore, you need to revisit and evaluate the measures you’re implementing at regular intervals, to ensure you’re appealing to as many people as possible.
Use reciprocity techniques
Ever heard the expression: “treat others the way you want to be treated?”
This notion is particularly true when it comes to customer retention and customer loyalty.
If you treat your customers well, this’ll resonate with the buyer and provoke a desire for them to repay your act of kindness by remaining loyal to your brand.
There are two types of reciprocity techniques you can use:
1) Surprise reciprocity
This is a surprise gift, such as a ticket to an exclusive event or discount code.
2) Trumpeted reciprocity
Trumpeted reciprocity is when the person providing the benefit does so in such a way that makes it clear they’re exceeding the call of duty.
You don’t need to communicate these benefits to your customers as part of your company communications; it should be apparent that you’re providing something that isn’t a part of your usual service.
For example, when customers pre-order a product, they often get access 24-hours before a general release.Similarly, when Product Marketing Alliance makes an addition to our bank of industry reports, users with a PMA Membership receive early access.
Equip yourself with relevant tools
Sometimes, we can work independently to achieve our desired goals.
However, there are undoubtedly instances when support is needed to deliver a stellar experience that’ll leave customers craving more from you and your brand.
The Product Marketing Tech Stack includes a variety of vetted, tested tools you can use to enhance your practice.