Making your customers stay is way harder than attracting them but more profitable in the long run – that’s when you need great customer retention strategies.
Business = Relationship?
No matter how weird it may seem to you but business and relationships share quite a lot of similarities. Let’s go through typical stages of any relationship and see how that corresponds with what we have in our business practice.
You spend a lot of time in the places where you can potentially discover your future love interest – at work, at the gym, at the bar, etc.
Yes, spontaneity is also a big factor but, in general, you are making attempts to be exposed to your potential love interest.
The same thing happens on the other side – your future significant other is also doing his/her best to be noticed in the crowd.
When running a marketing campaign, businesses saturate the media with as many references to themselves and their brands as possible.
The logic is simple – the more exposure you get, the better your marketing chances are. After seeing your ad or brand mention a few times, a customer is bound to pay attention.
As for the potential customers, they are also taking (sometimes not realizing so) steps to increase the exposure chances – this is where you get targeted ads and contextual advertising.
A magic moment happens – out of all the faces and people you meet, you pick one that struck a chord with you.
No one knows exactly how it happens – with us knowing it, love wouldn’t be as magical as it is.
Still, you are intrigued by someone enough to take it to the next stage.
If marketers have been successful in their strategy, you will notice their efforts and react to an ad.
If we’re talking online business, this will most likely result in a click redirecting a user to the target destination – a website, a landing page, or an e-shop.
This is where all the fun begins.
Although some of us may not agree but every time we meet a person we’re interested in, we (well, our brain) always analyzes the object – is it a good match for me or not?
Social approval is also a big factor – we would like to get an opinion from our friends, peers, and people that we respect.
Yes, that kinda takes away that magic of love but it’s who we are – years of evolution have taught us to choose a love interest quite carefully.
When considering a business proposition as small as an ad, we know that there has got to be some resource concerned – whether it’s money, quality, time, or prestige.
We only have so much of these resources to spend so our choice has to be right. That’s why customers try to learn more about the product: read articles, descriptions, reviews, specifications, watch videos, and get trial versions.
All this is to prove our original move towards the product/service was right and it won’t fail to meet our expectations.
After we’ve become completely sure of our initial choice, it’s time to act!
You know, come up to the person you fancy and ask out on a date, or, at least, engage in a small talk.
One way or another, this is you giving your love interest a notion that you like him/her.
After the customer is done researching the stuff about the company and is satisfied with what he/she has learned, it’s time to commit to an action!
In marketing, an action usually means subscribing, purchasing, or performing otherwise important target action.
By having done this action, you converted from a visitor into a customer.
This is arguably the best period – your relationship has started and you are getting to know each other better.
Every day brings something new and exciting as you are flourishing.
There might be some disappointments though as not all people are what they seem at first sight.
Upon the purchase, a great product/service does its best to not only satisfy the customer but also to make him/her go “WOW!”
Again, some tensions might arise at this stage as some customers’ expectations can be way higher than the product/service can provide.
Once you’re deep in a relationship, there are two ways it might end – a nasty breakup and a “lived happily ever after”.
Nasty breakups aren’t rare but what we’re looking for is certainly not them.
A great relationship is always based on the understanding of each other’s needs and interests and profound empathy.
Some customers become fans of a brand, some discard the product/service after a few minutes of using it.
There numerous reasons to why people are quitting the products/brands they’ve shown initial loyalty for but they all boil down to this – the customers’ expectations have not been met.
Those customers that stick with the product/service/brand are the ones that generate most profits.
If you haven’t guessed already, we’ve just gone through 6 basic customer funnel stages:
- Customer Relationship
Here they are illustrated.
Of all these stages, retention proves to be the toughest one. Attracting a customer isn’t that hard after all – it requires some marketing efforts but that’s it.
Making customers stick to your product after some time is much harder – marketing alone is not enough. High customer retention is always a combination of
- a great product/service with rich UX and excellent usability
- a great customer service
- smart marketing tactics
While the first point is a book by itself, the latter two are quite manageable and can be done by any business.
7 Successful Customer Retention Strategies
These are the strategies that will boost up your marketing.
1. Offer “surprises” to your customers
Everybody likes a surprise and that includes your customers too so give them one! Not a bullsh*t “additional 20% off” surprise but something they could use!
There is a strong psychological rationale behind this (people, in general, feel obliged to commit to an action in return if you give them something for free) but it’s not even about marketing.
Add some value to your customers’ experience – whether it’s a bonus 1 month worth of subscription or a free gift when they make a purchase. They will surely notice and come back to you.
2. Set the expectations right and never fail to meet them
Never make promises you can’t keep – in business, it is fatal. It’s one thing write about your product/service using big fancy words but it’s a totally different thing telling it does something it actually does not.
E.g., no application can make a person “learn Spanish in 14 days” – no matter how cool-sounding this phrase may be. What an application can do is “help you get better at Spanish”, “teach you phrases you need for day-to-day communication”, or even “get a glimpse into the rich culture of Spanish-speaking countries”.
3. Provide exceptional customer service
It’s ALWAYS about the customer. Yes, customers are irrational, angry, and impatient at times – but they’re your customers so treat them with respect. Remember that business-relationship correlation thing?
A customer’s problem is your problem so solve it quickly and make it never happen again. One satisfied current client is worth 10 new ones.
4. Identify weak points and improve them
Run full analytics of your sales funnel and user paths to see where the weakest point is. In every product/service, there must be a spot where a lot of potential customers turn away and lose interest in it.
Your task is to identify this spot – whether it’s a poorly designed subscription plans page or a frustratingly difficult level in your game, you need to fix it.
5. Reward your loyal customers
Show your appreciation for people who have been with you for a while! Even a mere thanks can do – let them know you care about them.
Of course, to do so, you need to keep track of segments and cohorts within your product/service to know who’s who.
6. Concentrate on delivering great experience, not selling
Selling by itself is not that hard – all the marketing tricks are there, you just have to get out and use them. However, there isn’t a single guide or technique that would explain to you how to deliver a great customer experience.
If you concentrate on marketing exclusively and neglect the user experience, one day too soon you will hit the wall and stop growing. However, if your product was initially created with a single goal in mind – to deliver an enjoyable user experience, finding a way to market it would be a breeze.
7. Talk to your customers – especially, the angry ones
There is only so much feedback pleased customers can give you – they’re already satisfied so what’s the point in talking to them?
What you really should be interested in is getting feedback from customers who weren’t satisfied with your product/service. This is where your potential lies.
Thanks for getting to the end of today’s “7 Successful Customer Retention Strategies to Power Up Your Business” – hope you enjoyed it.
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