One-and-done marketing doesn’t cut it. It often takes five or more times the amount of resources for businesses to find and keep customers. To retain customers in to-days competitive market, we all need to foster lasting and meaningful relationships with existing customers.
Rewarding and appreciating your supportive customers is where it all starts – look after your best customers, as this relationship can live on for a long time.
So often, these strategies get ignored, and new shoppers are targeted. Often brands ignore target marketing and throw their nets out wide. This might work for fishing but is expensive in reeling in new customers while ignoring the existing ones.
What Is Customer Retention?
Customers who deliberately pay for your products more than once over a period of time, are customers who need your tender loving care. A single loyal customer buying several products over a year is of more value to you than the single purchaser.
You can rely on a loyal customer far more than a one-off buyer whom you know little about their habits. Focus on making your existing clients happier by making them part of your family and building relationships.
Why Customer Retention Matters
Customer retention measures how effectively companies are at keeping existing customers happy. It also boosts loyalty and increases ROI. It is more cost-effective to retain customers than acquire new ones; returning customers spend more, buy more often, and refer friends.
The numbers don’t lie: Retaining customers brings companies a ton of ROI. Customer retention is essential to succeed in the B2B SaaS industry.
B2B companies will have to bank on customer retention as a critical strategy to achieve long-term growth. Customer retention is also an essential driver of sustainable business value. The math is quite simple – the more customers you retain, the more weight and growth you have.
Considering this, B2B companies need to have fail-proof customer retention strategies.
Your Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
Do you know your customer retention rate? To build a sound strategy, this CRR factor is essential to you. You need to know, as a percentage, how many existing clients you retain over a specific time.
Use the formula: CRR = (E-N/S)x 100.
S=starting customers. E=number of clients you have at the end of the period. N=new customers gained. Developing long-term goals to increase this figure becomes far easier. Let us look at some strategies.
Effective Customer Retaining Strategies
1. Build Through Shared Values
Do you donate some of your earnings to a specific charity? Is your company eco-friendly? It is one thing to have values, but do you share them with your customers? If you do, it helps them to identify with you and feel part of the connected family.
2. Frequently Ask for Feedback
Ask customers how you are doing. Regardless of the negative or positive feedback, both are good for either keeping you on track or allowing you to improve your services. In fact, negative feedback is more critical to get you on track in the future. Positive feedback feels good, don’t turn a blind eye to negative responses.
Times change, so don’t only implement one survey or poll. Do polls regularly and compare the results because customers’ wants and needs change.
3. Get Customers Excited About a Change.
Even if your customers are not bored with your brand, product or image, it is worth revitalizing your customer base with a simple makeover of your website, store or emails. Customers will feel something new and exciting, which is always positive. Just do not change too much or too fast.
Remember the “New Coke” failure, which seems like yesterday but was a long time ago, and the public still remembers it. Coke tried to excite the public to buy its new taste coke. The flavour change led to a massive backlash – this could be described as a successful “failure” because the interaction all over social media pushed up the sales of the traditional taste bottles of cake.
To a lesser degree, McDonald’s plays with certain products like the McRib, bringing it back for a short time. This brings the fear of missing out, so sales increase as customers don’t want to miss out.
Revitalizing a product or brand has a positive outcome – you could even limit the promotion to only existing customers.
4. Treat Customers As People, Not Data
Use AI in places that enhance customers’ experience, like assisting with their searches. But the chatbots often found in the “help” section are often experienced as frustrating experiences creating a negative response in the customer.
People often want empathy and a discussion to solve their “help” problem. AI’s are logical in their approach, but people are rational and sympathetic, offering an empathic interaction that is often needed.
Always have an option to talk to a human. Treating people as humans goes a long way to keeping them as customers. Customers need to feel they are being heard.
5. Be Easy To Understand
Having the best product on the market does not automatically assure dominance. A competitive company may outsell yours with an inferior product. Customers perhaps find their service and marketing materials more pleasing. The more the interaction resonates with them, the more likely they will put their money with their feelings and want to shop with you. This is essential to retaining customers – making them feel you understand them.
6. Provide Quick Delivery Options
Some customers wait weeks to receive a product; some may need an item as soon as possible. Providing the option to get it days or weeks sooner will encourage some customers to return because they are aware they can get products faster from your company than they could from your competitors.
7. Make Returns and Refunds Easy
While mistakes happen, ensuring a customer never buys from you again, all you have to do is to make returns difficult and refuse to offer refunds. As you can see, making the process reasonable and pain-free is crucial.
If customers feel they can count on you to treat them fairly after the sale rather than disregarding them, they will trust you with future purchases.
8. Word-of-Mouth Support
You may associate the impact of word-of-mouth marketing with gaining new customers. However, it is crucial to note that word-of-mouth customer advertisement can also be used for customer retention. Good word-of-mouth discussion regarding your products builds consumer confidence.
It would help if you actively encouraged word-of-mouth support however you can. The more visible and acknowledged your loyal customers feel, the more likely they will use their own online and in-person channels to share impressions about your company.
9. Make Customers Feel Good About Getting Associated With You
Though it might not get openly admitted, there are brands with which the public may want to be associated, while others would bring them embarrassment. In addition to sharing values with customers, another good strategy for retaining customers is to make them feel good about associating with you.
Suppose shoppers know that a portion of their purchase will go toward fighting childhood cancer or rebuilding the Amazon rainforest. In that case, it can provide a long-term feel-good factor that incentivizes future purchases.
10. Offer Direct and Empathetic Customer Service
Some companies are infamous for terrible customer service. A big part is how hard it is to speak with a representative directly. For example, it might be due to an overreliance on AI chatbots and phone services, or customers cannot easily navigate to the correct department.
Excellent customer service is a cornerstone of customer retention. When you offer customer service that is empathetic, easy to navigate and direct, it can go a very long way to helping you create a lasting, positive relationship with consumers.
11. Build a Customer Profile
By making a profile based on your existing, long-term customers rather than focusing on new customers, you can lean toward attracting those who are likely to become part of your dedicated consumer base. Examine all the things that your retained customers have in common. Ask yourself what separates them from one-time shoppers.
Age, income, gender and lifestyle could be essential to marketing more accurately to those likely to buy from you more than once.
12. Provide “Buy Now, Pay Later” Options
The “buy now, pay later” new model has exploded in popularity recently. A 2018 poll found that 76% of consumers were more likely to shop where payment plans were available
B2B Buy Now, Pay Later is a short-term, interest-free financing type that lets business buyers delay payment or spread the purchase cost over time while the seller gets paid straight away. More and more businesses are using a B2B payment method to buy materials or products for specific projects or jobs, office supplies, light fixtures, home office furniture, laptops and business services.
The BNPL model gives a budget-friendly and transparent method of making purchases, and its growing popularity suggest customers could favour shopping with businesses that make such payment options available.
13. Use Gamification To Keep Customers Invested
Gamification is a crucial customer retention strategy, tapping into customers’ desire to feel engaged and rewarded beyond a single transaction. Retail spaces use gamification by turning the dollar amount of money spent in their stores into points applied toward future purchases. This approach provides a good reason for a shopper to become a repeat customer; the money they spent yesterday becomes the discount for tomorrow’s purchase.
Retained customers may make purchases repeatedly, storing points for a significant discount on an item they might not be able to afford otherwise. Through fun little rewards or missions, you can transform the shopping experience into a long-term adventure for shoppers, using mechanics that one had only expected to find in an online role-playing game.
14. Become Difficult To Replace
Being unique in a positive sense and very hard to replace can be a brilliant strategy for customer retention. After all, it is easier to hold on to customers when they understand that they cannot easily replicate their positive experience with your brand elsewhere in your industry.
Regardless of the type of business you own, online or brick-and-mortar, some approaches will work better than others. What is vital is to create retention strategies to improve customer experience – satisfied customers come back.