Retaining customers is not easy. Customer retention can be tough, because not only do you have to invest in a long-term working relationship, but you also have to keep customer churn rates low and raise sales opportunities. Clarity when it comes to off-site customer retention programs can save the day for you. Customer retention programs are the best way to keep customers engaged.
When customers are retained, the churn rate lowers, company revenues rise and profitability shoots up. Companies retaining as little as 5 percent of their customers can grow profits by as much as 95%. Customer retention programs can only work if they are mastered and planned. It’s not just about skill or intelligence, but perseverance and execution as well. Here’s how you can implement customer retention programs off-site that work wonders for any business.
#1 Customer Onboarding: Value Your Customer
Customer retention programs must start with customer or client onboarding. This is the process of welcoming new customers to use your services or products to achieve their goals. An excellent onboarding shows customers the value of the service or product from day one. Apart from instant gratification, onboarding can also empower your client and instil a sense of loyalty.
Self service or interactive, whatever your approach, a good client onboarding program can go the distance when it comes to stepping up to retention challenges. You need to make the customer feel valued and elicit data from them about how to align your efforts with their expectations. Start-up services, video tutorial webinars and community websites can serve as a handy and convenient tool for welcoming and engaging clients. Research by Forrester found onboarding takes 2 to 12 weeks for those that implement partial onboarding with basic capabilities for workflow. One call is not enough, sustained efforts to connect with the customer matter.
#2 Create Follow-Ups
Research estimates that companies themselves realise customer retention is cheaper to the tune of 82% being in agreement with the value of this. A KPMG report showcases that customer retention is the key driver of a company’s revenue and growth. It pays to retain customers. Taking care of existing customer requirements costs less and pays more. CRM is critical here.
Clearly identify customers that receive most of your attention and use time efficiently on the right clients. For clients with large accounts, F2F interactions matter and follow ups are essential and frequent. For medium sized accounts, newsletters and phone calls as well as seasonal price offers can help. For small account holders, reach customers through email marketing or newsletters and get the best of automated technology to ensure you stay connected with your customer.
#3 Identifying Risk Customers
If the client is not satisfied with the way business is done or your product, they will resort to your competitors. To prevent churn, risk customers need to be identified. Research by Forrester shows it costs companies 5 times more to acquire customers than retain existing ones. Being proactive when it comes to customer care is one component of effective customer retention. Frequency of product use and nature of questions or complaints are the key to understanding what makes your customer tick.
Check out which customers have a disrupted buying pattern and which customers are slipping away because you did not recognise the red flags in the working relationship well in time. CRM software also provides an overview for the business and determines how different businesses need different approaches.
Identifying risk customers within the database can help you to work on their loyalty levels and prevent customer churn. Remember that a repeat customer has as high as 60-70 percent chance of converting into a closed sale. Adobe found two time customers are 9 times more likely to purchase your products and services again, as against a potential new customer.
#4 Winning Back Lost Clients
When winning back lost clients, the goal is to work on what is lacking and provide customers with what they are looking for. While the chances of selling to new customers is estimated at 5-20 percent, it is as high as 20-40 percent for repeat customers. Customers need to feel they can buy from you again. Use tailor made offers and personalisation, because you already know the customer, just as they know your brand and your company.
Though it is critical to fill the funnel, it is also important to keep existing customers happy. But you need to remember that customer retention is as much about customer service as it is about rewards. Close to 68% Millennials in one survey said they would not show brand loyalty, if the customer retention program and strategies are not satisfactory. The reasons why these programs generally fail is when they fail to evoke the client’s interest or earning points for rewards is hard. Loyalty is not just a phrase. It signals every phase and touchpoint along the consumer’s journey.
#5 Not Just About Earning Points or Dollar Discounts
Loyalty programs are not just about points or rewards or even discounts. Community driven membership loyalty rewards are a unique approach. Consider AmEx’s Small Business Saturday, where those supporting small businesses post Thanksgiving on a Saturday get discounts. Referral points, points or rewards for switching brands, and multi-visit loyalty rewards are some other equally effective retention programs. Multi-level or multi-brand customer rewards, VIP clubs and the personal touch can also make a difference. Brand exclusive memberships are also in vogue, like Amazon Prime or Walgreens Balance Rewards.
Customer retention and loyalty programs are catching on fast. Retailers like McDonalds, Starbucks and Ulta Cosmetics lead the fray. Winning back customers, keeping them loyal and impacting future spending decisions are all important for businesses. Loyalty programs are a must have for big merchants and small retail brands too, whether it’s Sephora or Caribou Coffee or even your local mom-and-pop store.
Rolling out multi-tier awards for elite customers provides strong incentives for repeat purchases too. This is because it drives ongoing engagement as spend to access levels are renewed every year. Those with multiple tiers can get the biggest bang for their bucks, when it comes to customer retention. Having a live chat or contact form are some off-site retention programs that can help. Apart from a driven sales team on site, such off-site customer loyalty programs also help. See every complaint as an opportunity for growth and your business will thrive.