Drumming up leads, presenting them with a value proposition, and calling them to action takes a lot of work. Converting leads is no easy feat, but after the lead has been converted to a customer, the journey and work aren’t finished. Now you have to worry about customer retention.
The definition of customer retention is to keep your customers coming back for more repeat purchases...and to keep your competitors from poaching them. And in the digital era, your strategy for customer retention needs to be more than a friendly, “Come back and see us again,” after the customer buys your product or service.
Let’s take a closer look at the best ways you can retain customers to grow revenues.
Email Marketing and List Building
The first way to retain your customers is to engage in list building and email marketing. These two tactics help your business avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” dilemma by repeatedly reaching out to them with offers and promotions. In addition to emailing promotional offers, your email marketing strategy could also entail educational content. Not only does email marketing increase customer retention, but it also helps convert more leads.
The vast majority of leads don’t take action after the first interaction with your business. The old rule of seven adage states that leads need to be presented with your offer seven times before most will make a purchase. More conversions and higher customer retention are pivotal to the success of your business, so start your email marketing campaign as soon as possible.
Loyalty & Customer Appreciation Programs
Loyalty and customer appreciation programs make your customers feel rewarded for engaging with your business or making a purchase. Some of the more complex loyalty programs, such as a grocery store card that saves money on gas after you’ve accumulated enough points, require the customer to first sign up and exchange personal information (phone number, zip code, email, etc.). This can be annoying and cumbersome in some situations depending on your industry and loyalty program.
Fortunately, there are simpler loyalty programs that don’t require the customer’s personal information. For instance, something as simple as a paper punch card at a sandwich shop will help retain customers. In addition, you can print promotions and discounts on paper receipts. If you already have the customer’s email, such as in an e-commerce scenario, you could even email a discount code or coupon after the customer makes a purchase.
We love the customer appreciation cards from Fastlane Savings - a great way to provide additional savings to customers. Every time they save money, they think of you!
Rock Star Customer Service
Have you ever had a bad customer service experience? If you have, I bet you’ll remember it for the rest of your life. There seems to be nothing more infuriating than being put on hold for hours on end, being given the run-around as you’re transferred to different departments, or dealing with a support representative who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
After having one of these negative experiences, did you feel like you were treated fairly and did you want to continue doing business with that company? Or did you feel like leaving negative reviews and never making another purchase from that company again? Rock star customer service helps your customers feel like you’ve got their back, and that they can come to you for help when they run into problems.
Implement a Chatbot Solution
Believe it or not, some folks still don’t when they’re talking to a chatbot because the technology has become so darn sophisticated. I personally don’t think the technology is perfect yet, but it’s more than adequate to help increase customer retention. Chatbots help offload the number of droll and repetitive inquiries that would otherwise tie you up.
In addition, they help relieve the volume of customers who need to speak to your support department. Chatbots respond quickly and are available 24/7/365, so your customers will always have a way of seeking help – even if you’re not personally available.
We like ManyChat for quick, easy communication with potential customers.
Give Back to the Community and Humanity
Since millennials became the majority of the workforce, there has been a trend of favoring companies who give back to the community and exhibit social responsibility. For example, I’ve seen shoe companies who claim for every pair of shoes you buy, the company will give a pair of shoes to someone in need in x country.
Another popular example I see frequently is companies that will plant a tree for each purchase.
I’m not suggesting that you need to plant trees or try to change the world, but even small ways of giving back to the local community can reinforce your business’s image and bolster customer retention. For instance, giving a small charitable donation to a school organization is one way to give back. Any way you can make the community cleaner, safer, brighter, smarter, and happier will help earn respect.
We live Mission22 because we are veteran-owned and align with their mission to save veterans' lives. In fact, we are Mission22 ambassadors and use that in many of our promotions.
Actively Respond to Customer Inquiries
We live in an age of social media where it’s possible to spark one-on-one interactions in ways that weren’t possible in the past. Whether on social media, webinars, or a live chat system, some businesses make themselves available for direct inquiries, and you should too. It helps customers feel like your business is more accessible.
Interacting with customers on social media channels, yet again, helps you stay in the forefront of your customers’ minds. Plus, it gives you opportunities to further engage customers with your business. For instance, if a user has a question regarding how to use or fix your product, you could send a link to content on your blog as a means to further engage them.
Getting a customer to take action and make a purchase is only half of the battle. Earning customer loyalty is extremely difficult, and you need to have a conscious strategy and plan of attack for sustaining repeat business.
If you don’t have the skills or time resources to engage in email marketing and other digital endeavors to maintain your flock of repeating customers, you need to reach out for the help of a qualified professional today. Otherwise, you may lose past customers to your competitors.