4 tips for boosting customer retention
Winning new customers may earn you kudos from your sales colleagues, but how do you keep hold of the customers you already have? Michael King speaks to three experts to find out
Successfully acquiring new customers is an achievement in itself for any B2B brand, and as a result, many seem to be focusing more on customer acquisition, as opposed to retention.
But increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can actually generate 25% to 95% more in profit compared with customer acquisition, according to marketing automation software brand Act-On. The reason for this is because your operating costs to serve those clients will decrease over time, as a result of more returning customers buying from you.
So what can you do to keep existing customers on board? Here are a few practical tips.
1. Decide on who should take ownership of the customer relationship
Maureen Blandford, CMO, Software Improvement Group: The most important thing to understand is who should take ownership of the customer relationship; you can then figure out what the path to customer retention is. For example, in a context where the intensity of a post-sale interaction is high, such as data warehouse sales, marketing will have very little impact on retention rates. This is because customer satisfaction will be dependent on whether the delivery team delivers successfully and that the client is serviced appropriately, not as a result of anything the marketing team has done.
Where the intensity of a post-sale interaction is much lower, such as in business insurance, marketing will have a much higher impact on customer retention because they’re likely to own the customer experience, particularly where there’s a once-yearly sales cycle with little customer service involved.
2. Increase engagement by identifying your customer's micro-moments
Tamara Grunebaum, VP development and operations, Theory Global: It’s important to consistently engage with your customers to anticipate their next steps. Work on your customer moments of truth (where your customer experience is weaker) in order to solve customer problems. It's also important to focus on customer micro-moments i.e. stages and opportunities you can create to raise your value proposition.
Addressing micro-moments will also help you solve customer problems. The five customer micro-moments we recommend you focus on are: ‘I want to go’, ‘I want to do’, ‘I want to know’, ‘I want to buy’ and the ‘I need help’ moments because these will help you identify what your customers needs are at each point in their journey.
3. Develop a customer-driven culture
Tamara: The goal for any brand should be to develop a customer-driven culture throughout the organisation. In the words of author, TED Talks speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek: "Customers will never love a company until employees love it first." Customer experience should concern every member of your organisation, whether they’re directly in touch with the customer or not.
So get your staff involved at every level of the company. Organise workshops, find opportunities for team building and remain transparent with your employees to ensure they’re involved and committed to improving the customer journey.
4. Build a robust community around your brand
Alex Packham, founder and CEO, ContentCal: Building a community of people, including customers, employees, partners and investors, around your brand is critical for retaining customers, and it’s very much about uniting people behind a story and your beliefs in business. You've got to give people something to buy into.
To do this, you need very loyal and vocal customers who will advocate your product or service to others and essentially act as 'fans'. Once you've managed to create a community around your brand, it's important to allow them to share their experiences of using your product or service. This could be via events and online webinars. By doing this, you’ll ensure customers become more invested in your company and are therefore less likely to leave you for a competitor.