Written by Kushal Dev | Co-founder, Customer Guru
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar.
In a world replete with competition and various options that are readily available to the customer, it is critical for companies to assume a proactive role in maintaining their current clientele. Meticulous attention to customer relationships can help save costs and increase profits. According to Bain and Company, acquiring new customers can cost almost seven times more than trying to retain an existing one.
The challenge most companies face is that they are required to make constant amendments to their products and services in order to cater to the changing needs of the customer. If they fail to do so, the customer will move to a competitor in no time, and there will be nothing that the company can do to gain him back. However, without an ounce of doubt, customer retention is still THE most important thing for all businesses across the globe irrespective of their size. Understanding customer behaviour and enriching customer experience and ease of service are being looked at on a daily basis so it could improve customer retention. And no one’s complaining because retaining customers is guaranteed to bring in fantastic results for the organisation!
We have worked with several organisations and have implemented winning strategies for customer retention. Here are 6 proven tips to retain customers that are guaranteed to give immediate results:
Manage customer expectations
Loyal customers are your biggest assets and, as a company, you need to manage their expectations sooner than later. More often than not, a customer leaves your business because he did not get what he was promised. For example, if the complaints team promised a call-back to the customer in an hour, try to make that call within half hour. Imagine how good the customer would feel! This will not only ‘wow’ him but create an awesome customer experience that the he will want to talk about.
Be sure to keep your promises and never let customers feel that they are being betrayed.
Be proactive in your approach to service
I cannot think of making my purchases from any site other than Amazon! Keeping the amazing customer experience apart, Amazon gives me updates on my order delivery, it keeps me posted on change in prices of items I have saved as favorites, and sends me periodic emails on items that I would like to purchase. Amazon also understands that when I am browsing through its website, I may have doubts regarding a product. Instead of getting me to send an email or looking out for a contact form, it helps me get in touch with one of its executives by helping me with a ‘live-chat’option. This approach of anticipating my moves and providing me with solutions wows me. It is no surprise that I am going to be a loyal Amazon customer all my life.
The general tendency that organizations have is to resolve a problem after a customer complains. The resolution will make him happy, but aren’t we looking at WOWing the customers? This is where the proactive service comes in! So, don’t reach out to a customer only after he has raised a grievance. Rather, anticipate issues and go ahead and provide every support to ensure that those complaints are not even raised.
Understand the root cause – use customer feedback
The first step to increase retention and reduce churn is to analyse why the customers are leaving. But how will you understand that unless you ask? Hence, customer satisfaction surveys are extremely critical in improving customer retention. A good customer satisfaction survey will let you feel the pulse of your customers. The complaints and feedback will give you a heads up on where customers are facing problems and what matters most to them, helping you innovate to make better products and reach awesome service levels. Also, acting on the voice of customer creates a more personalized relationship that creates a bond for years to come.
Engage with customers and be available for them
Your lack of availability when the customer needs you the most is another source of his resentment. Most of your customers have migrated to social media portals such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Ensure that you are building deep and meaningful relationships with them by being available for them. The playing field has changed and it’s time for every organization to create a social media strategy to start connecting with customers. Post blogs, ask questions, give information and keep your customers engaged! Few topics that will instantly make the customer sit up and take notice are:
- Updates on products and services
- Customer testimonials
- News on campaigns, discounts and special offers.
This will increase customer engagement which will develop into a long lasting personal relationship.
Engage your employees
Customer retention has a lot to do with employee happiness and engagement. It is a cycle: an employee will treat a customer in the same way that an organization treats the employee. Employees that are happy, respected, empowered and appreciated will pass the same vibes to their customers. Subsequently, the engaged workforce can deliver excellent customer experience, fostering extreme customer loyalty and retention.
You could learn more about how to improve employee engagement from one of Vivek’s earlier article: 6 Employee Engagement pointers to ACE Customer Experience.[Update] One of our readers requested for more information on employee engagement and therefore we’ve added this link; it’s great to learn and improve our articles based on our reader’s feedback! (HINT: ACT on your customer feedback!)
Establish KPIs around Customer Experience
Customer retention is directly proportional to the customer experience. Hence, organizations must ensure that they are focussing on customer experience – not across one purchase but across the life-cycle of the customer. A good way to achieve this is to create key performance indicators that tied with customer experience metrics such as NPS. For example, an organization can incentivize performance of employees based on the level of service provided. If the level is below the agreed KPI then it directly affects the company’s goal and salary increments/bonuses.
Six easy yet powerful retention strategies that will allow you to build up your customer relations. Have you tried any of these? If not, then give them a shot and let us know of your experiences.