When it comes to customer loyalty and customer retention in 2017 compared to 20, even 10 years ago, you can see a drastic change. According to research administered by Accenture, “Just over one-quarter of U.S. consumers (28 percent) feel very loyal toward their providers.” This means that the other 72 percent are open to switching if the opportunity provides itself. This is why customer retention marketing is becoming so important to businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries.
As business owners, marketers, and consumers ourselves, it is important that we understand the important new trends in customer retention marketing and reducing client churn. If almost 3/4ths of your customer base can be won away by improved customer service or lower costs, you need to be thinking about what you can do to combat those things before your customer leaves.
In this article, we are going to explore what it means to build out a holistic customer retention marketing plan. By that, we mean a plan that puts the customers first and is geared towards making them customers for life. Let’s get started.
What does it mean to be “holistic?”
In the world of customer retention marketing, to be holistic means to pursue aspects of your marketing plan that benefit the entirety of your customer base. Whether that means offering free shipping on products or offering 24/7 customer support, focusing on an improvement to the whole rather than one or two areas will lead to a better customer experience.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t segment your audience and treat all customers the same way. It does mean that you should understand the differences that each of your customers have and how you can best serve them despite those differences. This leads us to our first stepping stone in building a holistic customer retention strategy.
Focus on high-value customers
If you are hoping to allocate your budget for the best possible returns, focusing on high-value customers is one of the best ways to do so. In terms of ROI, focusing on high-value customers first simply makes sense.
However, this is not the only reason we are saying to focus on them. By rolling out new campaigns focused on your high-value customers while keeping your whole customer base in mind, you can improve your services for everyone involved.
Protip: Use Net Promoter Score surveys to find out which of your customers are fall into the categories of passives, detractors, and promoters. Promoters are essentially high-value customers as they are most likely to promote a positive influence of your brand. Focus your efforts on retaining them and the rest will come after.
Solicit feedback and then do something with it
Far too often, organizations and companies will solicit feedback and then do nothing with it. What is the point of asking your customers what their experience is like if you have no intention of improving said experience?
According to Lynn Murray, AVP of Marketing Solutions at Sprinklr, “it’s a serious risk for brands not to know their customers.” And she is right. You need to know your customers inside and out so that you can provide them with what they need. If you’re especially good, you will know what they need before they do.
Do your best to solicit feedback at each logical step in the process. Someone just received their order or purchase? Ask them how the process went. Did they have a complain that was then addressed? See if there is something your company could have done better. The most important thing is to use the information they give you to constantly improve the customer experience and journey.
Protip: Negative reviews won’t hurt your business as much as not responding to them has the potential to. Also, customers will appreciate a business that can accept and amend their mistakes in a timely manner. That being said, take each negative comment or review with a grain of salt, but the few that matter should be handled quickly, effectively, and efficiently.
Always work on improving the customer experience
Going back to our first point on how improving the customer experience for your most valuable customers will improve it for everyone. The same methodology applies to this aspect of a holistic customer retention marketing plan. The most important part of improving a customer’s overall experience is by focusing on their customer journey.
The customer journey can be described as the sum of all experiences the customer has while interacting with your company. By focusing on keeping a consistent, measured approach to each aspect of the journey, you will have far more success than by focusing on just small parts of the process to improve.
Most importantly, a remarkable customer experience is impossible in this day and age without personalization. Enterprises looking to go above the average in this area need to personalize the customer experience at each possible touch point. Harnessing a personal relationship with a customer makes them far more likely to remain loyal to your company.
Protip: Companies should focus on the 3 Es of customer experience: ease, efficiency, and emotion. By focusing on these aspects, you are able to build both trust and transparency, two things that customers value very highly.
Continue adding value post-sale
Another key aspect of customer retention marketing that has changed is adding additional value to the customer post-sale. Now, sale doesn’t necessarily have to be a product or service, it simply can be described as the time an action is completed by a customer. By staying relevant past this point, you are telling the customer they are important to you and you want to continue your relationship.
Part of this post-sale strategy can include sending out a newsletter, relevant articles, and product usage tips. It also almost goes without saying, but should your customer complete an action or sale, you should send them a thank you email or note. In 2017, a confirmation/thank you email is a necessity for customer retention.
Protip: Another way of keeping customers engaged is by sending them replenishment reminders (if you sell a replenishable product). Even remind them of something like a service, such as a haircut or oil change, can be the spark they need to come back to your company for more. Don’t ignore your customers post-sale, think of the sale as simply the beginning.
Every interaction counts
The final thing to keep in mind when constructing your customer retention marketing plan is that every interaction counts. No matter how big or how small, every time you interact with a customer, you should have a consistent brand message you are sticking to.
In order for your strategies to be truly holistic, you need to keep your customers engaged at every stage of the customer journey. Use the tips we have laid out and keep in mind the customer from the start. If you do these things, your success is all but guaranteed.
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