According to MarketingWizdom, the average business loses 20 percent of its customers annually. Simply by failing to care for their customer relationships companies are letting a fifth of their clients walk away. That statistic should be appalling. And if you own a business yourself you might be asking, “Is that happening to me? Am I doing everything I should from a customer retention marketing perspective?”

Unfortunately, if this is the first time you are thinking about it, the answer is probably no. Even worse, in some industries, that 20 percent number can reach as high as 80 percent! Anyone who runs a business knows that the scariest thing to encounter is an empty pipeline, so how has this become such a pervasive problem?

In the same way current always takes the shortest route in electricity, the answer is to this question is just as simple. The best way to grow customers is never lose them in the first place. This is easier said than done. But by following the beginner’s guide we have put together, your customer retention marketing plan will get the jump start it needs to bring that churn rate down and make your fear of losing customers a thing of the past.

Reduce Attrition

Every business loses customers. This is simply a fact that you are going to have to live with. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t customers that you can save. The entire idea behind customer retention marketing is making sure that your clients never become inactive, always know how to get in touch with you, and are constantly being sold on your company’s value even after the sale occurs.

A common stat that is used in customer retention marketing literature is that it is seven times more expensive to find a new client than it is to retain a current one, but there is a reason why this so often brought up. Think about that for a second. Seven times more expensive. That is a huge deal and a lot of wasted money if you write off every customer as soon as you make a sale.

In order to make sure that you never have to worry about that stat again, let’s get into a few of the specific ways that you can retain customers through retention marketing.

Inactive basically means dead

If you are working with a company, paying them every single month, and you haven’t spoken with them in three months, would you have even a second thought about quitting their service? No, right? Inactive customers may as well be closed accounts unless you do something about it.

On the other hand, customers who already know about your product and offering are the easiest to resell when done in the proper way. Sometimes this is as simple as reminding them that you exist. Other times it might be asking them why they are no longer buying from you. They might not even understand why until you ask them, so make sure that you are asking them.

Another thing to remember is that if you are able to win back a customer that was thinking about cancelling your service, they are most likely going to be an even more loyal customer the second time around. It’s up to you to never give them a reason to entertain those thoughts again.

Sell them and then sell them again

There are a lot of companies out there that focus all of their energy on the sale. They celebrate with group chants, cheers. Some of them even hit gongs. And you know what? They should. Finding a new client is a cause worth celebrating. Usually these sales come from hours on the phone and weeks of prospecting. So yeah, why not?

Here is what those companies shouldn’t do: abandon the customer before the ink is dry on the contract. If you want to lock in the sale and ensure that you won’t lose the customer the next time the they hear your voice, start selling them immediately.

This might look like asking them what questions they have, finding pain points and providing solutions. Do this in a professional and efficient way and not only will you have a loyal customer on your hands, you might have an in with a few referrals.

The idea is simple: Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.

Kill them with kindness

The best way to keep customers around is to provide them with such excellent customer service so that they not only stay with you, but enjoy your service enough to keep coming back and tell their friends about you.

Most business owners will tell you that word of mouth referrals are there bread and butter. What better in with a referral than if the person referring you has nothing bad to say?

With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few ways to kill them with kindness and provide extraordinary customer service.

Chivalry may be dead, but courtesy is in

A powerful yet simple way to improve customer relationships is to treat them politely, professionally, and pleasantly. This isn’t rocket science but people tend to be nicer to you if you are nice to them first.

This shouldn’t only be when you are dealing with customers, by the way. By making a habit of treating your employees and co-workers with the same level of courtesy that you would the CEO of the company, you can establish a culture of kindness that will speak volumes to anyone who comes into contact with your business.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t just happen by accident. You need to set the example and the standard for how your company intends to treat people and you need to be consistent. Whether your client calls your sales team or customer service, an intern or the President, they should be treated honestly and fairly, whatever that might look like.

Celebrate complaints

According to Trackur, 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to you. Not only that, but those who don’t complain to you will on average tell 15 of their friends. Word of mouth is a double-edged sword in that way.

So, what does this mean for customer retention marketing? Well, first, it emphasizes my previous point about customer service. You may not realize exactly what kind of reputation your company has, but no one ever heard of a company losing customers because they were too nice

Second, this means that when you receive a complain, you should celebrate. Not only that, but you need to be very proactive about fixing the complaint in any way that you can. Obviously there will be certain things you can’t fix, but by handling a complaint in the right way the first time, your customer might be happier with you than someone who has never had a complaint in the first place.

Remind them you exist

So far we have mainly been talking about active things that you can do to retain customers, but sometimes it’s as simple as reminding them you exist. Through a couple of simple customer retention marketing strategies, you can keep customers around simply by saying “Hey! We’re still here.”

Blogs

Blogs are a great way to keep your company at the forefront of your customer’s mind. Use this as an opportunity to answer frequently asked questions about your product. Or, for some, blogs are a great way to start the sales process over again.

Not only will actively updating and writing for your website keep you in your customers’ minds, but it will also help with your search rankings, potentially leading to new sales. Never underestimate the power of a well maintained blog.

Social Media

Social media is another fantastic way to remind clients about your business, but it can also be a turn-off if done incorrectly. Plan out the content on your social media pages and ensure that you aren’t coming across as salesy in the posts. You want aim for insightful and at arms-length, but you don’t want to be their best friend.

Surveys

If you read the section on complaints and thought, “I never get complaints,” maybe you need to start. A great way to do this, while reminding your customers about you, is through surveys.

However, when creating the survey, don’t seek out complaints with your questions. Instead, ask the questions you want answers to and leave a box open for customer comments. It may be that the only reason you haven’t received complaint is that your clients didn’t know how to get them to you. All you can do is give them a place to and hope for some valuable insight.

Loyalty Programs

One way to keep your brand in the minds of customers without much effort on your end is through loyalty programs. Create a program that rewards clients for staying with you. Whether it is a discount on their next purchase or some kind of reward they can work towards, incentivizing your clients to remain loyal might be all it takes to keep them around.

Personal Touches

Finally, make sure they know you care. An easy way to do this is by adding personal touches to your emails or branded messaging. This can be as simple as remembering their birthday or as complex as knowing what kind of food they like. Either way, take notes and treat them well. I promise they won’t forget it.

What next?

Now that you understand where to get started with customer retention marketing, the world is your oyster. But don’t wait for this to be a problem before implementing your strategy. Like we said at the beginning, you might already be losing your customers and not even realizing it.

Get out there. Make a change. Grow your business. It really can be that simple.