Statistics suggest that even though 76% of companies believe that customer lifetime value plays a crucial role in the growth of an organization, only 18% of companies focus on customer retention. How often have you heard the phrase, “Acquiring new customers is way harder than retaining the existing ones?”
While it is true that customer acquisition plays a crucial role in the growth of an organization, it is also true that retaining customers is more accessible and saves a company’s resources.
If you want your business to strive for a longer tenure without a downfall, prioritizing customer retention is critical. The reason why client retention is emphasized more and more is because the competition for the audience’s attention is increasing every day.
Client retention enables you to make the most out of a company’s initial investment of time, money, and resources, and the last thing you want is for all of it to go to waste. In this guide, we will be walking you through every last detail to know about client retention and the best strategies to implement them in place.
What is Client Retention?
Client retention is the process of ensuring that your clients stay as a part of your company for as long as possible by making sure they are happy with the product and receive stellar customer service.
This process starts by ensuring that employees in all departments know the importance of providing consistent, high-quality customer service. It also means maintaining rapport with clients by following up often and showing appreciation for their needs and business goals.
In short, you want your client to be satisfied with your services or products so your business can thrive without any limitations. The primary objective behind client retention is to increase a company’s number of repeat customers and churn the maximum profitability out of each of them.
Customer acquisition indeed gives you the kickstart you need to bring in new customers. Still, the retention strategies nurture the client-company relationships to drive maximum revenue generation for a long-term period.
Why is client retention necessary?
Businesses with a solid customer retention strategy are more profitable, sustainable, and successful. A lot of companies make the mistake of focusing solely on the new clients over retaining existing ones. They are not clear on the benefits of client retention, and hence, they invest heavily in acquiring new clients.
If a business can retain more of its customers, it will see increased profit margins and a much higher chance of remaining competitive and succeeding. This can be achieved by focusing on customer experience and satisfaction.
By targeting the interested and returning customers, a company has a higher chance of successful conversion to a sale lead instead of implementing newer strategies to acquire new clients for the same service or product. Client retention also impacts the profit growth directly, allowing you to grow your business while generating handsome amounts in profits in the process.
It is well known that focusing on client retention is key to boosting and maintaining business success. Even statistics suggest that the success rate of converting a current customer to a sales lead is 60-70%, which is just 5-20% with a completely new client. However, there is a lot more to be gained by focusing on client retention, and here are some advantages:
– Higher profits
– Increased customer satisfaction
– Improved operational efficiency
How do you know if your business has an effective customer retention strategy?
A business has an effective customer retention strategy when it can keep a high percentage of its customers over a long period.
Achieving this strategy requires consistency in the customer service, a commitment to quality, and an understanding that customers are the business.
These three elements will help ensure that customers stay satisfied with the business and don’t leave for another company.
You will only be able to understand if your customer retention strategy is working if you experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. While a loyalty program might be effective for an established organization with a larger customer base, building trust might work for a beginner-level business.
Your primary objective with client retention is to keep your customer happy and keep their needs met. If your customers are happy, they will come back for more, be it now or any future chance they get.
So, your key marker to check the effectiveness of a client retention strategy for your business is to keep an eye out on the recurring customers. If you find your customers returning for more, chances are that your retention strategies are working well.
When is the right time to invest in client retention?
Businesses with a solid customer retention strategy are more profitable, sustainable and successful. In an economic downturn, you need all of the customers you can get. By providing superior service and innovative offerings, you’ll be able to drive more revenue from your existing client base.
There is no “right” time for you to start implementing client retention strategies. If you want to upscale your business and drive better sales and profits for your business, it is quintessential that you invest your time and money into effective client retention strategies.
Generally, business gurus suggest that the correct timeline for focusing on client retention strategies is heavily influenced by the stage your business stands at.
There are five stages in a brand’s complete lifecycle, including:
Initiation or Just starting out
When you have just launched your store or your business, there is no scope for retention because you won’t have viable clients or customers to begin with. So, your first target is to start with client acquisition over retention. Prioritize strategies that will help you bring in more customers and establish a profit reaping customer base.
The second stage of a business’ growth is when it starts gaining the initial traction. This is where you have a bunch of customers with sporadic sales. So, your aim at this stage will be not just to acquire more viable customers but also retain the existing one. So, if you want an “starting” point for client retention, this is the stage where you begin.
You can either opt for email strategies or discount or loyalty programs to make the customers return for more.
The third stage of a business’ prosperity is when it starts seeing notable growth in its sales. While it doesn’t equate to being an e-commerce mogul, it is the stage where your business is getting substantial sales. This is where you need to start focusing more on retention over acquisition. Start a referral program, if required.
The penultimate stage is where the brand or business becomes a known name in multiple households. This is where people know your name, and you have a customer base with recurring and loyal consumers who consistently keep coming back for more. So, at this point, you need to drive the majority of your attention into retaining those loyal customers over-investing your resources on acquiring new clients.
The last stage is where you are a big name in the market. However, when it comes to implementing retention strategies, you will need to rely on marketing automation to take care of these processes for you.
What kind of client retention strategy you implement into your business is dependent on the niche your business is in. Also, when implementing these client retention strategies, you need to keep an eye out on the metrics and how well these strategies are working out in your favor.
7 Client Retention strategies that work in 2021
There are many client retention strategies that businesses can use to keep their customers coming back for more.
Invest in the onboarding process
Although we are focused primarily on customer retention here, we can’t overlook that customer onboarding is the stepping stone to a healthy and loyal relationship between the brand and the customer.
Reports from Wyzowl suggest that 86% of customers return after their initial purchase when a company actively educates them about the products and services. It further reiterates that 55% of customers tend to return a product and not return for future purchases because they didn’t understand the functionality of a product.
So, the onboarding process is crucial to a company’s growth. If you aren’t leveraging the correct resources and empowering your customer’s knowledge, the chances are that you are losing a potential long-term client.
One of the best examples of a fruitful onboarding experience is Airtable. The platform enables you to harness the power of spreadsheets for enhanced productivity and workflow. The best reason Airtable has a premium onboarding experience for a client is thanks to the comprehensive approach on the homepage.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the same:
Image courtesy – Airtable
Opt for user-generated content
User-generated content is a thing of today. Not every client you stumble across will like your strategies or the long list of content resources that you share with them. Instead, if your client has made business with you before, they will likely follow your journey on different platforms, including social media.
The best way to retain customers and further generate sales and profits is by building trust and a sense of community among the clients.
As a brand, you need to showcase how your existing customer base likes your products and services. Engaging with your existing customer’s appreciation of your brand makes it easier for other customers to persuade their decisions into making future transactions.
If you are a brand focused on selling products, encourage your customers to share pictures, especially on media-based social platforms like Instagram. Some customers will give into your wishes while some won’t. And, that’s fine.
Here’s a round of examples that Noom, a weight management application, does to engage their customers by sharing success stories of their existing customer base.
Image source – Twitter/ Noom
Improve your customer support
The key to client retention lies in customer support. If your customers don’t get the right level of support, they will not return for further purchases. Integrating an ideal client after-sales support can ensure pre-and post-sales profits.
You can integrate a live chat or help desk tool to help your clients navigate their problems and even get answers to their pre-purchase queries. Sometimes, the best way to transform an unhappy customer into a loyal one is by providing them with prompt customer support.
Also, getting customer feedback can further help you introduce viable changes to your services and products for generating better and quicker sales in the future.
You will be surprised to know that customers are consistently looking for prompt and consistent customer support. Also, customer support isn’t limited to just resolutions; it also involves loyalty programs and gifts that you can send as a token of appreciation to your recurring customers.
Introduce a customer loyalty program
Loyalty programs are themselves known as “customer retention programs” because that is exactly what they help with. These kinds of offers can not just retain customers but more profits to your business because they motivate customers to make more purchases to earn loyalty points and rewards.
So, this is a two-way benefit program where the customer gets rewards for their purchases while the brand reaps the benefits of repeat business.
The best way to introduce a loyalty program is by offering welcome points to the customers when they first sign up for your service. Keep the processes simple because when the clients witness how easy it is to earn rewards, they will come back for more.
You can either set up your loyalty program or integrate the automated loyalty apps to reward the customers for their actions in your store.
Following are some of the popular loyalty programs that you can draw some inspiration from:
Image source: Elf
Put personalization at the forefront
Clients want to know that a brand or business values them. While it is true that personalization seems to be a marketing tool leveraged mainly by small businesses, it is also true that big brands are hopping on the bandwagon too.
When it comes to personalization, it can be in the form of a social media mention or a quick thank you card addressed by the client’s name. Develop channels where the customers can reach out to your business directly and have their questions answered without any delays. It could be a client-exclusive Snapchat account, or it could be an exclusive contact email for the existing customers.
The moment customers have this mode of direct contact with you, it becomes more viable for your customers to rely on your brand and trust your products and services. Also, when conversing with a client via these exclusive channels, you need to ensure that you add personality to each message instead of rolling out a blast email with no emotions behind it.
Look back at your lost customers
If you want to find the best client retention strategy for your business, we’d recommend you look back at the ones you lost. While it is impossible to keep all the clients happy, what you can do is learn from the instances that are making them upset. It could be the poor quality of the product, the lack of responsiveness from the tech-support team, or it could be something else that you possibly didn’t know of or realize.
However, the best way to reduce churn is to learn from the mistakes and the loopholes that send your customers away. Looking at the customer complaints can effectively help you understand what it is that you are doing wrong.
If you are noticing similar patterns of complaints from multiple lost customers, the chances are that you are in the wrong as a brand.
Offer discounts or credits in return
Some brands and businesses are wary of offering discounts; however, that is where you need to step up. It is a common ideology for brands to think that offering discounts will make customers rely on discounts every time they purchase. This can cause an eventual loss in revenue generation.
However, the best way to retain customers and make them come back for more is when you offer a discount code or a credit on the next purchase they make. It can be as low as a 10% discount to keep them hooked. This strategy is also effective for dormant customers who haven’t bought from you for a long time. Dropping an email to them with a “special” discount code will push them to look into your products and services and then consider whether they want to move ahead with a purchase.
Statistics from Market Wired suggest that customers who browse through your business website with a discount coupon are 54% more likely to purchase than one without a discount.
Which client retention strategy is right for your business?
The best client retention strategy for your business depends on what you’re selling.
– A client retention strategy for a product with a high switching cost–e.g., a car–might be to offer incentives for repeat purchases or to offer financing options to allow the customer to make payments over time
– A client retention strategy for a service might be to offer discounts or free trials to those who refer new customers
– A client retention strategy for a subscription service might offer a price reduction for incremental extensions of the service.
Which client retention strategy you leverage for your brand or business depends on you. You can implement one of the few tricks we have mentioned down below, or you could implement a mix of multiple options. It all comes down to what you deem the best for your customers and your profits.
Your customers or clients are your business’ premium assets. The current customer base knows your products and services, your name as a brand, and the kind of satisfaction that you provide in the long run. They are here because they appreciate the type of service you are providing.
And, this is exactly what you need to leverage. Instead of wasting your time and resources on acquiring new clients (which is typically harder), you can invest the same resources for improving the user experience of the clients who have done business with you.
Be inclusive, persistent, and giving as a brand to retain the loyalty of your clients. It is just that simple.
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera