It doesn’t take much for a customer to leave a company. There are just too many options and each is usually just as good as the other.
And the studies are quite telling.
82% of customers in the US stop doing business with a brand that ignores them. Another study found that half of their respondents left an online purchase because the page was too complex.
So, it’s very easy for a brand to lose a customer. But, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests focusing on customer retention pays rich dividends as well.
For example, increasing customer retention by just 5% can double your profit margin. Likewise, loyal customers also spend 33% more than new clients.
Finally, let’s not forget that it’s always easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new one. Someone who’s bought from you obviously trusts you. A new client, on the other hand, will need some convincing.
So, let’s take a look at six common customer retention mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1 — Not Being Proactive Enough
You took the time to craft an amazing marketing plan. It worked. You got tons of leads and sales. At this point, it’s easy to think your work here’s done.
Too many businesses fall for the illusion that once a customer’s in, the selling will take care of itself. They then begin to focus on getting more customers, often ignoring the ones they have.
In fact, you’re better off focusing on your existing customers than getting new ones. Let’s not forget that an annoyed customer is going to be very vocal about their displeasure.
Start by earmarking any inefficiencies that may exist in your business processes. Are there any bottlenecks between customer service and marketing? Any unattended inquiries? How many support tickets did you receive and how many did you answer?
While such a review process is complicated, you can use a simple workflow software to highlight problems here. These tools can automate business processes so that you can focus on the real issues.
Similarly, consider using a cloud based accounting tool like Freshbooks to faster invoicing and better revenue management.
Likewise, make sure your customers can contact you in as few steps as possible. All pages on your website should link to a contact us page.
You can also include a chat box on your website to enable instant communication, as in the example above from Spruce.
Mistake #2 — Sending Canned Customer Support Messages
Keeping your online presence consistent and appealing is one thing. Sending dispassionate, unappealing communications to subscribers is another.
Many companies forget that a customer complaint is an opportunity for them to prove themselves. Sure, templated responses help speed things up.
But, what if the issue needs a personal touch? More importantly, how do you tell the simple issues from the complex ones?
Customers are also usually eager to share what they want with the brands they follow. This can be either a suggestion on a support ticket or a comment on Facebook.
Having a review section on your website can help you gain more insight into what your customers are thinking.
Once you have some idea into what your clients are asking, consider asking yourself how you can make a more personalized offer to them.
For example, Kk S. in the screenshot above states he/she has trouble sleeping during the summer months. Joy Organics can easily use this piece of information to customize offers during the hotter months for the client.
Finally, pay special attention to your website’s Call to Action (CTA). These are the buttons and pieces of graphics that coax the user to take a desired action.
Users usually ignore CTAs like “Click Here,” “Buy Now,” etc as they aren’t strong enough. Instead, you need to find a way to add the benefit of the CTA in its text, too.
For example, this page makes great use of CTAs. Notice how the big red button also tells what the pay off of clicking on it is, which is getting a free strategy call.
Mistake #3 — Not Taking Social Media Seriously
Every company and its subcontractor has a Facebook and Instagram account. But, being successful on social media needs a lot more effort than posting a few updates a month.
Now, everyone knows that social media is great for customer retention. It’s “social” after all which is obviously good for communication, particularly of the informal type.
But, just what are the advantages?
You can listen to your customer’s unfiltered views there. And they can listen to yours. In other words, both the parties can act like human beings and not dispassionate capitalist entities.
Social media’s also another avenue for your clients to communicate with you. Sure they can go through the official channels to drop a support ticket. But, it’s so much easier to just send a message on Facebook or Twitter.
To use social media for customer retention, you need to make it a more central part of your retention strategies. Firstly, make sure you have a consistent brand voice. Take this page for example:
Now, check out Gili Sport’s social channels:
Note how they follow the same way of writing and presenting in all their channels. Next, you can also craft compelling stories around your products on social media.
Gili Sports content isn’t all about products, they target the activity their products are a part of as well.
You can also use a social media agency to manage your campaigns for you. Since they work on social platforms 24/7, they can help you use social media for customer acquisition and retention.
Mistake #4 — Creating a Poor Web Experience
Maybe you did manage to convince a prospect to sign up with your email newsletter. But, have you considered how your website design might be affecting their perception?
A bad user experience can be more damaging to your business than you think. For example, mobile users are five times more likely to abandon a task if the site isn’t mobile optimized.
75% customers also admit that they judge a business’s credibility based on their web design. Simply put, your website’s design is of make or break importance to customer retention.
But, just what does a good web design mean? After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? So, what may be a good design to you, may repel your audience and vice versa.
But, there are ways to create an engaging web-experience that everyone can enjoy. For example, if you are selling products, then you can use a modern B2B portal.
These not only look appealing, but make the overall shopping experience as pleasant and effortless as possible.
Likewise, if you are selling a professional service, then make sure you make accessing related content easy. For example, this page defines what a permanent establishment is, which is a fairly complex piece of law. But, the content links to related pieces that make it easier to grasp.
One more tip to remember — make sure your content is easily readable. Blocks of words aren’t exactly appealing to read, so write short paragraphs, use bullet points, and include eye-catching graphics to keep them interested and engaged.
Mistake #5 — Not Giving Your Employees The Right Tools
Not equipping your employees properly affects organizational performance on several levels. Your staff may try to find creative ways to do their job which can lead to inconsistent customer experience.
Next, not having the right tools will always lead to slow performance. This ties into the first mistake we talked about above. A tediously long workflow is a powerful incentive to procrastinate.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help you speed things up considerably.
For example, your team may use email and spreadsheets to talk about plans that can lead to significant delays. Using a tool like Slack can greatly speed things up.
Likewise, anyone using WordPress knows the reformatting horror that ensues when transferring content. You can easily get past that by using something like Wordable.
Smartlook is another great insights tool that you can use to see what customers did when they came to your site.
Finally, you really needn’t wait for an IT team to create custom apps either. A no code platform can help your support teams make them on the fly.
Mistake #6 — Neglecting Loyal Customers
We saved the biggest for the last. The problem with loyalty is that it’s easy to take it for granted. Once someone has expressed their faith in your service, you may think they don’t need any more attention.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. Loyal customers deserve (and expect) greater attention than the regular ones. They went above and beyond to help you, after all.
Some signs of a loyal customer are —
- They don’t consider price an issue, they’re in it for the experience
- They support you on social media, sometimes very vocally
- They ask a lot of questions
- They willingly give testimonials
- They identify with your company’s mission statement
You need to prioritize customers that show these signs. And, having a thorough customer loyalty program is the best way to do so.
Consider giving generous discounts on new products or free upgrades to your loyal customers. You can even take a leaf out of the Account-Based Marketing playbook and give one-on-one support to them.
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Globally, the cost of losing a customer is about $83 billion. Meaning, a lot of companies are failing to keep their customers.
This may be due to reasons beyond a company’s control as well. But, it still highlights a huge opportunity to save money and make the most of your existing resources.
Ultimately, you won’t be able to keep all of your customers from leaving. But, just how many can you convince to stay with you? The answer to that question will vary from company to company.