In business, three important goals are inquiries, customers, and sales. If you have to survive then achieving these goals is necessary. The problem is many companies focus on getting more new customers but don’t spend much on customer retention strategies so that your existing customers make more purchases. This strategy is the key to drive your company revenue which many of them neglect.

Studies show that generating new customers costs more than to maintain the existing customer. If your old customer is not happy with your service then you may lose them and also they will share their customer experiences with their near ones which could harm your company reputation but retaining your customers can increase your profits as they spend more than the new customers. Customers who already have a relationship with you and know about your service, it will be more effective to sell products to them. 10-20% chances are that you may convert the inquiry into your customer and complete your sale but the percentage for the same scenario is much higher around 50-60% with retained customers.

When your sales increase then your workload also increases so administrative tasks become tedious so hiring the best virtual assistant services can be very helpful in managing your routine work as you just need to assign work and it will be done. They work in tandem with your business partners, customers, suppliers to manage effectively cutting your operational costs, increase productivity, and save your time. Virtual assistant operates from a remote place like home as an independent contractor

The company can differentiate how many new customers and existing customer sales were done through customer surveys and Customer Retention Rate (CRR) is a great way to calculate this data. This will also help the company to make a better strategy for future customers. There is a formula to calculate CRR which is very simple and can be used by all small and big firms. If the rate is 100% that means you have not lost any customer but your target should be around 80% to remain strong as achieving 100% may not be achieved.

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CRR = ({Customers at the end of a period – New customer generated during that period} / Customers at the start for a period) x 100

Different online customer retention strategies

Regain trust: There might be those customers in your data who know about your product but for some reason, they have not purchased for a long period. It is easier to reactivate those customers and the best way to increase your revenue. By contacting them you make them realize that you still care and value them. You can contact them as early as possible so that the latest and upcoming offers can be informed to take benefits of discounts. Also to make them purchase again online, consider giving them some offers like a gift certificate or a promo code or some points which they can use towards their purchase, and the X amount is adjusted in the payment bill which will surely make a customer happy. Not stopping there, if you want to bring back your customer then regularly following up is very important but it should not be in an annoying way. This is an excellent strategy because once they start purchasing they can become your most loyal customers.

Loyalty programs: One of the most widely used strategies is to reward customers for regular purchases popularly known as customer loyalty programs. A perfect example is airlines have been using this strategy where customers use those benefits to its fullest. For online purchases, you can offer loyalty points for X amount spent on the purchase. Blended with a product that is very competitive in the market and excellent e-commerce customer service, loyalty programs will be able to increase sales and improve customer retention. A loyalty points system is a better option because a customer can keep a track of their points and their expiry dates and sometimes browse your website for purchase just to use those points. Many times customers end up purchasing more to use the loyalty points. Rewards can be based on a single purchase but of a higher amount or many purchases of small amounts.

Paid membership: Another strategy is offering paid membership with benefits like extra discounts, free shipping, and many more. These members’ data will be separate so when they log in and search for a product online they can know that for being a paid member they are getting an extra discount than what others are getting. However, this strategy can work well with loyal customers which will increase their commitment to your business and also they know a fee has been paid so they will continue to buy more from you only.

Timely promotions: It is important to have promotions at a regular period as it keeps customers interested in your product and website. Suppose there is an online sale in August then send emails and SMS to your customers at regular intervals to remind them of the sale so that they are ready for purchase.

Single order for regular purchases: Here let us take an example of medicines or supplements which you know from your data that customers buy monthly. For them, you can give the option of subscribing for regular deliveries which will save your customers time by not ordering it again and again. With this, you also get a guaranteed customer purchase monthly.

Gamification: Enjoyably interacting with your customers will improve customer retention. You can conduct an online contest or maybe a survey regarding online shopping or any other topic to understand what customers are thinking as this may help in planning your business.

Product recommendations: Based on what customers are browsing on your website you can send recommendations relating to the same product. A customer might not be aware of other brands of that product in the market but your recommendation can help in making the purchase.

Easy return option and quick delivery: Major concern for a customer when buying a product online is in how many days they will get the product and what happens if the product is not as expected. The quicker delivery you manage your customer will be happier and this aspect plays a huge factor as online competition is increasing. Also if you ease the option to return the product within a timeframe this will give your customer peace of mind and shop freely without any worry. With the return option, you can also ask for the reason through which you will know what the problem with the product is either color issue or incorrect description. This way you can rectify those errors which may have been missed when uploading on your website.

Offers for a special occasion: When customers sign-in to your website they enter their details as well as date of birth or anniversary. An e-card for wishing on a special occasion or a special discount for that particular day is the best way to make your existing customer special. This will also build personal relationships improving customer retention.

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Customer Service experience: Delivering the best level of service is very important so for every purchase it is better to check with the customer regarding their experience with the shopping. You can get repeat customers through excellent service but poor service will force your customer to go away to your competitors. After every purchase, it needs to be checked whether all the queries were answered promptly, how they were treated and any problems they faced, hence after-sales service becomes very crucial. 

Convert complaints into satisfaction: It is possible that sometimes your customer might not be happy with a product or a service and many instead of complaining they just stop buying from your website as they may feel it will not make any difference or amount of time taken to approach you for complaining. These customers will share with their closed ones which could spread with others. Customers who complain think that the company will listen to their problem and provide a solution so that the bond between the two remains in the future. Therefore, complaints should not be ignored and reply on time. If you cannot resolve the matter in favor of the customer try to explain your reason in a way that the customer understands and appreciates it. You can also provide a goodwill gesture voucher or some extra points into the customer’s account for future use. This way you are not using your money to give to a customer but also giving more opportunities that customer buys from your website.

So we hope that by reading these strategies, focus to retain customers will be given priority. In short, a reassurance has to be given to your customers that you care about them and their needs and that their suggestions will be taken into consideration for future changes. To increase customer retention rates you need to treat your customer with respect, make them feel they are valued, cater their needs, and build a strong relationship. One has to be very patient when implementing this strategy because you will not get the results instantly.