Having clients return to you after you’ve made the sale is a matter no less important than the efforts you constantly make to obtain new customers. After all, if the strategy is handled correctly, returning clients result in the growth of your revenue, agree? Although this seems like something self-explanatory, many retailers still underestimate the immense value of customer retention and continue to do business in the style of “one-off sales”. In this post, we gladly share the latest ideas that may help you gain more from your business.
Reasons why you shouldn’t overlook customer retention
Before skipping right to the ideas, let’s really get to the bottom of the question of what these strategies are for. You might not even be aware of what you’re missing out on!
For starters, acquiring new customers is not an easy task. To be fair, it’s not a cheap one either. But the resources that are constantly put into obtaining new clients and in generating leads can be cut if you give the necessary attention to those clients whose hearts you’ve already “won over”. Plus, it takes less effort and money to lead a client back to your store than to acquire a new one. Not to mention the fact that existing customers are more likely to purchase something again (and in bigger quantities) than someone who comes to you for the very first time.
So why miss out on obvious income? In the long run, if switching part of your focus on retaining customers, you’ll spend less, get a better return on investment, and build stronger relationships with your buyers. Sounds like a win-win.
Now that that’s clear, what should be done to make a customer come back, craving for more? It’s time to move on to the loyalty ideas.
Top ways to boost customer retention
1. Having a good product & quality service
Let’s face it, no strategy or tactic will be good enough to make a customer do business with you again if your products are far from perfect. The same applies to how satisfied clients are with your service. If a client had a poor experience with your company, what are the chances that they’ll return to you again?
Your customers want the full package: the ease of doing business with you, not spending much time on the process, and receiving a quality product and/or service. If you check all three, you’ll result in happier clients. Every little detail matters here: did the delivered product meet expectations, was communication on a good level, just to name a few.
Moreover, on the eCommerce example of a Magento online store, this means how fast and easy it was to find a product on your website as well as how simple it was to make the purchase. At times, making use of Magento consulting services and then tweaking just your store’s checkout can result in a great boost in customer retention.
The key to making your customers happy (apart from brushing up and face-lifting your products and service) is getting feedback from them and analyzing it properly. You can bring more value if you know what your customers liked or disliked, thus, don’t underestimate how vital it is to follow up and learn the opinions of your actual buyers. Mentioning specific things you can implement, a few examples could be asking a customer to rate you or leave a comment or review on your services, this can be done straight on your website or collected via email send-outs.
2. Do you even know how many of your clients return to you?
Prior to diving into your new action plan on effective ways to lay the breadcrumb paths that’ll lead your client back to you, it’s crucial to understand the numbers. We’re talking about the real percentage of returning clients that you have.
That said, measuring customer retention is another vital aspect of the process. Clearly knowing your customer retention rate (or CRR), may put you on track and help you fill in the gaps that could be improved.
How do you calculate your customer retention rate? Simply gather data on how many of your existing customers (out of all the clients that you have) have returned to you for more within a certain period of time. To get started, you may utilize one of the many customer retention rate calculators as well.
Once you’ve got the results, you must understand that this too isn’t a one-time deal, you must make sure to continue monitoring the customer data and tracking changes.
3. Allocating your top customers & segmenting them
Now that you’ve crunched up the numbers and analyzed your weak spots, you may move on to singling out your best clients. Who are they? What do they buy most often? Which products or services are they interested in most? Are there more customers who behave similarly?
Segmenting your buyers based on their customer behavior and preferences will allow you to both target your digital marketing efforts better and to bring better value to your customers experiences. By having the right data, you may predict user behavior and increase customer retention. So where do you begin? Apart from Google Analytics, there are numerous audience segmentation tools such as Segment or Kissmetrics that can give you a hand.
4. Client surveys (and how they can help you)
What’s the point of playing guessing games in search of the things your customers like when you can just ask? Although this is yet again another point that makes a lot of sense, business owners don’t use surveys to their advantage.
Be it a simple A / B selection or a more complex multi-field questionnaire, it’ll help. Choosing in favor of one of the many feedback survey tools that are available can save you some time and bring you immense results. After all, you can find out for sure what people want, what they give preference to, how to improve your work, and, as a result, understand your clients better to have them come back to you again.
Providing some more pointers, on the example of eCommerce, those online stores that have wishlist functionality have a bigger chance of making the sale. Users place desired items that they can’t buy just yet in their wishlists (f.e. it’s a product that they want someone to get them for their birthday or since the product is out of stock). These product selections can be put in emails or be flashed before the client’s eyes in multiple other ways to eventually stir the purchase into action. Moreover, with the case of gifts, it can lead to more new customers engagement to the online store as well. The wishlist feature is a tested tactic that helps to reduce the abandonment of carts, plus it’s a great way to retain your customers.
5. Loyalty programs can be rewarding
Building customer loyalty won’t happen at the snap of your fingers. It takes time and effort. Yet a great thing to begin with is establishing customer loyalty programs. Subscriptions and memberships have long proven themselves to be a working tactic. Giving returning customers perks for being your regulars is one way to do it, awarding them with statuses and ranks (such as VIP client) for doing business with you is another. By ranking clients, you can help them get better deals for buying more from you. Again, everyone wins!
But what else can be done? If you agree that “a friend of your friend is your friend”, don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of attracting more real buyers thanks to friend referrals. For example, give incentives to your customers who’ve referred your business to their acquaintances by providing them with a discount or unique offer in return for the favor.
6. Bonuses for the client’s initiative
Going further with the topic, with the recent leap of social media, and the ever-growing importance of online presence, no positive reference to your business would be “over the top”.
What are the best practices of stimulating your clients to be more engaged? For one thing, you could offer store credit or discounts to your clients for leaving comments about the products they’ve purchased. Such user opinions make for a great first-hand experience that your potential customers can fall back on, plus, you build credibility to your business, and at the same time inspire your existing client to buy something once again now that they have additional discount motivation. Pretty much the same thing can be offered for shares and reposts of your products on social media channels.
Without a doubt, the above are great strategies for a customer retention program to surely incorporate.
7. Personalizing your communication
Build a relationship with your existing clients, make them feel special, show them that you know their tastes and necessities. If you already have an email campaign running with the aims of congratulating your clients on their birthdays or holidays, great! But how can you take it to the next level?
Words are great, actions are better. Individual coupons and discounts can assist you for sure. Furthermore, rolling back a bit to the segmentation of your customers question, relying on the info that you’ve obtained, consider pitching selections of products that your client might like based on their previous buying experience.
As such, the sphere of eCommerce has long set its heart on functionality that automatically pitches “related items” or “other things you might like”, taking into account the user’s previous buys or the product combos that have worked well for other clients who’ve made similar purchases. Up-selling and cross-selling is something you may be neglecting (and it’s your loss then!).
8. Make sure that clients know about new deals
Ensuring all of your clients and prospects are informed about new products and hot deals is another customer retention strategy. It’s a basic way to get someone interested in trying the fresh innovations. And who if not the clients who already know you and your business well can assist you in the matter?
Timely client notification is a trick up your sleeve that you should immediately put into circulation if you haven’t done so as of now.
9. Have you tried reaching out to “lost” customers?
The clients who you’ve failed to win over are also another niche, deserving your attention. If something didn’t go well the first time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll go badly again. Why not give it another shot? After all, your product or service might have changed, and you could now have the things that you didn’t have before to offer to satisfy the customer’s needs.
Bottom line, don’t dispose of the logs with data on your “lost” customers. Try to figure out what turned sour and throw in your fishing-rod once more in order to cover the other side of customer retention.
10. Do you have the needed technology to put your strategy in practice?
Last but not least, apart from good and structured planning, you need to stock up with the right tools that can assist you in juggling your customer retention strategy. Depending on your business needs and aims, these can range from simple planners to full-stack combination solutions. Long story short, you must be organized in implementing specific actions for everything to run like clockwork.
Summing up, it’s never too bad to overdeliver. At least, in this case, you know for sure that you’ve done everything you could have. Having good products and services, knowing your clients, communicating with them properly, and giving them enough personalized attention is already a great step towards customer retention and building relationships to last a lifetime!