For any business to succeed, it is necessary to have returning buyers. After all, over one-third of the money spent online comes from returning customers. In addition to this, returning customers on an average spend 3 times more than that of one-time shoppers. To keep your customers happy, it is necessary to constantly come up with new and better ways to retain customers. A lot of businesses think that if they have a great product, customer retention will follow naturally. However, though it might be true in some instances, sometimes customers might just get bored and stop using your product. If you stop trying to develop your product or curb responding to their queries, they will start to get a feeling that you no longer care about them.
In this article, we have compiled 10 ways that you could use to improve customer retention and in turn boost profit with CRM. (How to retain customers)
1. Take measures to get an amalgamated view of all your customer data
These days different departments in an organization rely on each other for the day to day functioning of a business. Historically, the data of various teams in a company stood independent of each other. If a customer who has previously contacted by the Sales team is now contacting the Customer Service representative, the latter would have no knowledge about it.
However, to improve customer retention, data from various sources needs to be integrated with CRM acting as a central hub. Assume that your Sales team uses EngageBay CRM, the Marketing team uses Engagebay Marketing Platform and Customer Support team uses Engagebay Customer Service. So in order to create a unified view of statistics of every customer, you can add their newly generated data to the contact record in Engagebay CRM.
This creates transparency in the entire sales process. Moreover, since every team has a complete idea about the history of a customer with respect to the organization, it paves a way for developing new strategies for automation and giving personalized offers to customers.
2. Give targeted offers to customers and give special rewards to customers that are most profitable
With more data at your disposal, you can come up with better offers for individual customers. Depending on the purchase history of a customer, you can determine which type of offers best suit him/her. With some special discounts, you can make the customer interested in your product and convert their interest into an actual purchase.
For example, all the customers who have not purchased your product recently but have subscribed to your newsletter are the ones who might be actively interested in your product. Using the CRM software, you can create a list of such customers and offer them special discounts/deals on new products. This will help you bring the dormant customer back to life. Moreover, the customers will get a feeling that you have not forgotten about them and you still care.
Also, information in the CRM software will tell you which of your customers are the most valuable ones. In order to prevent such customers from turning towards competitors, you can give them special rewards. Giving personalized offers to customers makes them feel special and keeps them connected to the brand.
3. Re-engage inactive customers
If you are a fairly successful company, you are bound to have a lot of inactive customers. Though it might sound ridiculous, customers who have canceled your service or those have not shown substantial activity in recent times are more likely to buy your product that new prospects who have no idea about what your brand is. Since these people had liked your product at some point of the time, they decided to purchase it. Using the information in the CRM software, make a list of all the customers who have either canceled the services or have been inactive for a long time. Connect this information with your marketing automation tool and come up with special offers for them thus helping in customer retention. You can keep a track of users in this list for future outreach too.
People might have stopped using your product for a single thing they didn’t like about it. For example, a customer might have stopped using your cloud services because the competitor provided the same service at cheaper prices. To overcome this issue and bring the customer back, you can offer them free credits to use for a month. Since the person had been a regular customer of your product, he won’t have much problem in getting accustomed to your product and has a high probability of sticking to it later.
4. Build a transparent relationship with customers
In today’s world, business dynamics are constantly changing. It is essential for you to prove to your customers that you are worth their time and to be honest with them. These days, customer loyalty is one of the most valuable assets for customer retention. If your brand is receiving negative reviews, you must not try to curb them. Customers who are unhappy with your product with eventually take their distress to social media anyway. Just like negative reviews can go viral, businesses that are willing to go out of the way to solve the problems of their customers and satisfy them grabs attention too.
With the audience becoming savvier than ever, it is not possible to trick them into purchasing your product. With access to instant information due to a tremendous increase in the use of smartphones, customers can easily tell the difference between who is genuine and who is just trying to lure them into buying their product.
Though stock images are still a major part of advertising campaigns, they are slowly beginning to create lower impacts. Instead of depending on someone else’s visualization for your business needs, come up with your own graphics and images.
5. Create a community around your brand for top-notch customer retention
In today’s world, people interact with other people connected to your brand than the actual brand. A lot of brands have a community of loyal customers associated with them. Building a community gives anyone who likes the brand a place to talk about it and share their ideas. It gives a place for new people to connect with existing customers and receive feedback. Giving a platform for customers to express themselves will make them feel more loyal towards your brand. This can also promote brand evangelism by top contributors, thus improving customer retention.
Also, the user-generated content from such communities will help in Search Engine Optimization, content marketing as well as overall inbound marketing strategies. Google articles with relevant keywords will be indexed by Google making it easier for users who might be asking the same questions, interested in the same utility or experiencing the same problems. Depending upon the popularity of your forum, you can also use the community for various PR campaigns.
To create a community, you will first need to create a platform where your brand and its users can interact with one another. Though the real solidity of a community comes from its users interacting with one another, it is necessary for your brand to display its presence so as to make it your signature community. Since it is difficult to get early contributors, you can offer certain discounts or deals to the first few members in order to encourage their participation. In order to nurture the community, you can try offering incentives to top users and contributing to the discussions. However, you must ensure that the community is primarily driven by its members and not the brand itself.
If executed properly, building a community around a brand can help a lot in customer retention and act as a powerful and supportive strategy for the success of your business.
6. Referrals through incentives
One way to sell your product to a user is by having their friend refer it to them. According to research conducted by Nielsen, people are 4 times more likely to buy a product when referred by a friend or a relative. So, one of the best ways to gain such high-quality customers is to have them refer your business or product to their friends or family and in return receive an incentive.
Timing is a critical aspect while asking for users to refer. A general trend suggests that customers are more excited about your product right after they purchase it. So while they are shopping online, you can ask them to refer right after they finalize the product. You can then redirect them to a page that explains the perks of a referral program and give them an option to send their referral.
Also, customers referrals cost you very little. Referral reward might just be a small thank you gift which is must lesser that cost per lead spent with other marketing techniques. Referrals are out of trust. As a result, people are willing to pay whatever the amount is without many negotiations. Referrals spawn referrals. A customer that has purchased a product through referral is more likely to refer to others. Thus, in a way, your business has a potential to grow exponentially.
7. Use negative feedback to your advantage
Today, customer feedback is one of the most effective tools to let others know the quality of product. Also, it is influential in letting companies know what their product lacks and thus helps improving the product in a much better way. If you don’t listen to customer feedback, you would never be able to fulfill business requirements.
Instead of starting with a blank board to come up with novel ideas for your business, you can use the existing issues of your customers as the foundation. Instead of just reacting and responding to negative feedback, you can develop an overall customer service strategy which could in fact be a long term goal to work with. You need to find recurring customer issues and prioritize them based on severity.
After all, it is impossible to get 100 percent positive reviews on a product. You cannot completely satisfy each and every individual that uses your product. Negative reviews help your potential customers understand the worst-case scenario and how your company has progressed from there. If you delete all the negative reviews, it will make your business look inauthentic.
8. Track your marketing campaign’s success
A great marketing campaign is one of the most critical factors in breaking even and surpassing your sales goals. A marketing campaign, whether created in-house or by a third party company isn’t really successful if there is no way to measure its success. A lot of CRM tools have built-in metrics that will help you quantify the success of marketing campaigns. This is important since it allows an organization to curb the on-going campaign in case it isn’t giving desired results. In long term, this will save company a lot of money that would have been spent on campaigns that didn’t really work. It also gives you a chance to drill down and figure out where the problem actually lies. Also, if a campaign is going well, you can immediately increase its scale and reach more customers.
To gain an insight around various trends, it is necessary to track and analyze data over multiple time frames. Once you have sufficient data, you can compare, say, yearly view to quarterly or monthly views allowing you to see developing trends and make any adjustments if necessary. Also, analytics give you a definite perspective. It helps you understand your position in the market with respect to your competitors. It will also assist you in setting goals and expectations.
If there is a strategy that is working good for your business and has generated a high level of success, you can just use it the next time without a lot of changes.
9. Identify Customer Attrition
Customer attrition, also known as customer churn rate is the percentage of subscribers that discontinue their subscription within a given period of time. Basically, when you lose a customer, it’s called customer attrition.
Customer attrition can occur due to a lot of reasons. A lot of businesses make a mistake of minimizing the expenses spent on customer service. If customers don’t receive proper support for their problems, they get frustrated and turn towards competitors. A study conducted by Oracle has found that 90% of the customers have abandoned a company because of poor experience.
Customer churn rate is the most between the period when a customer signs up for your product and when they achieve their first success with the product. This is the time where they can get lost, not understand something or just lose interest in the product. To ensure that the customer doesn’t leave your brand, you ought to facilitate a fast and smooth transition between these phases.
Also, sometimes when you introduce new features, updates, it can introduce confusion among users, thus leading your customers away from your product. During this period, if you stop responding to their concerns, they might leave your product forever.
To handle customer attrition, you can adopt a proactive approach. Based on the behavior of customers, agents can proactively ask them about their problem on live chat, phone or email. With this, the customers will get solutions to their queries immediately thus making customer experience better and in turn reducing churn rate.
Also, when people first sign into your product, you can give them all the features a premium member gets for a short duration of time, say 14 days. Once the stipulated duration is over, after seeing the results, it will be difficult for the customer to switch to a downgraded plan or turn towards a competitor.
10. Go the extra mile
Successful businesses need to go the extra mile every now and then to serve their customers to the fullest. In every customer interaction, there is a basic level of performance where businesses just do what’s required or asked by the customer to complete the transaction. However, going above and beyond the basics will definitely help you gain customer retention and in turn more profit.
Everyone loves getting something for nothing. Whenever a customer buys a new product, you can give him some small product for free to reinforce their buying decision. When you solve a customer’s problem, instead of just making it right, make it better too. For example, if a faulty product gets delivered to a customer, instead of just giving the refund, give a 5% discount coupon valid on the next purchase along with the refund. In this way, the customer will be satisfied since he has received something extra. On the other hand, you get a guaranteed purchase. So, in a way, this is a win-win situation for both the parties thus proving to be influential in customer retention.
Sometimes, you can try responding to people’s comments from the official accounts of your brand. This kind of engagement makes customers feel that the brand is taking a personal interest in their queries and views. Also, to create a long-lasting relationship with your customer, it is necessary to treat them with respect. In addition, whenever you take feedback from customers, ensure that you welcome their suggestions and make efforts to improve the product. This will definitely strengthen their trust in your company.
So here are a few ways you can use CRM to the fullest in order to build customer retention strategies. Share your own points in the comments section below.