Customer retention has always ranked low on most businesses’ priority lists. But these days, customers have more options available to them than ever, while their attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. That’s why 91 percent of customers leave businesses they’re associated with high and dry.
But retaining customers is doubly important for startups because investors are increasingly looking at customer retention to determine whether a business has the potential to succeed in the marketplace. So in order to help you better retain your customers, here are our top five customer retention techniques for 2016.
Customer retention technique #1: customer service
Customer service is the where you can make your brand shine. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great your product is. Customers judge you on your customer service. If it isn’t up to par, you can say goodbye to customer retention.
According to Neil Patel of Quick Sprout and KISSmetrics, 71 percent of consumers have stated that they’ve ended a relationship with a company because of poor customer service. And it doesn’t stop there. The cost businesses bear for poor customer service in the US alone is $83 billion.
So how can you escape the pitfall of poor customer service?
The method is simple. Reach out to customers on their preferred platform as soon as something comes up. For example, if a customer reaches you on a Facebook group, contact them instantly on either that Facebook group (preferably) or with a direct message.
Remember, today’s customers are both more curious and more overwhelmed with products and services than ever before.
Customer retention technique #2: customer trust
Trust doesn’t come easily. It has to be earned, especially when it comes to the customer-business relationship.
Bombarding your audience with your brand doesn’t establish trust, because trust can’t be gained overnight. Providing your audience with social proof takes time.
One way to provide customers with social proof of the quality of your products and services is through online reviews, ratings, and discussions. This will not only help you gain new customers but also let existing ones know they’re in good company.
Another social proof metric is to be transparent with your customers. Educate your customers by keeping them informed about your motives. Showing your brand’s ideology in your products and services will make customers feel respected, which will lead them to trust your brand more.
For example, the clothing brand Everlane shares its cost structure with its customers. By doing so, it stands true to its mission and also educates its customers.
This is a surefire way to build customer trust. Customers will appreciate your honesty and will keep coming back for more.
Customer retention technique #3: customer loyalty
Loyalty is the key to success in relationships. And the same holds true for business relationships. There are many ways of building a loyal customer following for your business, but first you’ll need to give your customers a reason to be loyal.
If you fail to do so, you won’t just lose customers—you’ll also help your competition. According to KISSmetrics, 61 percent of consumers who recently ended a relationship with a business move on to a competitor of that business. Needless to say, you don’t want this.
One of the best ways to build loyalty is with perks. Starbucks has long understood this and it’s the reason for its large customer base. In this data-driven era, Starbucks has built an app for its customers that includes a loyalty program where customers can track and manage their reward points.
Customer retention technique #4: listen to your customers attentively
A great way to keep your customers by your side is to listen to your customers’ needs and requirements. A good speaker is also a great listener.
Listen to both good and bad customer feedback. It might be hard to swallow the bad at first, but the more you listen to your customers, the more you’ll understand what they need. Receiving feedback with a positive attitude will also give you an idea about how to provide customers with they want.
Digital marketers should keep abreast of customer reviews and feedback. Provide customers with channels like a support desk and a call center, an email address, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to reach you on.
These approaches will go a long way with customers and also enhance their trust in your brand.
Customer retention technique #5: don’t be afraid to show your personality
In today’s world of personalization, you need to help your customers treat your business like a person instead of as an obtuse corporate entity. Showing your brand’s personality will help your customers and clients understand it better.
Show them that your brand is “human” through your communication skills and messages.
One business that has managed to nail this tactic quite successfully is Dollar Shave Club, a California-based company that delivers razors and other personal grooming products to its customers. It stepped into the business world with this hilarious video, which went viral and gave the company a good start.
Dollar Shave Club’s personality comes through the storyline about the origin of the brand. The owners built their business because they were frustrated with the high prices of quality razors in the market. Now they provide cost-efficient razor blades at their customers’ doorsteps every month.