Acquiring new customers is hard, but losing them is pretty easy (and costly too). And that’s why there is a need for customer retention.
The main difference between a business that has grown sustainably over the years and one that died out like a flame, is the ability to retain customers. What the industry likes to refer to as, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). The things your business does to retain the customer might add the smallest of increases in CLV to the largest of gains in the long term. But this number is directly affected by the customer churn rate.
And if your churn rate is higher than 10%, even the new business coming in is not going to help you grow. So here are 8 tried and tested customer retention strategies that will help you reduce the churn rate:
1. Conduct frequent surveys
If you want to know whether or not your customers are happy, you need to track customer satisfaction on a regular basis. Conduct small surveys to understand how well they understand what you offer, the problems they are facing, etc.
This makes the customers feel that their opinion is valued and gets you sufficient feedback for improving your products/services.
Here’s an example of brand awareness survey that you can use:
2. Offer around the clock support
While the hyper informed generation of today seeks for self-help resources to resolve issues regarding products and services, they often want to cut down on their research time and reach out to the business directly. But some customers simply choose to do nothing.
For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.
White House Office Of Consumer Affairs
One of the simplest ways to resolve this issue, is by reaching out to these customers before they turn away from your business. Use proactive customer support emails to drop by every now and then to ask an inactive user if he is facing any trouble with your product/service.
3. Surprise your customers every now and then
You could be delivering the best of customer service, but what’s really going to get your customers talking about you is when you go beyond their expectations.
Now we don’t expect you to go all out, knock on their doors with flowers (you could if you have the means and time), but here are a few ideas that will work perfectly well:
- send out a thank you note appreciating their part in making you better
- offer them content upgrades on topics that interest them
- give them a custom discount on your products/service – even if it is really small, it shows how important the customers are to you
Here’s a thank you mail from Chumbak that not just offers a special discount code but also uses personal messaging to relate to the user:
The mail’s subject line read, “Here’s some love from Chumbak”.
Alternatively while the user is browsing your website, surprise him with a content upgrade related to the topic he was interested in right before his exit. If it offers him value, you’ve got a happy customer.
4. Onboard your customers well
Have you ever installed an app or software and then cursed the business who made it for not explaining how to use it? That’s what poor onboarding is.
Most businesses think a small handout along with a product is all that the customers need to set up things and work around it effectively. But that’s not true. The majority of a business’s churn rate is caused by lack of onboarding.
For example, Slack onboards its users with simple and clear instructions in a stepwise manner so that they don’t get confused by the new interface and are able to use it in an optimum manner right after sign up.
Bonus tip: Never leave your visitors thinking about what to do next. That gives them the window to think about abandoning your business products and services as well.
5. Be easily available
Just how available are you for your customers – existing and potential?
When a customer experiences an issue with the product or service, he wants his concerns addressed right away. Firstly, they’re already having a bad experience with your business and a slack support is only going to put them off further.
So make yourself easily reachable. Don’t make it a task for them to figure out how to get in touch in times of dire need. A simple support widget on every page is a great way to let them know you’re available for the customer anytime.
6. Educate your customer
Yes, if your customer knows ‘everything’, he might not reach out to you with queries too often. But the truth is, no one really wants to go through the regular customer service grind these days. They want to be able to get their issues addressed really quickly and preferably, on their own.
Create online guides, how-tos, e-books, webinars, FAQs etc for a common knowledge base that is easily accessible by everyone. Frequently sharing industry knowledge also shows that you are up-to-date with what’s happening and you want all your customers to join you. This is a great way of showing that your business is customer centric in its approach.
You can alternatively, create a community where customers can solve each other’s concerns based on previous experience. But don’t forget to monitor it closely!
7. Make the customer feel cared for
The top most skill seeked for in a customer service representative, is empathy. It actually makes a whole lot of difference in approaching your customers and how it leaves them feeling about the business.
Listen to your customer carefully and understand his concerns before responding And make sure the words you use are picked ‘very carefully’. You need to sound like you know your business; but at the same time, without making the customer feel any less important.
Phrases like, ‘’I really appreciate you letting us know”, “I understand your problem. I’d be frustrated too”, “I’d be be happy to help you with this” and “Is there anything else I can do for you?”, are just some that you can get started with right away.
8. Ask them to give you a score
If you have been making all the efforts to better the experience a customer has with your business, ask them to know how effective they really are. And an effective way of doing so, is by using the Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Net Promoter Score is a customer loyalty metric that helps gauge the relationship between a business and a customer. It is calculated simply on the basis of the response to a single question: How likely are you to recommend our business products/services to your friends? The scoring for this is mostly based on a 0 to 10 scale.
For example: Groove HQ asks its existing users how likely they are to recommend their product and the reason behind the score.
Over to you
Is your customer churn rate high or do you already have it in control?
What are the strategies that you’re planning to use or are already using for customer retention, other than those mentioned above?