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Customer Retention Strategies to Defeat Your Competitors and Increase Your Business Share

Tue, Jul. 21, 2015 Posted: 12:26 AM

As defined by the grey hairs in marketing, it’s always hard to win a customer but it’s much harder to retain the same. Probably, this ‘customer retention strategy’ riddle has been the single most primitive challenge for the marketers.

Underpinning this perpetual truth, blue blooded B-schools of this planet have already researched on this and come up with a vital information, for small and medium scale industries, that, a mere 5% increase in customer retention rates increases the profit margin from 25% to a staggering 85%.So, modern marketers are applying this vision in their future growth strategies and bringing up massive changes to keep up with the velocity of this ever changing trends of internet users or typically, potential customers.

This article deals with the chief factors of customer retention strategies from ‘why you lost that customer’ section to ‘what should be your strategies to retain those customer’, in an informal way.

Firstly, where you lost them?
Is it your products or the service you sell? Well, I can say that, it’s the 13% of the whole reason.
Competitors? Stats say that it’s less of a reason as it’s occupy a mere 9% of the reason.

It’s true that, 68% of customers just leave a service as they are unhappy with the quality and simplicity of that. Definitely, it’s your call. You have designed this customer handling processesand responsible for their satisfaction.

So, it’s not your product or it’s not that your competitors have outperformed you in every section of the business you are dealing with. It’s the simplicity of the service and the quality of the customer handling process.

Customer retention is not rocket science. Simply, you will have to be more watchful on your customer handling and solve their problems, regarding your business, in a further skilled way.

Employ Insights, Analytics, and Social reports – Know your customers

How a relationship starts? Its starts with knowing each other. You can’t start building relationship with your customers if you don’t know them. You need to have insights on the behavior, needs and on the process of perception of your customers. How to?
Firstly, integrate an analytics tool to watchfully measure the journey of each of your customer with your website right form their landing on your page to the point they leave. Analysis of this journey with the help of digital tools to harness both the upward and downward curving of their mental expressions.
Secondly, your analysis should answer this basic areas of their engagements like:
• Motivation- What was the mode of their induction to your website?
• First experience- Was their journey interactive?
• Personalization- How did they percept your service?
• Trust- Was there any conversion?
• Level of satisfaction- was the process of purchasing glitch less?
• Loyalty- Are they leaving with any positive experience?
In this digital world, every behavior of your customer is measurable through business analytics tools, CRM tools, social reports and much more. You name it. It exists.
Simply, create buyer personas profile of your customers to know them properly. Buyer Personas can help you take the precise action for reaching a right customer with right material at the right time. So, knowing your customer is the first step to a successful customer retention process.

Why you should make customer retention a priority?
According to the US small business research, to win a new customer it costs almost 6 times more bucks than to retain an existing one. This is the single most compelling finding for taking customer retention a priority issue. Admittedly, there are more salient reasons for practicing it.

The following discussed points can help you understand and design the whole idea about customer retention strategies and the ways to put it to work.

Set customer expectations
Ok. What is ‘Brand’ or ‘Brand value’ according to you? Is it the commitment? Service quality? Vision? Benchmark products? Trust?

It’s everything. Typically, it’s a conglomerate of all the qualities above. In one word, customer’s expectations. You need to go beyond and above it. Every single goddamn time.

Let’s say, you have successfully delivered your commitment 19 out of 20 times to your customers and you think that you are doing it right. Thankfully, you are not. Here trust is the key. What you had earned through that successful 19 times can easily get broken with that single failure as customers tend to remember negative user experiences more that those positive ones.

What you can do to make this a 20 out of 20? Simply, design a service level agreement(SLA) for your business’s customer relation desk. Perform every time. Never leave any customer’s query under a heap of workload.

If you have the infrastructure to solve the longest problem within 5 minutes, tell your customer that, you will surely deliver it within half an hour. Simply, set the service status for your customer and deliver it quicker than they anticipate to win their trust.

Build a strong relationship with your customers – Build Social Channels
They are not just customers. They are way more than that.
Engrave this trust on your customer’s mind. Tell them, you care for what they value through a courteous relationship. You can keep a track of these following things,
• Employ CRM tools. Build a yearlong calendar of to-do lists.
• Help your customers with their day-to-day activities
• What and how they anticipate an incident
• Share their social and organizational values
• Do a regular research on your trusted customers and harness information on their achievements
• Simply, contact them in a regular frequent way to share your new products and services that you want to deliver to them
• Build a customer relationship management cell to cover every one of them.
There are proven ways to achieve these tasks. Modern marketers are really putting efforts to find every ways to reach and help their customers. These following ways can be pretty handy in this respect,
• Build social channels (Facebook Page, twitter profile, LinkedIn profile) of your business and invite your customers to keep in touch with your service. Publish, your product news, other related stories, working experiences with different customers and other important information on your business.
• Curate helpful news around the web and update the same on your social channels to help your customers
• Build an email marketing strategy and execute it to reach your customers regularly with your business’s news and new product and services launches
Start a blog and publish stories regularly on those things that appeal your customers. Like, your small accomplishments, unique stories of your employees, your vision for the future and alike.
You can give it a personal touch to accelerate the meaning of this relationship to a whole new level. Simply, build a strong customer database and use it to be the reason behind their smiles. How?
• Wish them on their birthday, anniversary and professional achievements
• Send them your handwritten letter
• Offer your ‘special offers’ to your bona fide customers
• Give them a personal call on their special day

Simply, think yourself as a customer and what could have made you feel cared or valued by your hired service. Act accordingly.

Customer Loyalty depends on the KPIs of Customer Service
Stand for something. Don’t just sell products. Sell experiences. Tell your customers, that they are different and you have that precise experience to serve their wishes.
Customer loyalty, most probably, is one of the tough nut to crack. Again, trust is the cornerstone here behind loyal customers. Technically, ‘Integrity’ of your service is the integral part of your success to win a customer. Your integrity makes you reliable to your customers and to keep this level of integrity you will have to provide a consistent level of service. You will have to prove that your words are more than your commitments.
You can take care of these following things for customer loyalty,
• Get personal. Value their lives and businesses
• Curate and publish important information that intrigues your customers
• Educate your customers regarding your business
• Solve their problems by offering your expert advice
• Sign up for larger online communities of your customers. Discuss with them, share your vision on discussed topics
• For more efficiency create a self-service channel or knowledge base like, a FAQ section to offer your help prior to your customers face them.
Build a strong set of key performance indicators or KPIs measure the growth as it’s an absolute necessity to hit the benchmark that you had wished for your business.

Feedbacks are your achievements
Another important area is the customer feedback surveys. It’s the story about both your strength and weakness. It shows the loose ends to be tightened. Setting up a customer feedback system is the right step to measure your success or failures. The key parameters to be measured are,
• Every customer is important. That’s why every feedback is. Develop, an individual feedback monitoring system and start from the scratch.
• The information beneath the feedbacks shows the areas need improvement and the areas you are proud of.
• These also forecast the future trends of your customers.
This guidelines above can help you to achieve a better customer retention rates and the hidden areas of your business strategies for further developments. The motto is to stay ahead of your competitors and achieve a bigger market share.

Joy Mali