Is there anything better than getting a new customer? Some would say that it is getting two new ones — that’s a good answer but technically speaking that is not the answer we’re looking for.
Finding new customers and lead generation is absolutely important. In fact, a lot of your marketing efforts should focus on that.
However, just as important as lead generation sounds an equally important facet of your business should be customer loyalty and retention. Acquiring new customers only to lose them a few months later is like trying to fill a bucket with a gaping hole at the bottom.
Why Keeping Loyal Customers is the Better Way
There is a lot of incentive to ensure customer retention. According to one report, retaining a customer will cost 5 to 25 times less than the cost to acquire a new one.
According to another study, making sure that your customers come back again and again will result in continuous growth of your ROI.
How to Keep Them Coming Back
Times have changed and the modern customer demands more things out of a company to ensure their loyalty. Sure you can provide expensive products and services.
Here are few new trends that you should be mindful of from 2020 and onwards:
- Increasing Reliance on Technology to Scale a Business
This is no longer the case. For instance, hospitals are now turning to CRM systems such as Salesforce and others to improve the patient experience. According to one study published by Google on its consumer insight reports, 77% of patients today will use search engines before they book an appointment with a doctor or hospital.
Small and medium sized business such as Santa Cruz Bicycles have turned to Hubspot Task Tool (a CRM) to monitor which bicycles their customers were having problems with and how to better respond to them in rapid time.
With the increase in sales comes the increasing demand for customer service. CRM tools help automate processes and make customer service and sales more efficient.
It’s not just CRM. Sometimes all you have to do is use technology to make things more convenient for your customers. For example, Starbucks improved their customer retention capabilities by adding a Mobile Order and Pay Feature to their app.
Customers are now able to order and pay for their coffee even before they arrive at the store. They just drive by and grab their order and off they go to work.
- Augmenting Customer Services with Self-Service Options
85% of patients still call a doctor for an appointment. However, 30% of all those calls end up on hold.
The lack of self-service options apart from the usual booking by phone leaves health care providers operating at 60% to 80% capacity.
- Online Payments
Another important feature is the ability to pay for products and services online. Sure there are credit cards and they are still in use but there are other electronic payment modes that are rising.
They are making things more convenient and secure for customers. The more secure and convenient it is for them the better it will be for your business.
Additional online payment methods make transactions more simplified, increases transparency, reduces collection costs, and keeps customers happy.
- Blogs and Social Media
Social media pages and blogs are available 24/7. Businesses today improve customer interaction through these channels and the public responds to them.
These channels are more than just tools to advertise your brand. They serve as touch points that allow interaction with customers on a personal level.
A trend today is the use of chat bots to provide initial support. If further support is needed then they are routed by these bots to the right department based on that initial interaction.
Tesco has also done a great job at this with their UK customers. They identified that a lot of them were on Twitter and they engaged with their customers on a personal level.
Customers would talk about how they used their products while working on their thesis for instance, and their representatives would reply and interact talking about thesis and paper writing and not only about the product being discussed.
The goal is to add personality and character to the discussion. Make the business more human. It doesn’t matter if it is through Twitter, Instagram or even email. What matters is creating personalised conversations and human to human interaction.
- Delighting Customers
There are more ways than just giving away discount coupons or a few freebies now and then. Back in 2014 Dell offered payment plans that allowed customers to pay off their computers about a month earlier.
But you don’t have to restructure payment plans or give away gift cards and rebates every time. Some host customer appreciation events where they serve free snacks or just free coffee to all customers who come to their stores.
Sometimes you can delight customers by just remembering details that they may have given during interactions with your representatives. Sure everyone remembers their birthday. But how many store personnel notes that their son will be graduating from high school next month or they’re golden year anniversary is in a few days?
Sometimes it’s just all about meeting their needs before they express them. For instance, a local barbershop offers water and newspapers or magazines to customers sitting in queue waiting to get a haircut.
- Onboarding Programs
An onboarding program is a customer retention strategy where customers are taught how to use a particular product or service. For instance, a customer buys a new state of the art printer.
A day or two later after the purchase a tech support representative can call the new customer to inquire if they need help setting up the printer or understand how to use certain new features.
They spend a 5 minutes going over a couple of features and that’s it. Onboarding allows customers to make full use of your product or service and makes them feel like they’re part of a team.
- Add a Philanthropic Side
Customers have become fiercely loyal to companies with a cause. For example, Blake Mycoskie of Tom’s Shoes has led his company with the one to one program where they gave away a pair of shoes to the poor and the needy for every pair that gets sold. Its positive effect on customer loyalty that needs no mentioning.
Consumers also focus on altruistic as well as the environmental effects of your business. The demand in the coming years will be for more businesses with a conscience. Connect with that and you engage a loyal following.
Customer retention in the coming years will be more than just making your business processes more efficient. With the right tools and mindset, you can gear up and create your own custom tailored customer loyalty strategies to keep them coming back.