I’ve found that companies today must go beyond simply selling products and services to give their increasingly sophisticated customers what they’re looking for – the ideal customer experience.
In fact, a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) article mentioned findings that showed the cost of retaining existing customers is about 10% of the cost of acquiring new ones.
Since customer retention is much less expensive than acquisition, it’s in your (and my) company’s best interest (read: ROI) to go beyond selling and focus instead on cultivating customer relationships that build trust and loyalty, and take active steps to nourish the customers’ lifetime value.
“There’s plenty of competition out there eager to pry away your customers, so distinguishing yourself from your competitors is key.”
Toward that end, we’ve developed a customer retention program that has helped us achieve a 95% client retention rate. Here are four behaviors that work for our data-driven marketing agency that you might consider:
- Turn customers into individuals
Cookie-cutter campaigns disguised as unique work are rampant in the marketing world. They may save time, but they undermine the foundation of repeat business – strong relationships. Take time to develop each business relationship and get to know each client’s needs. Then, together, formulate a campaign plan that will fulfill their needs. It takes longer, but it leads to happier clients.
- Let customers interact directly with employees who do their work
Businesses must be able to back up their talk with decisive action. At Stirista, we put the people who understand and do our customers’ work – including marketing, sales and operations people – on the front lines. This approach fosters better, more efficient communication, eliminating or greatly reducing the need for dedicated customer service or account representatives.
- Involve and collaborate with customers
To gain a client’s trust and loyalty (not to mention maintain a lifelong customer), they must be involved and aware from beginning to end. At our agency, for example, this transparency includes everything from campaign planning collaboration to how much and where our clients’ dollars are being spent to post-campaign reporting. Our openness demonstrates our commitment to our clients’ success.
- Reward loyal customers
Don’t forget, as with any successful relationship, it must continue to be nourished to continue to thrive and grow. How does your company reward its loyal customers? Find unique and meaningful ways to honor your loyal customers. Your company will reap the bounty many times over through powerful word of mouth advertising, an amplified reputation and enhanced customer lifetime value.
Every company, no matter its size, can benefit from having a solid client retention strategy. There’s plenty of competition out there eager to pry away your customers, so distinguishing yourself from your competitors is key. A strong customer retention strategy is one way to do that.
Once you have implemented your retention strategy, it’s important to survey your customers using a process that ensures you get accurate answers. Otherwise, you may discover your retention strategy isn’t working after the customer is already out the door.
Remember, cultivating the ideal customer experience that lasts a lifetime is universally important to any business – no matter the industry – and the journey getting there well worth the effort.