Customer retention refers to a company’s ability to retain customers over time by providing a percentage measure of customer loyalty over a certain period. Customer retention strategies are essential for businesses, especially since 80% of sales are usually caused by 20% of (retained) customers. Customer retention leads to brand loyalty, which then leads to word-of-mouth marketing – the most effective marketing tool at a company’s disposal. Additionally, customers who are already satisfied with your products require less convincing and, therefore, fewer resources are spent on them, allowing you to grow your company in other ways.
With COVID-19 causing multiple economic crises all over the world, you may be losing customers. This is why customer retention through customer retention management or CRM programs is so important at this time. A 5% increase in customer retention rate can result in an increased company revenue of 25-95%! For companies, this kind of growth can be a saving grace.
Now that we have established the importance of CRM programs, what are some strategies you can adopt during lockdown for increased engagement and retention?
Case studies act as backing for your claims about yourself and your values. Showing your customers that other clients have had similar expectations to them and these expectations have been met make them more likely to trust you. They gain greater insight into your business behaviour, communication patterns, and collaborative abilities. Therefore, they can then make fully educated decisions about whether or not you are the right fit for them. This also allows them to set expectations easily based on your past behaviour. Their expectations are then met, and they remain happier with your services.
Establishing the nature of your relationship with your customer early on is very important. This allows you to set expectations for yourself based on their needs. This also guides their expectations, so you are not an abstract company that seems vague to them. Instead, they see you as someone who can consistently deliver results and solutions to their problems. Depending on the customer and the relationship you are trying to maintain, you can set deadlines for various projects accordingly and keep them informed of developments along the way.
CRM programs run on trust. If your customer cannot trust you, they have no reason to stay with you. You need to show results, so you don’t make empty promises. Additionally, being transparent about your results, in general, allows them to point to concrete evidence when recommending you to their peers. Keeping them in the loop of your business by showing them metrics that interest them, therefore, makes them feel closer to you, automatically making you more trustworthy.
A lot of the vocabulary we have used thus far (empty promises, run on trust, stay with you) are also used in the context of romantic relationships. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that having a roadmap to maintaining the relationship is vital. Roadmaps allow you to analyse your relationship with your customer comprehensively. Therefore, customer retention strategies are not complete without them.
Roadmaps cannot have a set path, however. They need to be flexible and adapt based on the customer’s needs. E.g. when COVID-19 happened, most companies began incorporating masks into their sales. If a company then includes sending a free mask or sanitiser to customers in their loyalty programs, this is a becomes a retention strategy. Meanwhile, online brands can continue their CRM programs of having discounts on products that are higher for loyal customers. Having such events and strategies keeps customers interested and engaged with the brand even during a pandemic.
Make Memory Newsletters
(Source: MailUp Blog)
Newsletters are excellent ways to provide information, promote the brand, as well as further customer relations. As customer retention strategies, newsletters can be tailored to individual customers, laying out a year in their life and their journey with the company. E.g. Google has a Google Maps Timeline – a monthly email that they send to their users depicting all the places they visited in a month. This gives customers something to look back on and reminds them of the company’s efficiency. Therefore, it becomes an effective way of retaining people, so they continue using the products.
While a customer success manager is usually in charge of managing CRM programs, the company itself can get more actively involved in this process. Make the customer feel like the company is a person interacting with them rather than an abstract entity. You can do this through regular check-ins about their health and well-being – topics especially relevant during COVID-19.
This is also possible through requesting customer feedback about their experience with the company as well as individual product reviews. By providing such information, customers become more inclined to stay with you since you feel more real and authentic to them.
Throwing in surprise gifts during birthday months or giving customers a goal to work towards, so they get a present are ways to reciprocate and show your appreciation for them. This, again, humanises your company and makes your customer feel more comfortable with you.
You may also engage in trumpeted reciprocity where you do something nice that goes beyond the customer’s expectations of you. E.g. if you are a recording studio, taking behind-the-scenes photos of your customer recording something for the first time or when they hit a milestone and sending them the images boosts loyalty towards you. These customer retention strategies are what they will later market through word-of-mouth, making them essential.
While customers are happy with companies that meet their needs through effective solutions, empowering them to find solutions themselves also helps. During COVID-19, this may be in the form of tips to survive social distancing, ways to ensure a hygienic environment etc. Incorporating empowerment into CRM programs makes customers feel like they are gaining more from your relationship than just your products.
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