Think about all that time and effort you put in to bring in each new customer to your business. Engaging a client for the first time is expensive and time-consuming. Customers are a treasured asset to your business, so you need to do everything in your power to keep them as long as possible. This is why it is crucial to have a solid customer retention strategy in place.
Customers are bombarded with conflicting views from your competitors, some with better pricing and some with enticing marketing. Some may just want a change of scene. You need to use a mix of customer insights and intuition to re-engage them and recapture their attention, not just for brand loyalty but for advocacy as well. It costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one, and existing customers are more likely to try your new products and spend more. The time to focus on customer retention is now.
What is customer retention?
Think of your business as a bucket of water that you’re trying to keep full. If there’s a hole in the bottom, there’s no point letting it sit under a running tap to fill up again. You need to focus on fixing the hole and maintaining what your bucket already has. Your business’ long-term success depends on your existing customers’ happiness, satisfaction and loyalty to stay with your brand. Customers should not be treated as disposable, and customer retention is key to ensure both sides are happy.
Re-engagement for customer retention ensures that your efforts go into building on your existing strengths, rather than starting all over again. Let’s look deeper into 7 ways to re-engage your customers for a stable customer retention strategy in the long run.
1. Monitor customer reviews
Many businesses across the world today are using customer reviews to obtain accurate insights into what the customers are thinking and feeling, in a bid to provide them with exactly what they want. You can incorporate a reviews section into your website and social media platforms, or use third-party review platforms like Feefo, TripAdvisor and Google. No matter where the customer chooses to leave their review, make sure you dedicate a set number of hours per week to monitor them.
More than 90% of customers say that online reviews directly influence their purchase decision. This is a huge market you need to pay attention to. Customers leave reviews so they can share their side of a story and provide social proof to fellow shoppers. If you come across any negative reviews, this gives you even more reason to act swiftly by responding with professionalism and a solution to help retain them. New customers will see that you are responsive and existing customers will be pleased to see action being taken.
2. Ask for feedback and follow up on it
Take a proactive approach in asking customers to share their feedback. This will show them that you care about what they think, and most people won’t decline an invitation to provide their opinion. Follow-up with a customer after they have purchased from you and politely ask them to share their experience, both good and bad. Use the NPS method to find out if the customer would recommend you to their network and if they are likely to return to you in the future.
Social media is also a great tool for customer feedback. Almost half of your customers are likely to complain on social media, and they will expect you to reply promptly. They are aware that they have exposed you on a very public forum, and want their feelings validated where their network can see them. Ensure that your customer service team is fully equipped to handle grievances in public and that they take every precaution to resolve them swiftly and calmly. Customers need to feel valued by a business to come back to them again, and you will also learn a lot from their responses.
3. Start a loyalty programme
A loyalty programme shows a customer that they have something to gain by returning to your business as a patron. They are likely to engage with you and will actively seek out opportunities to yield benefits every time they make a purchase. Even if they were not looking to go through with a purchase, a loyalty programme could be just the push they needed towards conversion and customer retention.
The more a customer shops with you, the more they will be rewarded. And you will be blessed with a loyal patron in return! Build a loyalty program that initiatives positive sentiments and excitement. Highlight a sense of community that customers will be proud to be a part of and promote.
4. Stay in touch
'Out of sight, out of mind' is the old adage, and the same holds true for a business. You need to stay relevant and keep reminding your customer of your existence and importance in their lives. Keep your social media accounts up-to-date and post engaging content regularly. Stay on top of trends that your customer base is following and be one of the first to share relevant news with them.
Send them an email on their birthday with a discount or announcement that you know will make them feel special. You can also update them about new product launches, business updates, industry insights and other informative content that keeps you fresh in their timeline and mind.
5. Personalise your service and offerings
Monitor their browsing habits and send them cart abandonment messages, alternative product suggestions and gift ideas that are personalised. Start by dividing your customer base into segments so you can easily categorise them. Personalising your approach shows that you care about your customers and they will act as brand ambassadors for you by sharing positive experiences and maintaining customer retention.
89% of customers stay loyal to brands that share similar values as them, and 56% of customers are loyal to businesses that understand their needs. Adapt your messaging and customer retention strategy to provide information that the customer is looking for, in a way that the customer is comfortable in. A small touch like using their name instead of a generic ‘Dear Customer’ in an email can make a difference to your customer retention results.
6. Host events & partnerships
Whether it’s in-person or online (as is increasingly the case now), live events and experiences are sought out and loved by more than 80% of millennials today and the number is increasing. The purchase narrative is shifting from ‘spending on experiences’ rather than on material things, and events are a great way to tap into this changing demand.
Use events as an opportunity to connect with your customers as well as other professionals in your industry and community. It provides your customers with a venue to communicate with you and learn what your brand experience is all about. Organise workshops, demos and expert commentaries that your customers can learn from and gain value. Customers would love a chance to interact with an expert in your industry and are likely to remember the event for years to come.
Research if there are any influencers you can partner with who can create content and host events on your behalf. More than 50% of female shoppers credit their purchase decisions to influencer posts. Pick experts and influencers who are in line with your business’ values and that fit your brand image. Your customers will be associating both of you together, so it is important to invest in proper research when it comes to any partnership and public events.
7. Start a referral scheme
This can be an extension of the loyalty program but goes one step further by not only encouraging repeat customers but also brings in new business. Offer your customers a reward for shopping with you again and for referring your business to a friend. Both, they and their friend will gain something in return, and you will get more business.
Focus on very strong incentives that are very achievable when they begin, and get even more enticing the more referrals a customer can bring in. For example, you can offer a customer a 10% discount if they bring someone new onboard. For every ten new referrals, you may increase that offer to 20% or more.
Referral marketing is a powerful customer retention strategy because it taps into an existing pool of customer networks, and provides endorsement for your brand through trusted - and most importantly, organic - recommendations.
Customer retention starts now
As a business, you should be working on a customer retention strategy before you even acquire a customer. Any enquiry or interest shown should be converted for the long run. A customer that is emotionally connected to your brand will have plenty of reasons to come back for more. The ways we have listed here are just a starting point.
A proactive approach to customer retention is key to long-term success and to keep your business going. Pay attention to which ones work for you and which ones you can revisit every few months. Stay persistent and be patient. If you are doing everything you can to keep your customers satisfied, they are bound to stay loyal to you - increasing your bottom line.