Entrepreneurs who conduct business ventures over the Internet must have a solid plan in order to grow their dream. This plan must contain specific strategies that are carefully developed and tested before they are implemented. Of course, customer retention strategies are one of the most important strategies for all businesses. Customer retention is defined as a process where customers keep buying services or products after a certain period of time. It can also be defined as a group of activities or processes that are conducted in order to lower the so-called churn rate.
So, when we are talking about customer retention strategies, we are talking about methods to increase customer loyalty. Customer retention strategy is a specific plan created to achieve the ultimate objective of keeping customers. In this article, we will highlight a few strategies that will help you increase customer retention.
1. Publish blogs to keep existing customers active (and attract potential customers)
Several online business owners make the same mistake over and over again. They have no blog and they merely use content to promote their products/services. The fact is that blogs should be used to educate customers about facts that interest your audience. Publish blog posts that have value, posts that can educate your audience, give out free information and knowledge about what you understand but what is interesting enough to keep your readers coming back for more. It is not a bad idea to offer blog posts with DIY solutions for their problems, but point out that using your services/products might be a better idea. Additionally, share these posts with the help of email marketing for an even wider reach.
2. Customer retention strategies must include some form of rewards
You should also consider offering rewards. For instance, if someone makes an order for a specific set of items, you grant a reward. For example, if you are selling a weight loss product like supplements, you can provide a free weight loss e-book for customers that purchase two bottles of supplements. These rewards, as a customer retention tool, are even more effective when used in conjunction with a loyalty program or the scarcity principle (we will cover this in another post but in a nutshell, the principle entails offering your customers a limited time offer). This way, you can make customers feel special and even more important. They will know that they are getting rewards because they are members of such program.
3. Present a loyalty program
A study conducted a while ago which focused on coffee shops in the United States has shown that four out of ten people are getting coffee at Starbucks on a regular basis. Two out of ten people were buying coffee from independent stores or smaller chains of coffee shops. One of the main reasons for that is their so-called My Starbuck Rewards loyalty program. (1) Their program is especially popular among mobile device users because it saves them time and provides access to loyalty points and discounts. If you want to get the most out of customer loyalty programs, keep things easy and simple. The point system should be clear so that people can easily figure out what they are getting.
4. Rely on email marketing
Email marketing goes hand in hand with personalised communication. So, when we are talking about email marketing as one of your most important customer retention strategies we are not suggesting mass email marketing with generic messages, that is SPAM!. There are many online tools that business owners can use to make this process more personalised. You can target different clusters of people with different pieces of information or offers. Email marketing for retention can be used in many different ways. For example, you can ask your clients to review their recently purchased item, send a collection of educational emails, or use a simple come back or thank you email message. Something that simple goes a long way! All these things are great for customer retention.
5. Ask for Reviews/testimonials/customer feedback
Another great way to improve customer retention regardless of the type of your online business is to ask for reviews and testimonials. This honest and straightforward customer feedback will help you improve customer experience and their expectations too. Use this feedback to enhance your services and products. If you want to increase their response, you can use emails or even incentives. Just follow the examples of stronger brands.
Customer retention can be “bought” but we are not talking about monetary rewards or similar techniques. The best idea is to reward their loyalty with something that will make them feel special. According to many experts, this special thing is promotions/coupons. Instead of leaving your customers to decide whether they will use your online business again or not, you should attract them by offering special promotions and coupons after they purchase some of your products. Repeat customers are very important and well-established online businesses know this. Once again, you can rely on email marketing or even cold phone calls for this purpose.
7. Provide impeccable customer service
It is impossible to expect their loyalty if you do not provide impeccable customer service. Did you know that a customer that is not satisfied with your product or services will tell up to 15 people about their unpleasant experience? (2) In addition, more than 10% of dissatisfied customers tell over 20 people they know about their bad experience. By hiring professional customer service workers who provide quality solutions and deliver answers in a timely manner, you should be able to improve customer service and ultimately customer retention.
8. Adding personal touches
A study conducted and published by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology has confirmed that adding personal touches to your services can improve customer retention. Namely, waitresses and waiters boosted their tips for over 23% when they have served a second set of mints on tables. (3) Focus on finding certain things that can personalise your relationship with the clients. Analyse their age, gender, location and behaviour and you should be able to find that these personal touches can improve customer retention.
Customer retention is very important and with these customer retention strategies in mind you should be able to improve your own customer retention and increase sales!