How can your communications help you retain customers?
NB: this is our second article on aligning communications to the customer life cycle. You can read the first part on customer acquisition here.
It’s cheaper to retain customers than it is to acquire customers. That much is obvious.
So why do so many organisations focus on marketing to new customers instead of the people we already have a relationship with?
Perhaps it’s the lure of the new – and of the rising customer metrics – that leads many professionals in marketing, CX and customer communications to focus on new business rather than generating more revenue through existing customers.
Retaining customers more effectively isn’t just a great way to build stronger relationships with our established fans, it’s also a cost-effective business strategy. After all, it’s far cheaper to market to a small group of established supporters than to go fishing for new leads.
There are a number of approaches to customer retention – and different ways that your customer communications can support these initiatives:
Selling to your customers
Existing customers are likely to buy from you again.
Rather than viewing previous customers as different to prospects, it’s useful to treat the existing customers as viable prospects too; they also want to hear about new products, special offers and changes to your services.
By continuing to treat existing customers as prospects, you are more likely to see customers shift to your latest products and services, which in turn can increase customer satisfaction and reduce the chances of churn.
When devising your marketing campaigns and customer communications, it’s important to consider both the customers you want and the customers you already have. What can you offer to your existing customers?
When a customer places an order with you, it’s likely that they are aware of your strengths and feeling positive about the value you offer – particularly if their first order goes well and they are satisfied with their purchase.
Soon after this initial order, the customer may be more inclined to place a follow-up order. Your business is still at the forefront of their mind – and they may still have easy access to their login details or your phone number – so they may feel that placing a second order is easy, and well worth their time and money.
Do you send customers automated messages following their first order? Or do you have a standard follow-up message for all orders?
These kinds of automated messages are easy to create with a modern customer communications management solution (CCM) – and they quickly repay the effort required to implement.
Give thanks and recognition
You like your customers and appreciate their business. But do they know that?
Why not send a text or email to your most loyal customers, giving them a discount code or a voucher – or a gift? Little touches like this can make customers feel noticed and valued. It can also reduce the likelihood of them being seduced by a more attentive rival.
Respond to queries and provide information
Are there common pain points that trouble your customers?
These must be addressed immediately. Any other niggles, problems and concerns should be addressed. Try to anticipate customer needs and queries and provide the information and support they need, before they need it.
If there are any difficulties associated with being your customer, do whatever it takes to eliminate the problem.
If your customers associate your business with problems and frustration, they are more likely to drift away or seek an alternative. Little niggles can have a major impact on customer satisfaction scores. All your good work on creating a compelling customer experience can be undone by a few dead links, useless phone support or messages that are irrelevant, confusing or misleading.
Turn customers into advocates
Your best customers could also be your best salespeople.
Encourage your existing customers to share their experiences with friends and associates, and give them the tools they need to share their love. For example, you might email or text a discount code that people can share on social media.
Transform your customer experience
At DocCentrics, we help organisations send more effective customer communications and improve the customer experience. Our platform makes it easy to send targeted, timely communications to millions of customers on any device – all from a single interface. We can help you create triggers and auto-responders so that your customers always feel valued and understood.