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How to Boost Customer Retention

ByJared Atchison,
business.com writer
|
Nov 12, 2019
megaflopp / Getty Images
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The key to your business's success is making sure you can keep your customers coming back again and again.

Businesses grow by acquiring new customers, but they thrive by keeping their existing ones happy. Businesses need to put in the effort to retain current customers. Doing so can be even more important than acquiring new ones.

Compelling data backs up the need for businesses to focus on their customer retention strategies:

It's clear that you should avoid getting complacent regarding the customers you have. By using retention strategies, you'll be able to better engage with customers and keep them happy. 

Here are some useful strategies and tools that can support your customer retention goals.

1. Stay ahead of churn rates.

The first step is to know your churn rate. Your churn rate tells you how many customers are leaving your site or have stopped buying from you. Knowing your churn rate will help you anticipate changes in your bottom line. It will guide your strategies to boost customer retention. You'll also be able to understand if your customer retention strategies are working by monitoring your business's churn rate. 

2. Use CRM software.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software supports and enables customer retention by helping you track customer behavior over time. It can tell you about their purchase patterns, product usage and when they stop buying from you. You can also track customer service interactions to understand what their problems are. Such key variables of customer behavior can act as warning signals you can use to improve customer retention.

Once you have a clear idea of your customers' behavior patterns, you'll be able to find critical points where they are no longer buying from you. This gives your customer retention strategies a clear direction. You'll also be able to gauge if you're on the right track. CRM supports customer retention in many ways:

  • It plots the customer's journey.
  • It enables personalization.
  • It provides a centralized database of customer information.
  • It can store details like purchase history, feedback and returns.
  • It monitors customer interactions with your support team.
  • It shows real-time data.

You need to use your data to understand when customers are at risk of leaving and communicate with them to win them back. You'll get more conversions from customers who know you than by trying to bring in ones who have never heard of you. [Looking for CRM software? Check out our best picks and reviews.] 

3. Leverage email marketing.

Once you have information that tells you when and why your customers are leaving, you're in a position to target them with emails. Email marketing is the most effective online strategy to create conversions. Integrate email marketing with CRM to send targetted emails to disappearing customers. You can offer them discounts on abandoned products, a free trial or other perks. 

Use email marketing to follow up with customers that ask for support. Ask customers for feedback, request them to leave reviews online and collect information. Having an email marketing program in place lets you respond to them rapidly. You can create templates that send content immediately when triggered. It also allows you to personalize your content.  

4. Add personalization.

CRM and email marketing services make it easier than ever to personalize your communication. It gives the impression that your business handles each customer interaction individually. CRM systems store data about purchases, customer preferences and customer support history. You can leverage this data to create content. Launch an email marketing campaign to send timely and personalized content for customers. For example, create a subject line addressing them by name. Customers are more likely to pay attention when they see personalized marketing communication. 

Personalizing your customer interactions creates an incentive for customers to stay with you. They feel as if you care, and this creates a closer relationship with your business. Using personalization improves customer retention rates through improved customer experiences. 

5. Create customer loyalty programs.

By creating a customer loyalty program, you reward the customers that frequently buy from you. It gives them an incentive to continue shopping with you. It also shows them that your business is paying attention. Your CRM system can help you identify the top customers of your business. This lets you know which customers you need to prioritize. You can create specialized loyalty programs for different customer groups and reward your top customers with the most benefits. 

Another way to make customers feel more invested in your brand is to gamify your loyalty program. You often see this with airline businesses that add miles to a flyer's account. You can reward users with points, badges and other means of recognition. It's also essential to offer exclusive discounts and other benefits when customers reach different levels. 

A customer loyalty program can motivate your customers to buy from your brand. This keeps your customer retention rate high.  

6. Build an online community. 

An online brand community brings businesses and customers closer together. An online community creates benefits in many ways:

  • It creates a space to discuss your brand, products or industry exclusively.
  • Users can ask questions and answers other members' queries.
  • It creates rich discussions.
  • You can share events, contests and other content to get engagement.
  • It facilitates user-generated-content.
  • It increases brand loyalty.
  • It can reduce expenses with word-of-mouth marketing.

An easy way to set up a brand community online is to use membership site software for your WordPress platform. You can also create groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that foster discussions. 

A great example of the power of community building can be seen in WordPress itself. Its growth can be attributed, in part, to the far-reaching and enthusiastic WordPress community. One of the ways it engages users is by hosting events. Its WordCamp event in 2017 took place in 48 countries and sold 39,625 tickets. Today, the platform continues to grow with die-hard supporters promoting it. 

Building an online community is a powerful way to engage your customers and improve customer retention. 

7. Improve customer support.

Excellent customer support makes a difference to your business's success. Take advantage of artificial intelligence tools like chatbots to augment your customer support. Using chatbots for minor inquiries can help reduce the time taken to meet such concerns. Information like tracking updates, delivery details, reservations, and more don't need human intervention. Chatbots save time when users need information that can be extracted from a database.

Your live customer support staff can focus on critical issues, giving attention to problems that matter. You'll offer faster support, saving time and resources. A chatbot strategy can improve your customer support and influence a customer's decision to stay with your business. This leads to greater loyalty and improved retention rates.  

Customer retention is about keeping your current customers happy. When done correctly, customers become unwilling to switch to another business. You can make it more convenient for them to stay with you than to buy from a competitor. Successful businesses are the ones that recognize that customers form the backbone of their business. Support your customers with retention strategies, and they'll support you.

Jared Atchison
Jared Atchison
See Jared Atchison's Profile
Co-Founder of WPForms, one of the largest WordPress contact form plugins in the market. I have been programming for over a decade and enjoy creating plugins that help people create powerful web designs without touching code.
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