Customers are the “why” behind your organization’s purpose. Without them, your products and services sit stagnant, yearning for a client to surprise and delight. Today it’s not enough to have an offering that fulfills a need. Top organizations nurture their client relationships, offering value beyond the core menu of services. That’s the key to running a sustainable, thriving business.
To improve customer retention, you first need to know where you stand. Use benchmark data to determine the average retention rate in your market. Compare your historical retention rate and analyze how it’s changed over the years. You may find that you’ve got work to do, or you may be more focused on maintaining your current levels. Either way, now is the time to lean in and develop your customer retention strategy.
1. Offer High-Level Support as a Standard
Your call center is often the front line for customer inquiries. Equip your first responders with training, tools, and resources to support your clients as VIPs. Develop evergreen FAQs and knowledge bases your team can use to self-serve when clients tap into them for support. Create a feedback loop with your call center to keep your reference materials fresh and relevant.
Train your front line on the inner workings of your business so they can confidently speak about your products and services. No matter how thorough your company website is, there will be times customers will have questions they can’t answer for themselves. When your team understands how your business works and who the experts are, they can provide support without hesitation.
2. Create Education Programs to Make Being Your Customer Easy
Customers come to you to solve a problem or fulfill a business need. You are the conduit between them and the solution they are hoping to find. Generally, if they could come to the solution themselves, they wouldn’t need your product. Remember this as you deliver your solution.
Develop customer-centric education that helps your fans get the best value out of your product. Put yourself in the position of your customers and consider the questions they have and problems they experience. Dynamic blogs, webinars, and on-demand training can help customers navigate your product.
Tech-focused products in particular can be overwhelming to novice customers. Tutorials, how-to videos, and image-heavy explanations can help your customers become pros at using your platform. These tools can also serve double duty as marketing materials for potential new customers, showcasing your organization’s added value.
3. Send Customer-Focused Newsletters Packed With Value
Regular communication connects your customers with the latest capabilities your products can offer. Develop an editorial calendar that blends education, news, and support opportunities to engage your customers.
Seek to provide value first, putting company priorities last. When your recipient finds the content relevant, they’re more likely to engage and use the resources you provide. Be respectful of your customers’ time as you determine the frequency and length of your communication. Segment support and marketing content separately from account-based updates to prevent accidental unsubscribes in the event your efforts fall flat.
Consider a dynamic communications plan for major changes or launches, providing support and training for larger initiatives. If a release is going to change how your customers use your product, aim to reach them across mediums. Repeated communication through multiple channels gives you the best chance at meeting them where they are.
4. Get Feedback and Make Improvements Based on It
If you’ve not developed a voice of the customer (VOC) program, now is the time to create one. These programs are more than flash surveys and annual reviews. Dynamic VOC efforts seek to understand your customers’ motivations, feelings, and desires. Work to develop both quantitative and qualitative research programs that constantly collect, analyze, and report data to your leadership.
Surveys will still be part of your baseline data, but resist the urge to stop there. Request feedback from customers on product milestones, building feedback opportunities within daily processes. For example, pop-ups can be useful when placed on strategic sections of your website. If your team is testing out a new layout, request feedback as your customer is on the page in question.
Strategically place these feedback and survey opportunities so they’re not disruptive to your customer. If you request too many of them, your efforts to understand your audience may have a negative effect.
Section your customer types and get richer data by hosting online focus groups in key areas you want to nurture. Digital tools make these dynamic opportunities possible across time zones, so take this suggestion seriously. Real-life insight into the pain points and desires of existing customers may just inspire a valuable product improvement.
Building Customer Retention Into Your Culture
It can be easy for any sales team to be focused on new customer acquisition. But don’t forget who got you here. It’s important to focus on nurturing the relationships you have with existing customers while also building out your customer base.
Speak positively of your customers as you work through training and issues with your team. Remain respectful and grateful for the trust they’ve placed in your organization. When your entire organization embraces a customer-centric culture, you’ll be a company customers love to do business with.
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