Love the One You’re With: Customer Retention Strategies
You know the clichés: The grass is always greener, she’s playing hard to get, we want what we can’t have. And as it goes with life, so it goes with marketing. We always seem to be focused on customer acquisition, chasing what’s shiny and new while neglecting our existing customers.
But that’s an expensive attitude. Acquiring a new customer can cost seven times more than retaining one1. What’s more, existing customers who are made to really feel the love also share it – with their families, their Facebook friends, their dentists. They become ambassadors of your brand, doing some of the customer acquisition work for you. For free.
So how do you treat existing customers right? A lot of the responsibility rests with your call center or customer service department, but there are several things marketers can do to show you care.
Make sure your customer information is robust and up to date. There’s nothing worse than a “personalized” email that completely misses the mark by being either incredibly vague or just plain wrong. It’s embarrassing for you. It’s insulting to them. And it’s bad news for your bottom line. In fact, 68% of lost customers bail because they feel like the brand doesn’t care about them.2
Take things to the next level.
Develop a messaging strategy for customers who’ve already heard – and bought into – your original sales pitch. What information or advice would make their original purchase(s) more satisfying? Are there any promotions that you can run specifically for existing customers? What’s a logical and relevant cross-selling opportunity? Try to anticipate their needs without giving them the hard sell.
Be a good listener.
Solicit feedback, and take it to heart. Put together a good social media strategy by closely monitoring what’s being said about your brand and responding in ways that are respectful and genuine. This will require working closely with your customer service department, which can be tough, but it’s absolutely critical. Learn from those who’ve made major missteps, and those who get it right.
Don’t give up.
Go after lost customers – without getting into stalker territory. Find out why they left, and if there’s anything you can do to win them back. The effort is worth it: studies have shown that your chances of winning back a former customer are two to four times higher than landing a new one.3. But even if they’re gone for good, you may learn valuable information in the process to keep future churn to a minimum.
So start showing your existing customers the love. Once you have a good retention plan in place, you’ll find that the grass is pretty green in your own yard after all.
- U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Marketing Metrics