Making sales and generating revenue are the obvious surface-level goals for any business. But at the core, true growth is sustained by a focus on customer retention: the practice of building out a base of return customers who continue to purchase your goods/services for extended periods.
Having a product that customers love is undoubtedly part of the equation, but it’s not the only thing that keeps people coming back.
Creating a customer retention strategy is all about fostering customer loyalty.
Understanding Customer Retention
To build a solid customer retention strategy, it helps first to understand what it takes to keep your loyal customers coming back.
Our best piece of advice for getting started? Collect as much customer data as you can. Then, when you think you have enough, collect just a little bit more.
McKinsey found that companies making intensive use of customer analytics are 2.6 times more likely to have a significantly higher ROI than competitors.
A 5% increase in customer retention can produce 25% more profit (Bain)
Understanding your customer’s likes, dislikes, purchases, preferences and logging them diligently into your CRM system is more than half the battle. The more you know about the people buying your products and services, the easier it is to have them stick around.
Customer retention doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Your customers don’t want to go to competitors. They would rather work with a business that they’ve developed a personal relationship with rather than shop around.
That’s why it’s worth it to put in the work to treat each customer like a friend from the very first interaction. This is where good customer service comes in.
Across the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is a crucial factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. (Microsoft)
Aside from knowing a customer better than they know themselves, another key to customer retention is providing ample opportunity for customer feedback. Surveys, blogs, and chat forms ensure your customers feel heard. That courtesy goes a long way.
33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship last year did so because personalization was lacking. (Accenture)
Monitoring feedback gives you the chance to personalize your messages further.
You can also identify customers who feel positively about your brand and encourage them to share their feelings on review sites. A customer experience promoter has a lifetime value to a company that’s 600 to 1,400% of a detractor.
89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. (Harris Interactive)
The Importance of Customer Retention vs. Customer Support
There are many similarities between customer retention marketing tactics and customer support, and it can get a little confusing.
We’ve written a complete guide on the ins and outs of SMS for customer support, and those marketing strategies will undoubtedly complement your retention efforts. But there’s one big difference that separates the two concepts.
Customer support is about isolated experiences, and customer retention tactics are for sustaining long-term satisfaction.
Think of the difference like this: customer support is like the wait staff at a restaurant. You are tending to your immediate needs and keeping you happy on the fly.
Customer retention is more like the manager. Checking in to make sure your experience has been satisfactory and giving you the attention you need for big picture requests.
The analogy isn’t perfect, but it demonstrates the hierarchy that puts into perspective the importance customer retention tools have on your entire business operation.
Now, finding the tool that best compliments your retention strategy is the next step in the process.
How to Use Text Messages for Customer Retention
Using your business’s existing number, or a new 10-digit line, you can now text with customers one-on-one, and in turn, enhance your existing marketing, communication (and most importantly) customer retention strategies.
Below we’ll provide samples of texts that support client retention strategies. But first, here are some of the ways you can use one-on-one texting to strengthen your customer retention throughout a customers journey:
- Beginning: Integrate it into your onboarding process to make your existing customer base feel valued from the start.
- During: Follow up with an SMS “live chat” when you receive a tip or inquiry from customers.
- After: Reach out to detractors and promotors personally.
Text Messages You Should Send
1. Welcome customers to your brand: Start your relationship off on the right foot. As soon as someone signs up for your service, send a text as a warm welcome and make yourself available as a resource if they have any questions.
2. Show them how to use your product: When a customer buys your product or service, you need to remember they might not be experts on it yet.
Showing them that you’re invested in making them one goes a long way towards strengthening your bond. Proactively teaching your customers how to use your product or service benefits both you and them.
It can be frustrating when you’re faced with unsatisfied customers whose issues stem from misunderstanding or misuse. By getting ahead of the learning curve, you can save everyone a lot of grief!
3. Reengage dormant users: If you notice customers slipping away, reach out to them! Find out what’s causing the distance and create an opportunity for change.
Use this as an opportunity to share upcoming features, provide feedback on their use of your product/service, and provide customer service opportunities to fit their needs.
But above all, listen to what they have to say, and act on it. That’s the beauty of a two-way communication platform.
4. Send relevant material to customers: just because: When it comes to showing your customers that you’re listening to them, actions speak louder than words.
Ongoing customer relationship management revolves around “random acts of business kindness” that demonstrate your anticipatory investment.
It’s important not to spam people with messages, but dropping in every month or two with a blog or message that made you think of them is a great way to keep the relationship alive.
5. Follow-up with canceled accounts: You can’t keep customers from leaving if you don’t know what’s making them walk away in the first place. Create a marketing automation that alerts you by email or Slack as soon as someone cancels their account.
Ask if there’s anything you could have done differently. You may win them back, or at the very least, you’ll get valuable insights into how to keep your current customers happy.
The Big Picture – Customer Retention Takeaways
At the end of the day, attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one. Investing now in all your existing clients will pave the way for future business down the line. Happy customers often turn into your best spokespeople after all!
Just remember, the keys to a customer retention program are anticipation, data collection, and delivery. Three steps that can be managed and measured from your texting dashboard.
In the end, trust your brand’s voice and your knowledge of your customers. And know that we’re here seven days a week to help you set up your text marketing program to align with the needs of you and your customers!
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