What’s better than acquiring one new customer? I’ll give you one guess: it’s retaining one! That’s why I’m writing today about how to retain customers more effectively in 2022.
Why You Need to Retain Customers
Your existing customers are the most valuable asset in your business. Why? While a new lead is 5-25 percent likely to buy from you, an existing customer is 60-70 percent more likely to buy again. The math proves it: you need to retain customers to grow your business.
Customer retention is all about nurturing relationships with your customers. It’s crucial to deliver customer experiences that foster customer loyalty. You must learn how to retain customers and engage them in ways that encourage repeat purchases. A successful customer retention strategy will maximize customer lifetime value.
Why are customer retention strategies important?
- Higher Revenue: On average, businesses get 65 percent of sales from existing customers. And customers tend to buy more in repeat orders.
- Lower Business Costs: Customer retention tactics are seven times cheaper than strategies to acquire new customers. In fact, the most expensive sale you’ll make is the first sale to any new customer.
- More Effective Customer Acquisition: You want to turn your happy customers into your word-of-mouth referral source. As much as 86 percent of your loyal customers will recommend your business to their networks.
The best way to achieve these goals is to employ a combination of proven customer retention strategies. Here are 13 of my favorite ways to retain customers.
13 Ways to Retain Customers
These customer retention strategies are proven to WORK! Choose a few of your favorites to retain customers and grow your business in 2022.
1. First Impressions are Everything
How is your customer experience? How do you welcome people into your store or on your website? Do you have good signage in the store? Effective pop-ups and landing pages on your website? What about your shopping cart or check-out experience? Do you offer free shipping and returns?
Use Email Marketing to Stay in Touch
When you share helpful information with your customers, you keep your brand top of mind. So try these email marketing campaigns to nurture your existing customers:
- Thank You Emails: A note of thanks can go a long way in making customers feel appreciated.
- Personalized Recommendations: Use shopping history to deliver relevant recommendations.
- Exclusive Offers: Everyone wants to feel like a VIP. Let them access new product offers early, invite them to an upcoming event in advance, or provide special coupons for loyal customers.
- Re-Engagement Emails: If they have not shopped with you in a while, send an email to check on them and invite them to come back.
3. Solicit Customer Feedback
One of the biggest keys to retaining customers is to know how they feel about your business and your brand. So send customer satisfaction surveys to get an accurate picture of how happy your customers are with your service.
4. Create Educational Content
Provide relevant and valuable educational content to your customers. Focus on developing specific content for each stage of the buying journey: brand awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Doing so will maximize engagement and help move them to become customers and advocates for your brand.
5. Slash Customer Response Times
How fast do you answer the phone or return calls in your business? Do you use a live person or automated voicemail? Do you offer live help on your website?
- Add Live Chat to Your Website: Your customers deserve real-time service online too. Live Chat allows your website visitors to get immediate support via a convenient chat window. This allows the website visitor to type a message inside the live chat session, and a customer service staff types back. If you do not have the staff resources, you can outsource live chat to a company like Ruby.com
- Provide Time Estimates for Problem Resolution: Good communication and transparency are things that all clients can appreciate. Tell them how long the wait is to speak to someone or when they can expect a replacement item or refund.
- Automate as Much as You Can: Marketing and follow-up after a sale can be automated. For example, you can use Chatbots to handle basic FAQs on your website.
6. Host Live Events
Service businesses can sponsor an event or hold a conference. Retailers have other options. If you can turn your retail store into a gathering spot, that will always bring in new and regular customers. Inviting customers to participate in limited-access sales and parties is a great way to engage your most valuable buyers.
7. Always Ask for Reviews
The more reviews you have, the more SEO you build for your business, and it can drown out any negative review. Create an automated workflow with your email software that sends out a review request email after every purchase.
8. Surprise and Delight Them
Surprise and delight strategies increase customer loyalty, leading to repeat purchases, larger basket sizes, and increased brand engagement. Try some of these ideas to retain customers:
- Send Hand-Written Notes: Customer service does not get more personal than a hand-written note.
- Send Birthday Cards: Be the brand that makes your customer feel loved and appreciated on their special day. Do not just send a coupon offer; everyone does that.
- Offer Free Upgrades or Extras: Treat loyal customers to special features that others would need to pay for.
- Highlight Customers on Your Social Media Profiles: Your customers feel appreciated when you unexpectedly repost their photos and stories.
9. Leverage Customer Reviews
Nothing builds trust like a positive customer review. Be sure to share them across your social footprint to reengage existing customers. Collecting comments is good, but it’s just a start. You can use the feedback to create social media posts that engage your audience and build trust in your products and services.
10. Create a Rewards Program
One important way to retain customers is to reward your loyal customers. Enabling buyers to earn rebates or other forms of rewards for their purchases is one of the most effective ways to increase customer retention.
11. Learn from Customers’ Complaints
Honest feedback is a gift. Not all customers will be happy with your business. Treat all complaints as valuable sources of insights to improve your brand.
12. Engage on Social Media
Connect with your customer on social media. Create relevant, valuable content, engage your followers in the comments and create a sense of community around your brand. For example, share user-generated content, comment on their reviews and posts, etc.
13. Empower Your Advocates
You must also cultivate your raving fans and give them the tools to influence others to support you. Here are a few strategies to empower them.
- Create a VIP Group: Create a private VIP group on Facebook or LinkedIn for your best clients and advocates. This will make your advocates feel special and provide a safe space to brainstorm new products and services. In addition, this will provide a deeper level of insight and engagement with your best customers.
- Create a Referral Program: Provide a special discount code, artwork, and email copy for your advocates to share with those in their network and on social media.
- Educate Them on Your Mission: Make sure that advocates know the story behind your brand. Advocates also need to understand how the work gets done. This will help them explain the mission behind your brand to anyone they refer.
- Provide Early Access: Advocates deserve early access to new products and features. This will encourage your advocates to be early adopters so they can be the first to post on social media about what’s going on with the company. You’ll also have actual customer testimonials for your marketing materials.
- Communicate Early and Often: Advocates only stay advocates if they are engaged. Thus, it is critical to have regular conversations with your advocates, providing them a place to voice concerns and provide suggestions.
- Recognize Their Efforts: You must acknowledge the work of your advocates. Be creative and quick to share credit for ideas and highlight those with high referral achievements.
Hopefully, these tips have inspired you to focus on your existing customers. The more you retain customers, the better you’ll be able to grow your profits as loyal customers spend more. Also, retention-centric brands stand out even more in the marketplace. Finally, loyal customers are more forgiving of mistakes and will be your best source of new business. Love on them!