When looking at marketing strategies, we are often told that retaining customers is cheaper than trying to onboard new customers. The other benefits of retaining customers are creating brand loyalty and reputation, and you can save a bit on time spent on marketing to customers.
But how do we keep our current customers happy and keep them wanting to buy from us? Here are five ways to build a retention marketing strategy.
Before you start building a retention marketing strategy, you need to know what your current retention rate is. You may have a ballpark idea of how many customers you have and how many customers you have lost during your business’ life but is this number backed by data? Looking at your accounts, you can calculate your customer retention rate. Here is how you calculate it:
Customer retention rate = ((CEP – CAP)/CAS) X 100
CEP = Customers at the end of the chosen period
CAP = Customers acquired during the chosen period
CAS = Customers at the start of the chosen period
For example: Let us assume the chosen period is the first quarter of the year (January 01 – March 31). We will look at how many customers we had at the start (1000) then we look at how many customers we have at the end of the period (1200). During the period we got 500 customers. So, the equation looks as follows:
CRR = ((1200 – 500)/1000) X 100
CRR = 70%
The ideal retention rate may differ depending on which industry you are in but 70% is quite a high customer retention rate.
STRATEGY 1: Address complaints and compliments speedily
Getting complaints about your company is never nice, but dealing with them speedily and appropriately can help to keep your customers.
When a customer grumbles, listen actively to what they are complaining about and then try to offer a solution that will solve their complaint. Try to view a complaint as information on an area of your business that needs attention, especially if you get more than one complaint about that aspect of your business.
Because small businesses are very precious to the founder, it may feel like a personal attack on you, but you need to try to separate your identity from the business’.
If you get a compliment, say thank you. Customers like being acknowledged. Furthermore, you can ask the customer if you can use the compliment in your social media and on your website.
STRATEGY 2: Excel at customer service
Giving excellent customer service should be a basic requirement for a successful business. Without a buyer you will struggle to have a business, therefore you need to look after your customers. You can do this by
- answering queries quickly,
- setting the expectations about your service or product from the get-go,
- taking responsibility for the mistake and offering the client ways that the mistake can be rectified,
- Being on time with your delivery, and
- Having a great return policy.
Train your staff on how to deal with difficult clients and help them to come to a win-win solution for your business and the customer.
STRATEGY 3: Be convenient
You must make it easy for your customer to purchase from you. This could be through an online platform or face-to-face. If you use an online platform, encourage your customer to have an account with you which will make purchasing, delivering and if the need arises, returning a product easy.
In a store, make sure you have enough cashiers to handle the flow of customers. Have clearly designated queue areas.
STRATEGY 4: Personalize your content
After your customer has dealt with you a couple of times, you may have some data about their likes and dislikes, and which products they prefer to buy from you. With this data, you can personalise the communications to suit their interests in your company. You can send them informative brochures about how to use the product they have purchased. Or you can offer a regular email that keeps customers informed about your industry and areas they may be interested in.
STRATEGY 5: Use surveys
You may think your customers have interests in certain areas but are you sure? Sending out a survey will help you to create content, services and products which satisfy the needs of your customers from their perspective.
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