When does customer retention happen?
A common misconception about customer retention is the idea that customer retention happens after you have a customer. In reality, customer retention begins with marketing. There are a variety of marketing strategies and tactics you can use to increase customer retention.
In this post, I’ll provide you with three tips you can use to retain customers throughout the buyer’s journey and following the sale.
Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Use copywriting to create a great customer experience
Great customer service begins with your marketing. A recent report found that “50 percent of customers are likely to switch brands if a company fails to anticipate their needs.”
Here’s where it gets worse.
- 74 percent of customers will switch if brands have a difficult checkout process
- 52 percent will switch if brands don’t make an effort to personalize communications for them
- 50 percent will leave if brands don’t provide an easy-to-use mobile experience
This is where copywriting comes in.
If you’ve done the upfront work to identify your ideal customer via demographics, psychographics, and ethnographics, you should have a clear idea of the words you’ll need to use with your visitors, followers, and customers.
This is where it starts.
If you haven’t done the upfront work required to create content that resonates with your target audience, your results will be hit or miss. You want your customers to come away with the feeling “they get me, they really get me.”
How do you do this?
You create content that speaks to their problems, offers a solution, but approaches it using the culture and language. The more closely attuned your content is to your customer, the more your content will resonate with them.
If customers believe you’re listening to them and working to anticipate their needs, they’re far more likely to stay.
Tip #2: Build relationships using email automation
Thirteen years ago, Slate predicted the end of email. Research from Statista shows that it’s the opposite. Email continues to grow at a brisk pace year-over-year, with a projected 4.3 billion users in 2023. Data from Litmus shows email produces $42 for every $1 invested.
Email is still a good investment.
But can it be used to build a strong relationship with customers?
Automated email marketing campaigns can be used in a variety of tactics throughout the buyer’s journey. You can use them to:
- Onboard new customers
- Answer questions in a Q&A format
- Provide exclusive content to subscribers
- Share curated content
- Request feedback from subscriber or customer advisory boards
- Create loyalty and rewards programs
In his book, the Invisible Selling Machine, Ryan Deiss outlines the five types of messages you’ll need to send in your emails.
- Indoctrination: This step is an introduction — you introduce your brand and yourself to subscribers, set expectations, and begin building relationships with your subscribers.
- Engagement: This step involves discussing interests and desires with your subscribers and encouraging them to purchase a relevant solution (e.g., product or service) to their desire or problem.
- Ascension: Encouraging your customers to improve or upgrade their experience via repeat purchases.
- Segmentation: Interview your customers to learn more about what they want to learn, consume, or purchase from you next.
- Re-engagement/win back: Restoring a relationship with subscribers or customers who have gone cold.
Using the various types of emails and the messages above, you can create campaigns that are appealing, engaging, and, most importantly, profitable. All of this falls flat if you don’t have the right email service provider.
Here’s why this matters.
Some email providers have limits on the number of emails you can send. Several email providers don’t provide the automation functionality you need; some say they offer automation but place severe restrictions on the messages you can send.
What should email automation provide?
“You should be able to automate your marketing workflows, track your stats, send more and better emails, and, most importantly, build a deeper relationship with your visitors.” Choosing the right provider is just as important as the emails themselves.
In addition to the usual details like features, deliverability rates, plans, and pricing, you’ll also need specifics on features and product fit. If you’re running an ecommerce store, for example, you’ll need a provider that integrates with your shopping cart.
Tip #3: Exit interviews and surveys
This is one of the most painful parts of marketing, but it’s definitely a best practice. According to Esteban Kolsky, former CEO of ThinkJar “Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. A lesson here is that companies should not view absence of feedback as a sign of satisfaction. The true enemy is indifference.”
A study by Clutch.co supported these findings, stating that 81 percent of online shoppers do not write reviews. This is the feedback that you need to hear — no matter how painful or unpleasant the experience may be. These exit interviews are the keys to customer retention.
Exit interviews and surveys are essential.
They provide you with the customer feedback you need to make important changes in your business. Maybe your customers had an unpleasant experience. Perhaps they’re struggling with your onboarding process. Or they don’t feel they’ve received the value you’ve promised.
Asking is the only way you’ll find out.
When you extract this feedback from customers, it hurts; it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow. But it’s essential if you’d like to keep the rest of your customers. What if you don’t know what to ask?
Just ask your customers any of the following questions.
- Did we make you happy?
- What did we do well?
- What could we improve?
Give your customers the psychological safety they need (so they’re not worried about hurting your feelings) then, sit back and listen. These exit interviews will provide you with a significant amount of data if you’re consistently requesting feedback.
Increase customer retention with these best practices
Customer retention begins with your marketing, but it takes place throughout the customer lifecycle. As we’ve seen, there are a variety of marketing best practices you can use to improve customer retention.
Your content shows customers you understand them, email automation enables you to build strong relationships with subscribers and customers. Exit interviews and surveys identify retention barriers and confirm your upfront research.
It’s a cycle that fuels growth.
Use these marketing best practices to retain the customers you’ve worked so hard to attract.