Of all the things to focus on as a business, holding on to customers should be top of your priority list. Why? On average, 65% of a company’s revenue comes from existing customers, making retention a fundamental part of any commercial strategy.
Of course, retaining customers is no mean feat. With competition at record levels, loyalty is stretched thin, so you need to offer an exemplary service to ensure people keep coming back for more.
If retaining customers has proven a challenge in the past, our guide can help. Here, we share 8 practical ways to improve customer retention, so you can maximise revenue and brand advocacy.
- Take a Multi-Channel Approach to Customer Engagement
- Introduce a Customer Loyalty Scheme
- Optimise Your Website
- Encourage Repeat Custom with Rewards and Offers
- Invest in a CRM Tool…
- …And Then Optimise It
- Look to Continually Improve Service Levels
- Invest in Your Staff
1. Take a Multi-Channel Approach to Customer Engagement
Customers expect brands to operate on multiple fronts, providing seamless communication and engagement across a range of channels. Not only does this make it much easier for people to contact you, but it also enhances visibility, keeping your brand firmly in the line of sight of your existing customer base.
To optimise engagement, think about how you can improve customer service. Good customer service is about more than efficient telecommunications; you need to cover all bases, including email, social media, contact forms, and quick-chat functionality, if you’re to provide a comprehensive service that addresses customer needs and drives engagement.
This, of course, requires time, money and appropriate staffing so don’t forget technology can also help you out here.
Modern business management software can automate a whole host of activities that can help you improve your customer service levels. For instance, upon receipt of an order, you can set up a chain reaction of events such as alerting the warehouse, sending out a thank you email to the customer with electronic invoice and attaching any relevant documentation.
Additionally, there are software applications that can help you automate your social media posts or email marketing software that can send automated thank you messages.
Nothing can beat the personal touch but when you can’t be everywhere for everyone, these are just some of simple things that go a long way to creating an efficient order fulfilment process and superior customer service.
2. Introduce a Customer Loyalty Scheme
Never underestimate the value that loyal, repeat customers bring to your business. They spend more, engage more, and are more likely to recommend your brand to others. In short, they’re an invaluable asset, so treat them accordingly.
There are many ways to show appreciation to repeat customers, and a loyalty scheme is one of the best tried-and-trusted methods. When people feel they are accruing rewards or bonuses for spending with you, they’re more likely to stick around, so any incentives you offer will be worth the outlay.
While you do need a system that supports running a loyalty program, once it is set up it stops being work. You simply design a special card that allows customers to get a certain number of points for every purchase that corresponds to the amount of money they spend. Your customers can then utilise these cards to get free gifts or additional discounts on subsequent purchases.
This method is highly effective and is proven to work. The biggest supermarket chains have recorded a record number of sales over the years – and so can you.
3. Optimise Your Website
Just how easy is it for repeat customers to find products and make purchases on your website? And what areas can you improve to maximise prospects and conversions from your existing customer base?
When optimising your site, repeat customers should be high on your priority list. Be sure to include ‘my account’ functionality on your e-commerce store, so customers can quickly reference past orders and account information.
You can take this a step further by adding quick re-buy functionality or introducing personalised elements that present unique results to previous customers. Review and audit your online presence regularly to ensure it’s catering to the needs of your loyal customers.
An FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions’) section on your website is also a useful resource for customers to look for their own answers before reaching out to service personnel.
And for any business not considering a fully integrated ecommerce website, a simpler option is to offer a B2B eTrade online customer portal. It’s a quicker and easier route to serving your trade customers, and cheaper to boot.
4. Encourage Repeat Custom with Rewards and Offers
Price is the main driver of competition within the e-commerce ecosystem. So, if you want to win repeat custom, offering deals and discounts to existing customers could help secure increased revenue.
Often, price is the deciding factor for web sales, with a few pounds and pence making the difference between winning a sale and not. As such, sending regular offers and coupons to customer mailboxes can be an effective way to guarantee repeat custom, with the increased revenue this generates offsetting the cost of reducing prices for certain products and services.
What’s more, providing offers to repeat customers can complement your inventory management strategy. For example, whenever you have surplus stock, a sales event can help you quickly sell it on, freeing up space and resources for incoming products.
5. Invest in a CRM Tool…
Whatever your goals and objectives, if you’re serious about improving customer retention, you need to invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) system. CRM software accrues customer data and interactions, providing indispensable insights that your whole team can leverage to improve service levels and maximise retention.
CRM software can be purchased as a standalone system or as part of an integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution. Opt for the latter, and you’ll enjoy a fully unified management system that can change the game when it comes to encouraging repeat custom. Learn more about ERP and CRM software and how they integrate here.
6. …And then Optimise It
While investing in CRM software is a positive step for any retention strategy, it’s not a silver bullet. To get the most from such a system, you need to use it to full effect, utilising its applications and modules to guarantee maximum performance and ROI.
From integrating the software with other management applications to regularly auditing system settings and data; there are lots of ways to ensure you’re getting the most from your CRM system. Always keep the system up to date and running the latest software, and configure workflows to ensure your team are targeting prospects that align with your goals and objectives.
Keen to learn more about utilising CRM software? Read our guide on the secrets of good customer relationship management.
7. Look to Continually Improve Service Levels
Customer retention is often a by-product of positive business health, with improvements and refinements helping to encourage repeat custom. Remember, every aspect of your customer journey can help to cultivate retention – from a user’s initial experience in-store, navigating your e-commerce website, or over the phone to order fulfilment, returns and follow-up processes.
Improving service levels will ultimately refine your customer experience, which will in turn boost retention. Even simple changes such as auditing business processes and improving order fulfilment can have a positive impact on retaining custom, demonstrating a proactive willingness to change that will help to build loyalty with your growing customer base.
8. Invest in Your Staff
Boosting customer retention doesn’t happen organically or after a few technical tweaks and refinements. It requires cultural change within your business, with all teams working towards the same goal of attracting new customers and keeping hold of the old ones.
From customer service reps to warehouse operatives, your staff hold the key to increased loyalty and brand advocacy. Investing in additional training for your people can have a huge impact whether they’re customer-facing or not, helping to improve service levels and provide a better overall experience for the end-user.
We hope this guide has offered some inspiration on how to improve retention rates and encourage repeat custom. At Intact, we help brands deliver better services for their customers, providing innovative management solutions and tailored expertise. For more information or to learn more about our products and services, visit the homepage or contact us today.