What’s one of the most important metrics for a sustainable business? It’s the ability to retain its customers. We would say retaining a customer is even more important than attracting a new customer. When an existing customer returns it proves that they were happy the first time. This goes on to build customer loyalty.

The question is, do you know how to build a customer retention strategy that will make customers stick to your brand?

We’ve covered the top 18 customer retention strategies you need to know about.

First, do you know why you should care about your existing customers?

Why Should You Care About Your Existing Customers?

Is customer retention really important? Can’t new customers bring in as many profits as the existing customers? Here are a few reasons why you must care about your existing customers and focus on customer retention:

 

1. You’ve Found Your Customers

customer retention strategies

Getting new customers is hard for any business. Even when you expand your reach, you’ve to overcome many hurdles to make new customers buy into your brand. Customers may add items to their shopping cart and then simply not make a purchase. This might be because they don’t find their preferred payment option, they face delivery issues or they simply don’t trust your brand. When a customer makes their first purchase, you’ve already done the hard work and jumped through these barriers. Research shows that on average, existing customers are 40% more likely to buy from you than new customers. This stat only increases with more frequent purchases.

 

2. Existing Customers Bring More Profits

Customers who are making a repeat purchase are already happy with your brand and quality of service. This makes them more inclined to spend on bigger, and more expensive items than their previous purchases. Most customers would prefer buying premium items from a business they trust. Research studies show that customers who come in for a fifth purchase spend about 40-50% more as compared to their first purchase. Some of your biggest deals will be made to your existing customers, bringing in significant profits.

 

3. Positive Word-of-Mouth

Existing happy customers will likely recommend your business/brand to their friends, family, and acquaintances. Positive word-of-mouth makes a strong impact on your business, bigger than any that you can achieve with a marketing campaign. Word of mouth builds trust, loyalty, and a preference for your brand. Especially in the age of social media, one happy customer may help you to expand your customer base significantly.

 

4. Valuable Data Insights

In the current business landscape, data is an invaluable asset. Data can help you to deep dive into your business strategies and analyze whether they work, and why. Here is where your existing customers play an important role. You are more likely to have data about your repeat customers as compared to your new customers. Your existing customer’s profile, their purchasing patterns, spending habits, items of choice, etc will help you to make informed business decisions. This analysis won’t generate accurate results when solely based on one time customers.

18 Customer Retention Strategies to Skyrocket Your Business

1. Surprise Gifts and Discounts
2. Customer Service Top Priority
3. Customer Surveys
4. Build Trust
5. Learn From Customer Complaints
6. Train Your Customers About The Product
7. Deliver On Your Promises
8. Customer Feedback
9. Reward Your Most Profitable Customers
10. Use Gamification
11. Maintain a Communications Calendar
12. Measure Lifetime Value
13. Reduce Friction
14. Don’t Over-Promise
15. Create a Customer Community Around Your Brand
16. Social Media Shares
17. Reach Out Regularly to Every Customer
18. Keep Customers Updated On New Developments

So now that we know how crucial it is to retain our existing customers, we’ve listed out our top 18 customer retention strategies. Follow them all, and you will see a noticeable difference in your customer purchase habits.

 

1. Surprise Gifts and Discounts

Surprise Gifts

Loyal customers will stay with your brand if they feel appreciated. One way to do this is to surprise your customers with exclusive gifts and discounts. You can make a list of your most loyal customers, and then offer them vouchers for the items they most frequently purchase. You can also run festive or seasonal campaigns that offer special perks to your loyal customers.

Instead of discounts, you can also surprise your customers with gifts. Brands have increased their customer retention by sending gifts like a birthday card, a festive treat etc. Gifts and discounts also elevate your brand. In the age of social media, customers will likely share posts about your brand offers, thus expanding your reach. Gifts and discounts make customers feel valued and trusted, so they make further purchases from your brand.

✔️ Here are a few things to keep in mind when offering discounts and gifts
✔️ Make sure that your message is clear. Your customers must know that they are rewarded.
✔️ Not all customers are in the same bracket. Always offer better deals to customers that have a higher purchase rate.

 

2. Customer Service Top Priority

Customer service must be a top priority for any brand that wishes to build a loyal customer base. Customer service encompasses everything from a good delivery, good purchasing experience to good quality of services/items delivered. Most brands make the mistake of overestimating the quality of their customer service. You might think that your customer service is top-notch, but your customers need to feel the same way too.

Here are a few ways how you can offer a seamless customer service experience:

✔️ Always offer a consistent and cohesive experience. What your customers get once, they should get the same or higher quality every time.
✔️ Keep your communication channels open. Grievance redressal is a major part of your customer experience.
✔️ Always gain active feedback from customers.

3. Customer Surveys

Existing Customer Retention

Make a plan and send your customers regular surveys. These surveys can be simple offline feedback or an online form. Customer surveys will reveal hidden patterns in your customer service. They’ll help you determine which strategies were successful and which ones weren’t. Here are a few tips for designing an effective survey.

✔️ Keep the survey short and to-the-point.
✔️ Make sure that you cover a wide range of questions- from the shopping experience to product quality.
✔️ Ensure that your survey is a mixture of both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Open questions help you to gain deeper insights from your surveys.

 

4. Build Trust

Being transparent and honest is one of the most important things for a brand to do in today’s times. Trust proves one of the best customer retention strategies & help businesses to attract new customers. The trust you build with your customers could be the difference between success and failure. Brands fail to build trust when they provide a bad customer experience. This leads to the customer not trusting your brand and spreading negative word-of-mouth to others. Research shows that more than 80% of customers will recommend your brand to others if they trust it.

Here are a few simple tips on how to build trust with customers.

✔️Always strive for a quality customer experience.
✔️ Use data to build trust with your customers. Garner statistics and numbers, and let these speak for themselves.
✔️ Highlight positive customer reviews on your website, social media etc. Customers are more likely to trust your brand when some other customer has had a good experience.

5. Learn From Customer Complaints

The key to a successful business is learning from its mistakes. Customer complaints are not necessarily bad for your business. Instead, it provides you with an opportunity to find the defects and shortcomings of your product/service. Successful brands leverage these complaints and fix their problems. Complaining customers are far better than indifferent customers who leave no feedback. Here’s why you should take customer complaints as a good sign-

✔️ If a customer is complaining about your business, it means that they still are interested in doing business with you.
✔️ Customer complaints help you identify what your customers need and what they expect from you.
✔️ Statistics show that 70% of customers who complain and get a solution, come back for repeat business.

 

6. Train Your Customers About The Product

Traning is the simple customer retention strategies & that will cost you little or nothing to implement. Email and newsletter marketing continues to be one of the most potent channels of communication with customers today. Email to lead conversions are still as effective in marketing as they were before. Customers are likely to stay with your brand if they know and understand it. Emails can also be educational, thus helping you to deliver value to your customers along with promoting your content.

Here are a few benefits of training customer’s about your products and services

✔️ Even when customers aren’t making active purchase decisions, sending them newsletters and emails maintains a relationship and get customers excited about new products.
✔️ Customers learn about your brand via exclusive behind the scenes content. It also builds trust.
✔️ Showing your customers how to use your products/services stepwise, and teaching them about their benefits will increase sales.

7. Deliver On Your Promises

As a brand, always deliver on what you promise. When you promise your customers something, you set your benchmarks about what that customer expects from you. If you fail to deliver on your promise, you set off a negative trend of distrust and dishonesty. Statistics show that about 25% of all brands fail to deliver their customers what they promise. To ensure that you don’t fall into the same trap, here are a few tips.

✔️ Always under-promise your customers and set reasonable, but low expectations
✔️ When you set low expectations, you can exceed those expectations with your quality of service, leading to happy customers.
✔️ Never promise your customers something which you can’t deliver 100% of the time.
✔️ ‘Under-promise, over-deliver’ should be the mantra of every successful business.

 

8. Customer Feedback

Customer Feedback

Brands have to know their strengths and weaknesses to grow. Feedback from customers helps brands to identify the products/services that work, and those that need improvements. Your customers feel valued when their concerns are addressed. Have a robust system in place to gather insights from feedback to make valuable business decisions. Here are a few popular channels for feedback.

✔️ Online forms and questionnaires.
✔️ Feedback over telephone calls
✔️ Offline survey forms.
✔️ Point of sale ratings and reviews.
✔️ Email surveys.

9. Reward Your Most Profitable Customers

Your most profitable customers are your most valuable asset. You must do everything in your power to retain and engage these customers. You can go through your database and make a list of these VIP customers. Here’s how you can reward them.

✔️ Offer special loyalty programs to your VIP customers.
✔️ Get exclusive deals, sneak peeks, and discounts that will make them want to buy from you.
✔️ Go the extra mile with handwritten notes, by offering customized and personalized shopping experiences to them.

 

10. Use Gamification

Adding an element of gamification is excellent for generating leads and retaining customers at the same time. Gamification refers to referral programs, affiliate programs, combo discounts, and so on. This is one of the customer retention strategies that require you to be creative, smart and know your customers well. Here are a few instances of how brands use gamification.

✔️ Affiliate programs- Brands run programs where their affiliates get a commission on every product sold through their channel.
✔️ Email discounts- Customers get 10-20% off on their first purchase when they leave their emails. These emails can be used for further promotions.
✔️ Referrals- Referrals are extremely popular. For every customer that signs up using the referral, both the existing and the new customer get discounts.

11. Maintain a Communications Calendar

Communications Calendar

A communications calendar is an excellent strategy to maintain customer interaction. A communication calendar is a software automation tool. Just like you design your content and marketing plans, this calendar will help you set up a plan for consumer interactions. You can set predetermined dates and messages, as to when your customers will receive an email, a phone call, an offer voucher and so on. There are several tools available online to help you design a marketing calendar.

Here are a few reasons why you should go for one:
✔️ Your customer interaction process is automated- saving both time and money.
✔️ You can come up with a detailed plan ranging from pre-sale, sales to post-sale communications.
✔️ Brands who maintain customer interaction have historically witnessed more repeat purchases as compared to brands that don’t interact.
✔️ Customer interaction using a calendar will improve trust, clear doubts, and encourage the customer to remember your brand and come back.

 

12. Measure Lifetime Value

Your customers are a valuable asset to your business. Customer acquisition costs (CAC) are often much higher than what a customer purchases for the first time. Brands pay a lot of attention to generating new leads. While that is important, it’s equally crucial that brands maintain their existing leads, give them good customer service, and customize marketing plans for their existing customers. Customer lifetime value (CLV) is calculated as-

(Average Value of a sale)×(Number of repeat transactions)×(Average retention time in months or years)

CLV maintains a healthy cash flow and offsets any high business investments. Here are a few tips to increase your CLV.

✔️ Use emails to answer common questions.
✔️ Try to build habits around your products.
✔️ Incorporate customer feedback

13. Reduce Friction

Customers need an optimal experience. Friction refers to any cause that slows down business or disrupts your quality of service. Your customers may experience friction when they have trouble loading your website, limited payment options, delayed deliveries, and face hassles during returns. Here’s are a few quick tips to reduce friction in business.

✔️ Optimize your website so it loads faster.
✔️ Track your inventory and update it.
✔️ Streamline checkouts. The entire process should not take more than 4-5 clicks.
✔️ Provide an FAQ page, delivery options, and return policy for easy access.

 

14. Don’t Over-Promise

Make sure that your promises match reality. Many brands go overboard with their product descriptions and quality of experience and fail to deliver on them. One of the simplest customer retention strategies is to never over-promise and under-deliver. This is one of the primary ways of how brands lose credibility. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, follow these tips.

✔️ Describe your products and services as accurately as possible.
✔️ Promise your customers only when you are sure that you can deliver.
✔️ Be clear and direct about any potential issues, or any bottlenecks that might cause problems later.

15. Create a Customer Community Around Your Brand

Creating a community around your brand will engage customers and keep their interest alive. One excellent way to go about this is by developing a discussion forum on your website/ social media. Customers will get a chance to openly ask questions, get their doubts clarified, and easily give new suggestions. Some of the most successful brands today have a strong and loyal community of customers.

Here’s how you can build up a successful brand community:

✔️ Set up a blog, website portal, or a social media page exclusively for customer discussions.
✔️ Set up FAQ’s, allow customers to leave reviews, and suggest ideas.
✔️ You can also post exclusive deals and offers to encourage customer participation. Post news and updates about your products on the blog.
✔️ Take the negative comments in stride and openly respond to them. This helps in building trust with your customers.

 

16. Social Media Shares

customer retention strategies

Social media is a place that focuses on your target demographic. Effective business marketing and customer retention strategies revolve around deriving insights from social media, tailoring your customer experience, and interacting with them. Many brands promote their products from giveaways/contests that deal with user-generated content. Social media shares will help your brand too.

✔️ Build credibility. Your reach will expand along with expanding loyalty from existing customers.
✔️ Keep your customers engaged and interested.
✔️ Curate products and services that your target demographic wants.

17. Reach Out Regularly to Every Customer

To build strong, long term relationships with your clients, reach out to them periodically. Ensure that you respond to your customer feedback, complaints, and orders quickly and efficiently. Even when customers are not actively purchasing, send them emails, newsletters, messages, and so on to keep them updated with the latest products and services you offer.

Some tips implement this customer retention strategy:

✔️ Ask the right questions at the right time.
✔️ Take regular customer satisfaction surveys.
✔️ Offer educational content along with promotional ones. Deliver value to your customers every time.

 

18. Keep Customers Updated On New Developments

Keeping your customers updated with developments makes them feel like a part of your team. Whether you’ve got new products coming up, new services launching, or even a change in executive leadership in your company, your customers would like to know about it. Keeping customers updated can be as simple as sending an email, newsletter, or message.

Here’s how and why keeping customers updated works:
✔️ Customers feel that their opinions are valued, and hence this develops loyalty.
✔️ You can also include sections to take feedback from customers whenever you have a new development. This will help you gauge customer reactions.
✔️ Customers get clear, correct, and concise information when they hear directly from you. Getting information from third-party sources can be misleading.

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Conclusion

These were our top 18 customer retention strategies for your business. Customers are any company’s most valuable asset. With these retention strategies, you should witness growth in returns and higher KPI’s. Following these strategies requires patience. None of these will yield quick results, but garnered over time, you’ll see a significant improvement in profit margins.