If you thought that you did not need to put too much effort into a customer retention strategy, think again. Too many brands put all of their budgets, resources and effort into lead nurturing and other strategies designed to bring in new customers, with little to no thought on retention.
Sadly, however, it is your customer retention strategy that is often a make or breaks factor for customers. Without a solid, holistic strategy designed to retain and engage customers at every stage of their journey, you will battle to see genuine growth.
Despite the obvious importance of retention strategies, many brands assume that this is something that will come later down the line. If you are serious about seeing results from your digital marketing efforts, now is the time to start thinking about why your customer retention strategy is broken.
Luckily, even the most broken of retention strategies is not beyond hope. Keep reading to get our top signs that your customer retention strategy is in dire need of help so that you can find out what to do to avoid disaster.
Top Signs Your Customer Retention Strategy Has Failed
How can you tell whether your customer retention strategy is in desperate need of TLC? For starters, you can look out for the following warning signs:
- You ignore customer feedback. If customers give you feedback, it is vital that you follow up and make sure that their issue has been resolved. You won't be able to make changes or grow if you are not listening to your customers or using their feedback to craft a better customer experience.
- You take customer feedback personally. It is all too easy to get defensive, angry or emotional when customers leave feedback. Often, customers are not feeling great when they leave feedback. Responding in anger can end up making things far worse. Instead, be objective and aim to resolve the problem quickly and professionally.
- You set customer expectations unrealistically high. If you set expectations at a very high level, it will become a lot harder to keep customers happy. As the old saying goes, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and under-deliver. Keep expectations realistic right from the start to provide a level that you can realistically maintain.
- You take loyal customers for granted. Do not ever let loyal customers feel taken for granted. These customers are your brand advocates, who play an integral part in your customer loyalty strategies. When you treat these customers dismissively or poorly, you may end up losing a major asset. Instead, focus on how you can reward these customers and make them continue to promote your business.
- You automate everything without thinking. Marketing automation is an invaluable tool for customer retention, loyalty and acquisition. That does not mean that you should automate absolutely everything, though. Be very careful of an automated phone and email messages, automated 'thanks for following' messages and other generic automated messages. Instead, use personalisation to craft clever, powerful automated messages that add genuine value to customers.
- You are losing customers through long, uninspiring surveys. No one likes to waste time on long, boring surveys that require excessive thought and actions. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to give you feedback, without having to waste minutes of their day. As important as customer feedback surveys are, they are not worth it if customers end up leaving the survey half-way through. Make your surveys fast, easy and straight-forward, with simple answers that do not require much thought or effort. This will make it far easier for customers to share their feedback. USSD is a simple and cost-effective mobile channel to conduct quick and real-time surveys.
- You have stopped measuring customer satisfaction. Do not assume that satisfied customers will stay with you forever. If you put too much thought into customer satisfaction, you run a very real risk of losing out on the chance to impress customers. True customer experience is far more than a random survey once in a while. It is a consistent effort to engage with customers at every stage of their journey. Customer loyalty is by far the best way to measure retention. Loyal customers will not leave unless they have a very good reason. Focus on those metrics to get a far more accurate idea of retention rates.
- You forget about special occasions. Be careful about these seemingly small details. When you send customers messages on their birthday and anniversary of their first purchase, you are showing them that you genuinely care about them. This gives you the chance to strengthen relationships, increase loyalty, and ultimately, drive retention. When you forget about these little details, you are missing out on all of this – instead, you are letting customers know that you are more concerned with their purchases than anything else.
- You focus too much on customer acquisition and not enough on retention. Remember... it costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. Many, many brands forget this, putting a great deal of time and resources into customer acquisition and very little into retention. When you are focusing your efforts on new customers rather than current customers, you will soon start to see an effect on your revenue... not a positive effect, either, we might add.
- You are trying to entice customers with discounts. Discounts are great. Trying to lure or keep customers by offering them discounts is not as great. This may seem like a good idea at the time. In reality, you are devaluing your own business, giving away products or services to attempt to buy loyalty. Rather than trying to give away products at lower prices, think about how you can add more value. This will encourage customers to stick with you, giving you a chance to wow them once again.
- You are reactive instead of proactive. It is essential to be proactive instead of reactive. Being proactive when it comes to customer service means preventing problems before they become bigger problems. Being reactive means dealing with problems when they have reached a point of no return. A proactive approach is one of the best ways to reduce churn, which in turn helps conversion in the long run as well.
- You ignore data or don't track data at all. Finally, if you are not looking at your numbers for any reason, you are going to struggle to stay on track. The very reason that you invest in marketing automation tools is to deliver a consistent level of quality to customers at every stage of their journey. Ignoring data or not looking at the data at all is never a good way forward. You have a number of useful bits of information at your fingertips. Make sure that you use it wisely so that you can plan digital marketing strategies that are designed for success.
Ready to learn more about customer retention strategies that work? Get in touch with our team if you would like to know more about getting started with a comprehensive digital marketing platform that helps you plan the best customer retention strategies for every stage of the customer journey.