Keeping an existing customer is more valuable to your company than trying to find a new one. This concept has been well known for a long time. Arguably one of the oldest and best-known English proverbs from at least the 16th century is “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Moving to the late 19th century, we’ve got Pareto recognizing that roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. Now in the 21st century, Forrester reports that it is five to 25 times less expensive to keep a good customer than to acquire one.3 It is more important than ever to maintain a healthy ongoing relationship with customers, now that unlimited information about your competitors is a click away. Here are three options that can be used to leverage your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to aid in customer retention.
1. Don’t be a strangerMost likely, your new customers have been checking you out for a while. Having gone through the phases of awareness, research, and consideration before making their first purchase, so act like the new acquaintance you’re becoming. Use your first onboarding communication to engage in a positive customer experience. Your customer interactions can be tailored according to purchase history, notes, and other data that has been captured. Effectively using CRM data in customer interactions will allow people to feel remembered and like they truly matter. If your product or service allows in-person interactions, provide information throughout your enterprise, prompting each of your employees to deliver an informed, personalized service to your customers.
2. The customer journey needs to have a destination
As you continue to engage with your new customer, it is vital to your organization to gather data on that customer, to understand that person’s evolving needs and demands. However, the raw data is not enough. Successful customer journeys connect and have discrete, measurable outcomes. Create a baseline customer experience that can be used to compare your customer’s actual journey. Define key focal points of a customer’s experience and use your CRM tools to discover those critical moments in the conversation where you’re most at risk of losing that person as a customer. You’ll have need data to honestly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy and to also provide guidelines to re-engage the customer.
3. Relationships are built on reciprocity
Consider reciprocity as the golden rule of customer engagement. In general, people tend to treat others the way they were treated. Loyalty programs provide a systematic platform to move the customer relationship from a purely transactional engagement to a partnership. Your organization can leverage access to products, services, and events to create unique experiences and memorable moments—and to connect with your most valuable customers. Use those opportunities to demonstrate your appreciation for their patronage and reinforce that they are valued. Formalize the process of capturing customer feedback instituting a Net Promoter Score (NPS) process. Consider setting up the feedback process as a recurring check-in quarterly or annually or as an engagement point of your customer lifecycle plan. Either way, the goal is to implement an NPS process that measures comparable points in their experience or moment in time.
Every market is a crowded market. Given how easy it is for a customer to investigate options and defect, brands need to proactively engage with the customers and create positive reciprocal relationships. Be like the 16th century falconers and recognize how valuable your customers are by investing in your relationship with them. Retain your new customers by treating each one as an individual, let your communications be timely and personal. Guide people on their journey to becoming customers, while engaging them in a long-term brand relationship.