Customer Retention: 5 Powerful Strategies That Guarantee Growth
  • Customer Retention: 5 Powerful Strategies That Guarantee Growth

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What’s a good customer retention rate in the eCommerce space? 

In an ideal world, it’s 100%. 

But ours is not an ideal world, so a 100% retention rate is difficult to achieve. 

We live in a world where businesses often lose touch with existing customers in pursuit of new ones. 

How sad!

I get it, acquiring new customers is great, but retaining existing customers is sweet. 

Imagine not having to worry about the cost of social advertisements, Google AdWords, and more marketing efforts that go into acquiring one new visitor.

So, to answer the above question, I’d say a healthy customer retention rate is the one that is always improving

If you managed to retain five customers this month, next month you have to make it above five.  

But for all that to happen, you need to have a Paul Gillin:

“Personalization is pointless without knowing the individual. Understand the dreams, hopes, and fears that motivate your customers then hit them where it counts.”

Customer experience is actually embedded in Amazon’s DNA. The ecommerce giant’s personalization of the customer shopping experience began in 2010 when they started recommending products to its customers through a data-driven “recommended for you” widget. As you can from the above image, Amazon customers are recommended offers according to their purchase history. This type of personalization not only increased customer satisfaction but it also enhanced loyalty and repetitive purchases by 56%.

Amazon’s attempt to personalize doesn’t start and stop with customizing the recommendation widget. This personalization trailblazer has employed the use of Netflix Research, personalization is one of the company’s pillars that allows each member to have a different experience/view of content that is displayed on the site. 

Unlike Amazon, Netflix doesn’t only depend on algorithms to fuel personalization, but it also uses the prowess of content to give a positive customer experience. Netflix also uses content to map the success or failure of its recommendations on the basis of how users are liking or disliking them. 

Okay, enough about internet giants! 

So, how can you deliver a personalized customer experience on your website?  

Well, first and foremost, you should first understand the moments of struggle that have led customers to purchase your product or a competing product.

To do that, you’d need to interview customers using the Starbucks is good at this: 

I know that customer retention through social media isn’t easy –but its worth the effort. Most B2B brands seem to struggle on social media. This is why Dave Gerhardt say: 

The bar is so low with being great on social media, and it’s such a miss for most companies.”

It shocking that in this internet age we still have brands that are dormant on social media. Nowadays, the competition is stiff, if you snooze you lose.

If your brand is not active on social media, then you are leaving a lot of money on the table. According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers.

It’s easy to understand why: when you’re engaging your customers on social media, you’re building connection and rapport. You’re taking the time to provide your followers with useful information, help, and entertainment, without asking for anything in return.

That shows customers you value them, not just as a source of revenue, but as people. Customers will begin to see you as an entity that cares about them and has values, personality, and vision. And in a competitive market, that can make a huge difference.

But here’s the trick with social media: Consumers see Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as social networks, not marketing machines. This means that they don’t want to be pitched to, they want authentic engagement.

4. Excellent customer service 

When I think about excellent customer service, I’m reminded of Khalid’s experience after buying a mattress online a few weeks ago. The story goes like this: 

Khalid purchased a mattress online, but the delivery of the mattress was two weeks late. Out of annoyance, he called their customer care team and the person who answered the phone showed some empathy, and that made Khalid to forget why he was mad. 

What made Khalid forget why he was angry is that he felt heard and his feelings were acknowledged. You see, that’s the power of excellent customer service at play. It helps enhance the experience of customers. 

The foundation of good customer service is empathy. In customer service, empathy means that you are able to connect with and affirm a customer’s feelings, even if you are unable to resolve their problem right away.

But if you want your customers to stay put and trust your brand, you have to approach customer service as an opportunity to to leave a good impression with customers by dealing efficiently with their questions and ensuring that they are satisfied. 

Here’s how you can use customer service to improve retention: 

1. Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You

Don’t make customers have to search long and hard for contact details. Make it easy for them to find a phone number or any other contact details. 

And make it a point that you also provide a comprehensive FAQ section on your website, as this can quickly give customers the information they are looking for.

Here’s a great example from Schuh – clear contact details in the site header:

2. Customer Service Channels and Response Times

Offering a contact phone number and email address is a must for most businesses, but you should also think about the other channels you’ll provide for customer service, and how many you can reasonably support.

Customers have different expectations for each channel. For live chat and phone contact, they’ll expect instant responses, but some will use email or other channels for less urgent issues, as replies can take longer.

It’s good to set expectations around when customers should expect responses, as customers have different expectations depending on which channel they use.

Offer efficient free-shipping

Shipping has the potential to cause plenty of customer service issues, and this can have an impact on retention rates.

If you can deliver goods on time as promised, customers will be confident to order again and again. Delays and other shipping issues can lead to some very frustrated customers, especially at certain times of the year, like Christmas.

Shipping can be a pain for retailers, as it’s often outsourced to couriers and postal services and therefore beyond their direct control. They have to trust that their choice of courier won’t let them down and undo their hard work in attracting customers to their websites and persuading them to convert.

It’s also important to set customer expectations around delivery. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It can be better to underpromise and over-deliver.

5. Focus on educational content 

In most cases, customers won’t buy what they don’t know about. 

For this reason, the importance of educating customers cannot be underestimated. Educating customers is actually a way of answering their questions.

When you provide a profound level of expert-fueled knowledge to empower people to make informed decisions, you gain their trust. And in marketing, customer trust is the most important factor that helps retain more customers. 

So how do you educate your customers? Is there any platform or tool you should use to educate customers? 

Well, you don’t need a fancy platform to do this.

Email newsletters, blog posts, and live webinars are powerful lead generation tools that we have been using to retain some of the customers at Invesp. With the right content, an email newsletter and a blog can help you train your customers. 

According to Nielsen Norman Group:

Newsletters are great for growing or maintaining relationships, even during times when people aren’t actively making purchasing decisions.”

Attending new customers and email subscribers after the initial contact is vital. With an educational newsletter that you send out periodically, they’ll trust you more – and feel excited purchasing from you.

After all, “teaching sells,” says Brian Clark

Email marketing has over the years been a major way of increasing customer conversion. But the question still remains: “what type of emails are you sending to them?”

Sending an educational email is a smart method of educating your customers – and giving them good reasons to consider buying from you – and not your competitors.

If they can come across your valuable content when they are looking to make a purchase, odds are high that they will stick around and rely on you for valuable information. 

Dare to train your new customers with educational emails. Show them step-by-step, how to use your product, the benefits, and behind-the-scenes video or pictures. And nurture existing customers with loyalty programs. 

Just like you nurture your new employees to understand the company’s goal & culture, you must train your customers via email newsletters, blog posts and webinars.

Using customer’s personal experience at some point in the pre-sales, sales, and even post-sales stages can be very effective. Because, it gives them the feeling that they are part of your brand, as they are always informed about any change or promos associated with your business. This is a strong motivating factor when they’re making purchase decisions.

If you want to see what an educational and informative newsletter looks, you can join this community.

Conclusion

If you are really serious about increasing your revenue, then focus on customer retention. The backbone of every brand growth is customer rention. The more customers come back again and again for more, the more likely you are to achieve your business goals. But one thing you should know is that customer retention doesn’t happen overnight. But if you adopt the 5 strategies we mentioned above and be consistent, you will begin to see results.

Simba Dube

Simba Dube is the Growth Marketing Manager at Invesp. He is passionate about marketing strategy, digital marketing, content marketing, and customer experience optimization.

View All Posts By Simba Dube
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