The rising power of consumers is perhaps the biggest game-changer in the world of modern business. People are well-informed, less tolerant of shabby service, and more specific in their demands. Digital technologies have empowered them and transformed the way businesses perceive and deal with them. Nowadays, attracting customers is just one part of the success equation. The real work starts once you need to keep their attention and win their trust.
Namely, customer retention is a metric that refers to keeping an existing customer over a certain period of time. This comes through powerful bonding on more than one level, as only then does the loyalty occur. At that moment, the buyer becomes your brand ambassador and does not shy away from paying money and putting in a good word for you. Everyone can make a good first impression, but a lasting one is something else entirely.
A Strategic Approach to Customer Retention
Businesses operate in a competitive arena, fighting for the same army of customers. To stay ahead, they have to go the extra mile and strive to be strategic and proactive instead of reactive. In other words, businessmen must get familiar with and anticipate emerging buyers’ needs. Not only that, but it is of the utmost importance to also grasp the emotional layers of desires and frustrations, as well as practical challenges of the existing customers.
You could say that the path ahead is clear, although riddled with obstacles. To overcome them, you have to build a well-organized brand and put efficient and documented business practices into place. After all, retention is a daunting endeavor of empathizing, resonating, and connecting with the consumer. Rising up to the challenge requires organizations to shift their mindset, strategies, tactics, and marketing tools.
Tapping Into a Steady Stream of Profits
Most companies generate revenue through the combination of securing new customers and selling to the existing ones. But, entrepreneurs are not aware that the solid retention allows business organizations to tap into a steady stream of profit coming from repeat sales. There is no better way to move ahead financially, grow a company, and improve the bottom line.
Namely, returning shoppers spend way more money than one-time customers. Besides, it is much more cost-effective to focus on keeping the current customers happy than to attempt to attract new ones. One other benefit you should reap is the word-of-mouth promotion, a free, yet high-impact form of marketing. Failing to utilize such benefit is not an option.
Using Big Data to Thoroughly Understand Your Customers
The first step on the journey is getting to know your customers. Big data and business analytics have changed the rules of the game, making it more complex and rewarding at the same time. In a nutshell, brands need to dive into data and uncover consumer patterns. This is a sound strategy to identify high-performing customers as well as those that show promise. Likewise, you can develop a deeper understanding of their decision-making and improve your planning and execution.
Soak in the feedback and use it as a building material for your marketing messages, products, and services. Stay in tune with the goings-on in your industry sector and niche and see what your competition is doing. You have a multitude of sources to get this research stage right: Google Trends, industry reports, surveys, search results, comments on social media, etc. Once you understand customer data, you will be able to customize and personalize your service.
Cutting Through the Noise in the Marketing Landscape
The problem is that customers are spoilt for choice and have all the resources of modern technology. Hence, changing loyalties in this day and age is effortless for them. So, how does one stand out from the crowd? Well, the majority of customers make purchasing decisions based on what they hear from their friends and family or stumble upon while browsing the web.
They are biased towards products and services of a company they have heard of and tend to perceive it in a positive light, as a business that cares for people, not just profit. Emotions play a crucial role: People want to deal with businesses they can trust and relate to. For that reason, companies have to create a marketing budget and figure out the best tools to cut through the noise in the marketing landscape.
To make it happen, you need to make well-informed decisions. One of them is a no-brainer ‒ digital marketing is your best shot to build lasting connections with your audience. Moreover, embrace a targeted tactic because transmitting messages should not be like shooting in the dark. Start the process of brand building and speak with a distinctive voice. Pay close attention to your branding triangle of customer relations, business identity, and content management.
In case you are not confident in your ability to handle this, feel free to hire local or international professionals such as this branding agency in Melbourne. Furthermore, take your time when pondering on the visual identity of the site and its design. Enable smooth navigation and short loading times. Display striking images, well-crafted copy, and relevant information. See if you can secure testimonials and customer reviews. All these elements contribute to your branding and marketing.
Loyal Customers Deserve Something More...
It goes without saying that consumers do not like to be treated like mere dollar signs. Thus, give them something before asking them to spend money. First of all, offer incentives to the first-time buyers. Note that coupons, giveaways, and discounts can help you get off on the right foot with your consumers. They act as a gateway to a long and fruitful buyer’s journey.
Sometimes, even a thank-you letter can provide a positive experience and entice someone to stick around. However, do not stop at that, and know that loyal customers deserve something more, the special perks. Think in terms of invite-only services, premium accounts, gifts, VIP memberships, etc. Monitor how your loyalty programs affect buying habits and make adjustments every now and then.
Providing Outstanding Customer Service
According to Michael Mehlberg, a business must know how to deal with difficult and angry customers. They tend to share their negative opinions with others and can spread them like wildfire across social media. One careless move by any of your employees, and your reputation is at risk of being tarnished. On a brighter note, you are not without means of avoiding such scenarios.
Customer service is the tool to mend these tricky situations and fix problems of unhappy customers. Thus, strive to tackle them head-on, without delays. Follow up with all the complaints and do not be afraid to look in the inbox or pick up a phone. Establish a strong online presence and employ a variety of communication channels. The internet has created a level playing field where interaction is instant and relentless.
Emails, social media profiles, and messaging apps are all necessary. They enable you to send responses promptly and take advantage of various customer engagement forms. A community manager can actively monitor interactions across social media channels and carry out a consistent omni-channel communication strategy. That way, it is also possible to keep an eye on customers who are referring to their friends and thank them.
Getting Back to the Basics for a Razor-Sharp Competitive Edge
Another indispensable tool for businesses is content marketing, so make the most of it and delight your customers. They will recognize the value and appreciate the quality content, unlike traditional ads, tedious pop-ups, and aggressive promotions. So, come up with a good content strategy, emphasize quality, and make sure every piece is relevant and attention-worthy. Also, make sure to optimize your content for SEO.
Bear in mind that you have both paid and free distribution channels at your disposal. Through marketing, branding, and customer service, you can capitalize on your opportunity to prove your worth and stay on the mind of the audience. Learn to be a good storyteller, not just another salesman.
Finally, always remember that communication is a two-way process. Often, people just want to voice their opinions and be heard. The ultimate goal of improving the overall consumer experience and satisfaction does not have to cost you much. It revolves around the value your company brings and the customer service quality it provides. Deliver on your irresistible promises and gain a razor-sharp competitive edge.
Stay Ahead of the Customer Retention Curve
The value of returning shoppers is pivotal to the success of any business. And since customer retention strategies are the bedrock of your efforts, you should either optimize them or get back to the drawing board. Either way, make sure to differentiate yourself from the competition and offer people real value. Gauge what drives buying decisions and exceed people’s expectations.
Harness the power of big data to discover engagement opportunities and most effective marketing and branding strategies. Address all the wishes and needs of all your customers via multiple channels. Build positive image and reputation as the essence of your brand. Handle whatever comes your way and respond to emergencies and immediate concerns. Assemble a customer-centric business on all levels, including employees, management, and leadership.
About the Author
Business Consultant at BizMarkBlog.com
David Webb is a Sydney-based business consultant and online marketing analyst. With six years of experience and a degree in online business strategies, he is driven to help people to better understand this new digital age. In his free time, David enjoys writing, travelling and an occasional night out with his friends.