7 Customer Retention Strategies That Work Very Well

7 Customer Retention Strategies That Work Very Well

Customer Retention as a Fast and Easy Website Concept

A business with poor customer retention is a lot like a bucket with holes. You can try to make it work, but you’re better off figuring out how to patch the holes up.

First things first: what is customer retention? As the name implies, this is a process of turning your existing customers into loyal buyers. Studies show that increasing your customer retention rate by 5% can increase your profits by up to 95%.

Focusing on customer retention strategies comes with other benefits as well. It helps you figure out how satisfied your customers are and what might be turning them off. Retaining customers is also much cheaper than acquiring new ones.

Not sure how to retain your customers? Here are seven tips to get you started.

1. Educate Your Customers

Once your customers sign up, don’t leave them to fend for themselves. Instead, help them learn how to use your products by offering the right resources.

The most common method of doing this is to provide product onboarding. This provides simple tips and tutorials to guide new customers. You can get a similar effect by sending a series of lifecycle emails to all new customers.

For customers who prefer self-service training, offer an online academy of training resources. The academy may include live classes that anyone can register for. One-on-one training sessions with an onboarding specialist are also worth it.

2. Provide Surprise Reciprocity

Surprise reciprocity is one of the most effective ways to retain customers. You could even say that reciprocity is one of the things that makes the world go ’round.

Reciprocity is a simple concept: people will respond based on how you treat them. If you’re nice to someone, they’ll be nice to you as well. This is why providing good service is a great way to get people to recommend your products.

Now, the big thing about reciprocity is that it works even better when it’s a surprise. Can you remember the last time someone did something nice for you out of the blue? Even if the gesture wasn’t a big deal, it likely still left an impression on you.

The trick, then, is to surprise your customers with a nice gesture once in a while. You can send them swag or even a handwritten note. Though these may seem old-fashioned, they can still make your customers feel special.

3. Do Loyalty Programs Right

Many businesses use customer loyalty programs, but few of them are effective. The good news: there’s a ton of research that can help you get it right.

For example, did you know that the biggest pitfall of loyalty programs is getting started? Customers are twice as likely to finish loyalty cards if they’re automatically started as soon as they sign up. We call this the endowed progress effect.

Also, customers love being “gold” or VIP members. The only catch is that there needs to be a class below them on the totem pole. If you implement a silver and gold class, you should see an uptick in gold members’ participation.

Creating a loyalty program is much easier with the right loyalty program software. This gives you all the tools you need to improve the customer experience.

4. Stand for Something

Most customers don’t feel like they have relationships with brands. Of the ones that do, though, most cite shared values as the main reason for that relationship.

Why does this happen? Well, it’s all about a cognitive bias known as implicit egotism. People have an unconscious preference for things that resemble them. If you want loyal customers, you need to let them know what values you share.

Many businesses shy away from this strategy because it’s “political.” This is a flawed line of thinking, as all companies have political agendas of some sort. Make the most of the things you stand for by making them a part of your brand.

5. Capture the Momentum

Making exciting improvements to your products can be a big momentum driver. That said, your customers may not feel the same way.

One thing you can do to change that is to share your work. Let the customers know what the latest versions of your products will let them do. This also helps the existing customers, as many of them might miss out on the new features.

Other than creating excitement, this momentum will carry over into your sales. Studies show that telling customers about new products makes them 30% more likely to repurchase it or recommend it to others.

6. Focus on Quality Over Speed

In an ideal world, your customer service would get perfect marks in both speed and quality. In reality, the latter is much more important than the former.

See, customers are far more likely to engage with a brand if they deem their service as helpful. This is why spending more time with customers leads to a more positive experience. Rushing them will likely create more problems than it solves.

Speedy service can help too, but only if you’re delivering what your customers want. If you don’t, the customer is more likely to feel ignored. For instance, people are more sensitive to price changes if they receive poor support.

7. Reward Your Advocates

When it comes to how to retain customers, loyalty matters a whole lot. This is why it’s important to reward your brand advocates whenever you get the chance.

Let’s say you see someone recommending your product on social media. Most of the time, the right thing to do will be to reply to thank them. This shows that 1) you’re paying attention, and 2) their gesture means something to you.

For bigger rewards, consider using a referral program. One way to do this is to give your customers a $100 Amazon gift card when they refer someone. Consider giving that new customer some credit on their account as well.

Other Customer Retention Strategies

You’ll notice that none of the above customer retention strategies include shortcuts. This is by design — business relationships are a lot like personal ones.

Here’s one final tip for the road: overdeliver on your promises. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, so impressing them isn’t easy. The best way to stay competitive is to go above and beyond what your customers may expect.

Want to know more about how to have loyal customers? Trying to make the most of your marketing strategy? Keep reading our business-related content!

7 Actionable Tips to Increase Customer Loyalty

7 Actionable Tips to Increase Customer Loyalty

Wikipedia defines loyalty as “faithfulness or devotion to someone or something“. Well, it has always been one of the best qualities we look for in our friends and loved ones. As highly social creatures, we need to have someone on our side, supporting and encouraging us to move forward, whether we talk about personal life or business.

How to gain and increase customer loyalty?

Living in the ‘Age of the Customer’, where clients’ expectations around personalization continue to grow, most companies do their best to truly deliver qualitative one-to-one experiences, making people choose their products or services in a highly competitive business environment. A perfect example of this can be seen through Zappos and what’ve they’ve been able to establish themselves as over the years. You can buy shoes from anywhere, but you shop at Zappos for the experience.

Jeffrey Gitomer says it best… “You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You loyalty day-by-day.

Jeffrey Gitomer

Even huge multi-million dollar companies like Zappos have to start off somewhere, and they got to where they are today by taking it one day at a time.

This is something I also discussed in detailed when I got to interview Peter Shankman. Our discussion was on how nice companies finish first, and why it’s easier than ever to make an impression with your brand or business — when so many others are doing it wrong.

To improve customer loyalty within your own business or brand, be sure to implement the following practices into your daily operations.

1. Don’t take your customers for granted

The recent survey shows that the majority of customers (approximately 71%) give up on the brand or finish up business relationship because of poor customer service. In the era of tweets, Facebook and Instagram messages, customers are still looking for conversation with a real human being, i.e. a qualified customer service rep, able to help them in their shopping experience. Therefore, ensure that you have right people in your team.

2. Say ‘Hi’ and don’t forget about ‘Goodbye’

Everyone knows that people remember the first and the last moment of the conversation longer and much better than anything happened in between. The way you welcome and thank your clients is crucial for your business success. So, don’t forget to put a friendly smile in front of your customers and say goodbye to the employees with a ‘grumpy cat’ face.

3. Better one small fish than an empty dish

Every customer is important, whether he is going to spend $5 or 5,000 bucks. If you have many loyal customers, they will bring you a stable cash flow every day. If you put a lot of efforts trying to convert a ‘whale’, and forget about regular customers that are waiting for your attention, you should take a risk of losing tons of ‘plankton’ feeding your business.

4. Light up your employees

To be honest, usually your employees don’t care about your customers, unless you do care about your employees! It’s one of your primary challenges to encourage your team to deliver really great customer service and make their job rewarding. The more time you spend educating your representatives and providing them with new sources of inspiration (e.g. taking them to the trade shows), the more they give back to your customers, promoting your goods and services the best way possible.

5. Do pleasant surprises

It won’t cost you much, but it will definitely bring you lots of loyalty points among your audience. Let’s take a very simple situation as an example:

6. Forecast the future

People are always good at convincing themselves that they really need what they want. According to the current Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, the purchase decision-making process can be described as 70% emotional vs. 30% rational! Out task is to give people what they want, with a slight reason to need it. Loyalty comes when you learn to forecast your customers’ needs before they understand it.

When it comes to customer loyalty, it’s no surprise to see some of the most well-known and respected brands in the world on the list. It’s not so much that they wanted to create businesses based off the success of customer service and loyalty, it’s simply something that comes with the environment. You can’t have one without the other.

2015s_Brands_With_The_Most_Loyal_Customers_-_Forbes

7. Follow the ‘Satisfied Customer Rules’

Deep satisfaction with your goods and services is the core for building and maintaining loyalty in your customers’ minds. Herewith, it won’t be excessive to remember the ‘Golden’ and the ‘Platinum Rule’. The Golden Rule teaches us to treat others as we want to be treated. It can be perfectly applied to business relations and reflected in 100% customer satisfaction, meaning the highest level of presented goods and customer services.

How to Reward and Engage with Your Audience

According to the Platinum Rule, we should interact with the customers in the way they choose. If a person sends you an e-mail, try to e-mail him/her back. If he tries to reach out to you by phone, take a minute to call him. If someone leaves a comment on your social media page, follow this person and leave your reply. This is no longer an internet based off one-sided conversations — it’s now all about engagement and forming a relationship with your fans, followers and customers.

Today, numerous tools, such as Loyalty Programs for Magento, X-Cart or any other eCommerce CMS, help you build up positive and healthy business relationships with your customers. Now you can easily create your own Loyalty Program that will include the whole range of customer rewards, discounts and bonuses. Comprehensive and well-thought-out program will increase the average order amount and, as a result, will drive more sales. Just think of it!

To start increasing your brand’s loyalty towards it’s audience and customers, run through the list again and see how you can apply each of these into your current day to day operations. As mentioned at the beginning of the article… loyalty isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s earned over time.

How to Safely Manage Your Digital Files and Customer Data

How to Safely Manage Your Digital Files and Customer Data

As online businesses and entrepreneurs, we can all appreciate the power and value of data on the internet today. No longer do we need to download and install software to a computer and be limited to where we can access our work or data online. At the same time, the costs of data storage and web space are also now cheaper than ever. With so much information constantly being uploaded, created and accessible on the internet, the business of online security is booming. While all of this is going on, it’s also important to understand why and how your data is being stored and if it’s being protected in the process.

Quick Tips for Keeping Your Personal Data and Customer Information Safe

The ability to store thousands of digital files in a single location has eliminated the pressure that a person might otherwise feel to organize those files if they were physical documents or materials that were cluttering up a desk or bookshelf. The “out of sight, out of mind” principal helps a person to ignore the clutter that is likely buried in their personal workstations, laptops, tablets and smartphones. But that lack of organization elevates that person’s cybersecurity risks. A physical document that includes sensitive personal or financial information can be shredded and destroyed, but a digital file that contains the same information can lay hidden forever.

Safe management of digital files begins with organizing those files into digital folders according to a consistent filing structure. Businesses with several employees can use a commercial document management system to automate this task. Duplicate digital files should be deleted to avoid losing track of sensitive information. Create a separate index of files to allow easy access to and recovery of data. Folders and sub-folders can become overly complicated, and a business that is not relying on a management system should develop its own folder filing system and naming strategy to minimize those complications.

Even with such protections in place, the number of attacks on personal data and customer information is still growing daily. Kaspersky reports 62% of people have experienced attacks involving their financial data, while 61% of those people were never able to fully recover data that was lost due to a cyber attack.

Document management should be coupled with a data backup strategy. Some commercial document management systems automatically back data up into the cloud. If cloud backup is used, make sure that all data sent to the cloud is encrypted at the time of the backup process. If cloud backup is not used, data can be backed up onto external hard drives, SSD devices, or other media that is disconnected from any online environment and stored in a secure location.

Customer files and other sensitive data can be further protected with hashing and salting routines. Hashing will authenticate messages to confirm the legitimacy of an information request. Salting adds extra values to passwords to make them more difficult for a password hacking algorithm to guess. When used with end-to-end encryption, hashing and salting will create an even more secure data management environment.

The Business of Keeping Personal Data and Company Information Safe

While these tasks might seem simple enough, data protection is a 24/365 game of defense for nearly all businesses and brands in the world today. With company and customer data being more crucial to protect than ever before, Microsoft recently came out with their own stats and infographic on the matter. Highlights from the report noted the following:

  • 140+ Days – The average number of days a hacker sits on your network before they are detected.
  • $12M – The average cost a business is impacted by for each security breach.
  • 72% of the U.S. workforce will be mobile by 2020, relying on devices other than their laptop to be productive.
  • 87% of senior managers admit to regularly uploading work files to a personal email or cloud account.

You can see even more information through the visual infographic below.

Unfortunately, even the safest management of digital files will not guarantee their protection from hackers who are intent on stealing the information in those files. In 2016, for example, the commercial cloud backup provider, Dropbox, suffered a data breach that leaked details of more than 68 million user accounts. Information in those accounts that was encrypted or otherwise locked down with hashing and salting was better protected from loss, largely because hackers will go after data that is easier to access without wasting time trying to break through encryption and other protections. Still, those data files did fall into cyberattackers’ hands and still remain at risk of being unencrypted.

Even with the potential for a data breach at all times, data storage platforms like Dropbox are still in massive demand and their usage numbers just continue to keep growing over time. Take a look at the chart below to see how Dropbox has scaled from their initial launch in 2008 to having more than 500 million users today. The massive growth behind Dropbox all started with their referral program that would reward users with extra space in exchange for referring a new Dropbox user. The funny thing about this process is that Dropbox was already ahead of the data storage game before many other companies and brands jumped into the mix.

Eight years later and Dropbox is still the largest player in this space, thanks to their five times faster sync on average versus competitors, having released over 90+ product updates in the past year and also having 500 billion calls to the Dropbox API per year. All of this is ultimately in place to not only scale the company in size, but to also protect customer data and files as well.

In addition to the massive business of online data storage and data protection, there is also going to be a world of opportunities for affiliate marketers to make money in this space as well — which includes everything from data monitoring, spyware software and data notification platforms that are constantly monitoring personal information and mentions online. The more money and competition that flows into this space, the more money there are for advertisers, affiliates and the sites covering such data and resources.

Personal and Customer Data Manage Best Practices are Key

At the end of the day, the more we talk about data management and the potential downsides and hacks that come along with it, it’s simply a matter of keeping us all aware of such conditions and informing each other on better ways to protect our information. There is no doubt that online data storage and customer data will continue to be hacked and released on the dark web by hackers, but there are also some precautions everyone can do to keep their data safe. The unfortunate truth is that most of these leaks will likely come from other companies and brands that already have customer information, and will soon be attacked.

Good digital file management can therefore raise the bar for cyber protection, but it cannot stop a cyberattack that potentially compromises data in those digital files. The question that frequently comes up during a data file management project is “what is liability insurance and how does it fit into management of data files?” The simple answer is that cybersecurity insurance reimburses direct losses that a business might experience when hackers break through its cyber defenses, and provides funds to pay certain liabilities to third parties and fines from regulatory authorities that are levied when sensitive customer data is lost.

One of the more consistent recommendations for good data file management is that doing something is better than nothing at all, and that a management project should be started as soon as is possible. Hackers and cyberattackers are working every day to find new gaps in cybersecurity procedures as older gaps are closed off. Managing data files and adding cybersecurity insurance can keep businesses and individuals at least one step ahead of the hackers.

To learn more about the costs associated with cybercrimes and data leaks, be sure to always keep an eye on the latest data leaks in the business world, and also set up something as simple as a “Google Alerts” notification around your personal name to see when and where your information might be posted online.