It’s no wonder that customer retention is a primary business objective, especially since acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing one.
However, the pandemic has had a significant influence on customer churn. The churn rate of our marketing software, a SaaS platform, increased by 25% between March and June 2020. The range was measured across small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the travel, events, and entertainment industries.
Moreover, we noticed cries for help by SMEs facing the loss of customers. We set up an educational campaign with live videos and step-by-step guides to directly help SMEs win back customers online. Using the findings from that campaign, we were able to develop compelling customer retention strategies. Investing in customer retention is not only far less costly than trying to acquire new customers. But assessing the question of “Why my customers should come back,” helps attract old and new customers and profoundly impacts success and sustainability.
Let’s jump right in which strategies help to reduce churn and boost customer engagement.
- Get revisiting customers through personalization
So far, 2021 has been the year of personalization. Businesses of all sectors and sizes have started to invest in AI-driven engines sending customized messages to their page’s visitors. Simultaneously, companies allow customers to tailor their products and services to their individual preferences, Netflix has set a prime example. As a result, customers now demand those shopping experiences across all industries. Studies show, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or acquire a service from a brand that offers them personalized experiences.
One of the most effective strategies to retain customers is sending them personalized messages via your communication channels, mainly email. By leveraging the data and information you have on your customers, you can send targeted messages to your subscribers. Let’s take a look at an example: A home decor retailer’s data reveals that a customer has bought a set of tableware a month ago. The retailer can now send a message on the new-in-stock plate coasters available that match the design of the silver. This will engage the customers to purchase a second time.
- Offer price reductions and frozen accounts
Can you customize your service and product offers? For example, think about providing a more personalized experience in the context of Covid-19. CNBC reported that at the peak of the pandemic, around 23% of small businesses were temporarily closed or had to suspend their operations because of Covid-19. The lowered international demand has affected B2B relationships as well as B2C sales worldwide. Plus, as we are set to face more challenges through 2021, businesses and individuals will be more cautious moving forward.
If businesses show they can sympathize and be flexible during challenging circumstances, it will lead to meaningful connections and drive customer retention. Demonstrate your flexibility with monthly price reductions for long-term subscribers or offer to freeze customers’ accounts and allow them to restart their contracts after a few months.
We allowed our customers at our marketing software company to keep their historical data, leads, statistics, and campaigns’ assets, without paying for the product. Thanks to this freezing program, many could survive the unprecedented times and reorganize and reassess their business model. Furthermore, by offering a helping hand, businesses can prove they are adaptable and resilient in the face of a crisis.
- Live customer service communication
Providing memorable customer service experiences increases customer value and the possibility of customers returning to your business. After the pandemic forced us to minimize human contact for months, it turns out that we are looking for a human face in online and digital services. This human face refers to treating customers with respect, flexibility, and empathy when engaging with you.
One way businesses can enhance their human touch and drive customer satisfaction are through live chats. Interactive web chats offer a personalized, time-saving, and seamless communication experience between your business and your clients. This ultimately results in higher retention rates. All points to that 51% of consumers are more likely to remain loyal to a company that offers human chat support.
Live chats are easy to integrate into your website and applications. Start with analyzing your customer service needs, such as high-traffic hours and typical customer service inquiries (e.g., are they about shipping or complicated matters such as product support?). As a second step, you can set up your live chat accordingly by offering a live chat window during the busiest times and a “call-back” function outside business hours.
- Invest in live videos, webinars, and educational content
Last year the e-learning market grew exponentially and is poised to grow by over $72 billion from 2020 to 2024. Webinars, live videos, and free educational content have become the primary source of education.
As a SaaS company, we witnessed the need for educational content and online training grow enormously over 2020. Many businesses lacked knowledge of running online marketing efforts and struggled to move their business online quickly for remote work.
After offering 1-hour free online consultations during 2020 to all current customers and potential prospects to better understand our platform, we concluded that investing in educational materials effectively reduces customer churn. Additionally, with many companies moving into global markets to diversify their customer base, translating educational content into various languages can increase its overall value.
Establishing a content blog on your website is a good start that only takes a little investment. If you can allocate further resources, produce videos with “how-to” guides, tips, and advice. Educational content positively impacts trust and brand affinity, making it worth the time and effort. Resources that are informative, engaging, and show the daily value of a product or service improve accessibility and turn the number of visitors into leads.
- Simplify your customer experience
Steve Jobs repeatedly said that Apple’s mantra would be simplicity and told his employees to make the machines “look friendly.” What he highlighted is the need for products to be intuitively easy to use.
Bear in mind that existing products or services may need to be tweaked or new ones added to be more user-friendly and help existing customers better understand what is available. Garner customer feedback to refine offerings and repackage existing products or services to meet customer needs. We carried out a survey that discovered that SMEs particularly struggle with managing Google Ads. Consequently, we added a simple in-house product to our platform to manage and create ads from one interface seamlessly. Without undertaking expensive and elaborate market research, SMEs can learn through customer feedback provided by surveys and other communication channels.
Finally, optimize your website for voice search. Voice search is a superhot SEO topic as 55% of households are predicted to own a smart speaker by 2022, and only in the United States. Content would also become more accessible for those 2.2 billion people living with visual impairments. Companies will need to optimize their content more for long-tail keywords as people don’t use the same keywords when they talk as when they type. Consider adding voiceover to blogs and long-form content in various languages as well.
Increasing customer retention by 5% can drive profits by 25-95%, something that companies must utilize. Customer satisfaction should come first and can be achieved by leading with flexibility and convenience, rewarding loyalty, and obsessing over and acting on feedback. A customer-centric culture allows businesses to rely on their loyal customers, even when the market fluctuates.
Written by Aleksandra (Siciarz) Korczynska.
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