The 80/20 rule gets applied to a lot of things in business, but none more important than customer retention. This rule states that 80% of your profits will come from 20% of your customer base but the only way to truly accomplish that is to keep the profitable customers around. If they leave, your profits vanish with them. So in this article, we’ll show you 11 different strategies you can use to help improve customer retention. You’ll see why they work, and examples of a service or two that can help you achieve customer retention for your business.
Customer Retention Tool #1: Customer Loyalty Programs
Customer loyalty programs are the lowest of the low hanging fruit, making them very accessible to most ecommerce merchants to implement.
They add value over time to loyal customers who make purchases at your business by giving them the “VIP treatment” through points, free rewards, or special add-ons. Because of this loyalty they build up with your store, it becomes harder for your competition to poach your biggest spenders.
Studies have shown that customers are 82.4% more likely to shop at businesses that have a rewards program:
Studies have also shown that offering a broad range of rewards is best, although discounts and free items are the clear winners.
Loyalty programs are also a way that you can reward customers for leaving positive reviews, referring friends, or sharing your posts on social media. It all adds up over time.
In essence, you’re retraining your customer’s mind to see your brand as a positive and value-adding experience in their life.
But how do you start a loyalty program? That sounds like a lot of work.
Thankfully, there are services out there that can help you.
For example, a brand like TapMango might be a good option for brands that have both an online and offline presence. They offer in-store and physical loyalty programs as well as online options to keep you in your customer’s mind. But, there are plenty of other options out there that can help you no matter what you sell or where you sell it. Start exploring the idea of rewarding loyal customers, then, once you build your system, your customers will thank you and be more likely to stick around your business a little longer.
Customer Retention Tool #2: A/B Testing
A/B testing is a thoroughly tested way to improve your online presence and keep your customers around in the long run. It touches on every aspect of your business, from your content and product pages to your shopping cart abandonment and retargeting ads so it’s no surprise that conducting A/B tests can help you increase retention, as long as you know what to test.
Here are just a few potential ideas that can affect how long a customer sticks around your business:
Again, there are plenty of tools that can help you A/B test and improve your website or app’s user experience.
For instance, check out a service like Optimizely. They’ve helped a wide range of brands incrementally improve their online presence in a way that boosts sales and retention. Other options include VWO, AB Tasty, or Google Experiments, to name a few. With the proper A/B testing tool, you’ll be much better prepared to improve retention and your overall user experience.
Customer Retention Tool #3: Content Personalization
Personalizing your messages and content can help you create a value-laden brand that customers will want to stay involved with.
Most marketers feel that personalized content is either “more effective” or “much more effective” than the unpersonalized alternative:
This includes your blog, product pages, and even video content.
But personalization requires the ability to easily capture and analyze data in a way that’s effective without too much effort. Having names, emails, or demographic information is only useful if you don’t have to dig to turn it into personalized content.
You have quite a few options to help you capture usage data to personalize offers beyond just the customer’s name, but also the last pages visitors were just looking at. Check out brands like OptInMonster, Monetate, or browse this list for a platform that fits your brand’s needs. Then, you can start personalizing with purpose.
Customer Retention Tool #4: A Solid CRM Strategy
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool may seem obvious but the point is that you can’t do the previous tip, or many of the others on this list, without one. That’s why CRM users see an average increase of 27% in their retention due to their CRM.
So while the benefits do extend outside of retention, there’s plenty you can do to help boost it with a CRM.
There are no shortage of options when it comes to CRM tools, from Salesforce to HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, or Infusionsoft. Each also comes with an expansive suite of tools that can help you grow your brand.
Customer Retention Tool #5: Customer Support Helpdesk
Helpdesk software might also seem obvious, but not for the reasons you’re thinking.
For example, many offer a live chat software or self-service content library option that help you deal with customer issues quickly and accurately. Helping customers find and fix their own problems frees your team up to focus on growing your store.
Otherwise, if and when you do connect personally, you’ll be armed with CRM and past customer data to better serve each one — and that level of support shows you actually care. So as you would expect, improving your customer service in these areas can help significantly boost retention.
There are plenty of places to look for good helpdesks to help improve your customer retention. Many CRMs have a built-in helpdesk that offers an attractive all-in-one service for your business, however, if CRMs aren’t your thing, or if you need other options, check out services like Freshdesk, Zendesk, or Help Scout.
Customer Retention Tool #6: Improve Your Onboarding
Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons why customers might pass up your business but one of the worst occasions is when someone makes a purchase or subscribes to your product and then decides to leave your brand for good.
These types of customers are known as “drive-by” customers, as they’re a one-and-done interaction that usually never returns.
Studies have shown that these types of customers leave for a number of reasons, usually revolving around not seeing value in your product, or just not understanding it:
You can avoid this lack of understanding by improving your onboarding process. This helps customers learn how to use your product and see clearer value in what you’re offering.
A good tool that can help you is a platform like Tutorialize. They help you build tutorials that help your users understand your product and prevent churn in the initial stages of your onboarding. Less churn means more retention, which translates into the growth you’re looking for.
Customer Retention Tool #7: Exit Interviews
Speaking of churn, there are more ways than one to try to reduce it.
One good way is to try to use exit interviews or surveys to capture the reasons behind why your customers choose to leave. Then, you can use that information to improve your product, service, or whatever your customers indicate. This helps you find your blind spots and improve retention and is a fairly simple addition for the most part.
Use a service like Typeform to send out surveys to customers (or former customers) so they can rate your store, service, or products. However you decide to conduct the interviews, the important thing is that you get information from your former customers. By knowing why they left, you can improve retention by shoring up your services and mitigating your future customers’ pain points.
Customer Retention Tool #8: Chatbots & Facebook Messenger Bots
Chatbots are a relatively new phenomenon, but there’s no denying that they can be a huge asset to customer retention efforts. For example, your team can’t always get back to someone who needs immediate help when they send an email or a Facebook message but since a chatbot is automated and instantaneous, they can provide prompt service to anyone who needs it.
Studies have already shown that chatbots are retaining customers much longer than other comparable technologies:
Plus, one of the added benefits of these chatbots is that they can be added to both your website and your Facebook profile now. Early adopters of Facebook Messenger marketing efforts see open and response rates similar to the early days of email marketing.
So where can you turn for a reliable chatbot? A great option is MobileMonkey, a creation by WordStream founder, Larry Kim. They’ve got an intuitive, bot-building platform and plenty of resources to help you build your chatbot into a real game-changer. With a tool like this at your disposal, it will be that much easier to engage on a platform that your audience is already using.
Customer Retention Tool #9: Gamification
Sometimes, all it takes to keep your audience engaged and happy is a gamified customer experience.
Using gamification, you can subtly push customers to complete actions that make your brand experience more enjoyable. It also incentivizes further purchases by adding a sense of progression and competition that keeps users coming back.
Elements like leaderboards, badges, and status updates help customers compare their progression to others. When incorporated with other retention efforts like loyalty programs and email promotions, this can be a significant way to improve lifetime value.
If all of this sounds a little difficult, it’s because it can be without the right tools.
Consider looking into a service like Woobox if you want to go this route. They offer the ability to create contests and campaign-driven activities that help users engage with your brand and share with their friends. It’s a great way to get comfortable with gamification basics and improve your customer retention in the long run.
Customer Retention Tool #10: Email Marketing
Email marketing is still a viable growth channel, except, not the old, boring, one-and-done newsletter approach. Research has shown us that sending loyalty emails can still boost revenue through better retention.
The trick, of course, is that you’re pulling in customer data when building your email list. That way, you’re able to segment messages to each user group, giving people a reason to keep an eye out (as opposed to hitting the spam button). For example, an option like GMass can even let you send customized emails without leaving your Gmail account.
One of the major benefits of GMass is that it sends your emails as a mail-merge campaign in Gmail instead of a full-service blast. Creating and proofing each content piece is time-consuming but it means that your emails are more likely to show up in your customer’s primary inbox and not under the easily-ignorable Promotions tab. That makes it even better for your open rates and conversion rates, as well as your customer retention.
Customer Retention Tool #11: Customer Health Prediction
This may sound like a medical procedure, but it’s definitely not. Rather, customer “health” deals with the potential for your customers to leave and go to your competition.
Another way of putting is to call it churn prediction. By analyzing the signs, you can tell how loyal your customers are and where they’re at in their journey with you. This enables you to create initiatives and strategic messages that help alleviate their concerns and keep them loyal, thus boosting retention.
The catch is that this requires a significant amount of data and usually relies on AI or machine learning to work efficiently. So unless you’re an AI expert, you’ll need to find a service or tool to help you out.
While this is still an emerging field, there are a few services that have some potential. Services like Ptero and Saras are offering marketers the ability to analyze vast amounts of customer data and provide insights faster than ever before. And, with how much data you put into customer health predictions, these tools are much faster than manual calculations by a long shot.
Customer retention is a vital part of your brand’s growth efforts and there’s a good chance that you’re already sitting on the 20% of your customers who can fuel that growth. So instead of waiting for them to make the first move, take the initiative and use one of the 11 tools you’ve seen here to push them to make their next purchase.
Tools like loyalty programs, email marketing, A/B tests, and content personalization are phenomenal and basic methods of re-engaging and building loyalty through small pushes. And, with a good CRM, solid helpdesk support, exit interview, and better overall onboarding, you’ll be much better positioned to retain loyal customers and fuel growth. You can also branch out and tap into newer technologies like AI, chatbots, and gamification techniques to help boost loyalty as well.
Whatever tool you choose, make sure that they align with your brand and your customers’ needs. Get it right, and your exponential growth will come quickly and naturally.