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4 Ways to increase customer retention

Getting new customers is critical for your businesses growth but so is learning how to retain those customers

/ Last updated on 26th October 2017

A coffee shop owner serving a cafe with customers in it

Can you honestly say that you’re 100% sure you’re delivering on what your customers value the most? If not, you’re in danger of losing customers without knowing why. Customers cancelling their subscription unexpectedly, or never returning for repeat business is one of the most frustrating experiences new businesses face. Each customer is hard won, and replacing them is just as hard. Follow the five guidelines set out here, and you’ll be able to improve satisfaction, retention and revenues.

Related: 5 Ways to build a customer focused business

1. How much is Customer Satisfaction worth?

First, find out exactly how much satisfied customers are worth to your business. This is a very important step because increased understanding of the financial benefits throughout your team increases the likelihood that your satisfaction initiatives will be successful.

Lost revenue

  • How many customers have not returned?
  • Lower spend. How many customers spent less this year than last?

Gained revenue

  • How many new customers joined on personal recommendations?
  • How much did you earn from additional purchases customers were happy to make on your recommendation?

Remember – don’t just count the annual revenue, but the lifetime value. This will give you the minimum value of customer satisfaction to you.

2. Put your customers needs first

  • Customers want simple, transparent and fair pricing that makes them feel like they’re getting value for money. Don’t confuse them with lots of options and reels of features.
  • Customers don’t see the value in the latest feature development unless it means a tangible improvement for their business.
  • They need your clear direction on how to best make use of your product or service to help them hit their business goals.
  • If customers email or call you, respond as soon as possible, or they may become very annoyed at being ignored.
  • Keep customers in the loop on any improvements you’re making to fix their issues or increase the functionality of your product or service.

These are the basic needs customers of every type of business expect. Failure to understand them will lose you business!

3. Proactively find and fix problems

You’ll only ever know for certain whether a customer is happy enough to stay loyal and recommend you to their friends and colleagues if you ask them.

For many online businesses, asking customers face to face is impossible, and even then – personal relationships with customers can create bias in their feedback.

To solve this problem, find a way to make it easy for customers to deliver feedback in a low-pressure way.

We suggest collecting customer feedback via a short online form immediately after every interaction – whether that be a monthly invoice, product purchase or customer service call. The trick is to find a way to reduce the awkwardness for customers.

Because the event will just have happened, you’ll be able to take steps to rectify any problems the customer has had, giving you a chance to intercept issues which might lead to lost customers.

4. Have a whole system in place

Use this post to guide you into getting on track to improving customer satisfaction, retention and revenue, then start systematically integrating it throughout your company:

  1. Define values and company culture, from top to bottom. Become known for putting customers first.
  2. Constantly measure customer retention and referrals to ensure both are increasing.
  3. Consistently collect customer feedback at relevant times, act on it to fix issues and share the feedback with your entire team.
  4. Promote your feedback in the form of reviews on your website to win new business through social proof.

What to do next?

Ask yourself the hard questions – do you really do all you can to keep the customers you’ve fought hard to win? If you feel you could do more, take action. Tell yourself that you never want to experience losing a customer without knowing why again and that it’s your task to put customers at the heart of your business.

Related: 21 ways to get your first 100 customers

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