By Paul Scott, Chief of Platforms & Partnerships, ClearPoint.

Believe it or not, only 18% of organisations have a primary focus on customer retention over acquisition!

A black swan is here, it’s time to change.

From a business perspective, ensuring you retain your existing customers is essential.

Here are 10 tips to retain your existing customers and keep them happy.

1. Stay close to your existing customers by keeping in touch

For B2B organisations, ensure you have a stakeholder coverage plan and you are meeting regularly with your customers. Given face to face may not be as easy as before, you can use Zoom, Google Meet or Skype. Thank your customers for their business on each occasion you meet with them. For B2C organisations, keep in touch with relevant offers and information through emails and text messages.

 

2. Provide value often

For B2B organisations, are you providing value beyond your services? To enable your customers to get more from your services, you could provide thought leadership ebooks and tips & tricks. You can also provide advice and suggestions. Additionally, connect your customers with other organisations that could help them solve a problem or reduce their costs.

Be an enabler.

 

3. Use the data you have to add value

So, you are collecting a lot of data from customers, but are you using it to help them? Perhaps for SaaS companies, some user adoption has dropped off. Why not help them get engaged again with training? This provides value and keeps them sticky.

 

4. Optimise and save them money

This involves reviewing customers usage of your services. For example, in B2C organisations, perhaps the customer’s usage has dropped off and you can offer them a more cost-effective price plan that saves them money and shows that you are customer-centric. On the other hand, for B2B customers, perhaps you can offer to lower your minimum monthly commitment in return for a case study.

 

5. Cut the friction when something goes wrong

When something doesn’t go to plan, and a customer needs to get in touch with you, put in the effort to make the experience seamless. A great CRM system, like Salesforce, can help to ensure customer issues are closed quickly and effectively.

 

6. Map your customer journey & improve the customer experience overall

Look for ways to improve how your customer is engaging with you. It is essential to iron out any points of frustration which will enable you to reduce the number of things that are going wrong. You can make it easier for your customers by mapping their journey. Make sure to involve key customers to help you improve their overall experience.

 

7. Think customer-centric in everything you do

You need to change your way of thinking from ‘this will be easier, cheaper and faster if we do it this way’, and start thinking ‘this way will be better, faster and easier for our customers’. Anything that is not centric in the problem-solving process needs to be changed.

 

8. Automate what you can that affects the customer experience

To speed up how you deal with responses to customers, or key business processes that affect how quickly you service your customers, look to technologies like RPA (Robotic Process Automation) from someone like UIPath. This service can help you automate mundane tasks in your organisation and help you to improve the speed business processes happen at, ensuring the customer gets an outcome earlier.

 

9. Provide self-service capabilities

For B2C organisations, this might be providing a customer community (like Salesforce Community Cloud) where customers can help themselves, or collaborate with other customers to get help. This would result in a better experience overall, as well as a quicker resolution of issues. For B2B organisations, it might be providing a more powerful mobile app for them to transact with you. Maybe you could create a virtual assistant or chatbot.

 

10. Increase the value of your existing offerings without increasing the price

This might sound like a hard one, but often you can offer something to your customers that are high value to them, (maybe it’s hard to access normally), but low cost to you. For example, in B2B companies, it could be making your key technical thought leader available for the customer for a lunch & learn workshop.

 

What would I do?

It’s well-established that ~40% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition vs. 20% of companies that focus on retention.

For me, it’s the old saying; “It’s easier to keep an existing customer than win a new one”.

Make sure your organisation has the right strategies in place and you are planning on how you will retain your customers.

High up on my list is a leading CRM solution, such as Salesforce. Bringing together all of your customer data into one place. This ensures all your team members have the full picture when dealing with your customers. A CRM solution such as Salesforce also allows leveraging the customer service capabilities to quickly manage and close issues when they occur. Be proactive and predictive using your data if you can.

The quickest way for a customer to walk away and tell their friends & family about a poor experience, is to be slow in resolving issues.

This is definitely not something you want to happen during a black swan event. Retaining your customers should be a top priority for all organisations, right behind the wellbeing of your employees.

 

Please reach out if you have any questions or comments.