You’ve heard it before: It’s much cheaper to retain customers than it is to earn new ones.
Data from a Harvard Business School study showed that increasing customer retention by just 5% can lead to a 25-95% increase in profits.
But that’s not all. Unhappy customers are churning faster and more than ever before:
- 60% of U.S. consumers have not completed an intended purchase because of a poor customer service experience. That translates into an estimated $ 83 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers. (BI Intelligence)
- It takes 12 positive customer experiences to negate the poor impression left behind from one unresolved, bad experience. (BI Intelligence)
- 52% of consumers have switched providers in the past year due to poor customer service. (Accenture)
So what does this tell us about customer retention? Well, we need to listen closely to our customers if we want to keep them around. By analyzing customer data regularly, companies can stay in tune with their needs and ultimately increase retention.
In this post, we’ll explore a few simple ways to do that.
How to Leverage Customer Feedback to Increase Retention
1. Use email automation to deliver personalized content.
The modern customer expects more than one-size-fits-all email messaging. They want content that’s designed for them.
How do we know this? Because according to the DMA, 58% of all email revenue is generated by targeted and personalized emails.
Data from Campaign Monitor echoes this. They found that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, and marketers have noticed a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns.
These results suggest that marketers need to take a hard look at messaging in order to drive revenue and increase retention.
That starts with asking questions like:
- What content delivers the most value to our audience?
- Is our email messaging personalized enough to speak to an individual, rather than the masses?
- Are we staying top-of-mind with customers and prospects?
- How are we differentiating our messaging so it stands out in a crowded inbox?
Answering these questions requires some analysis of your audience. Integrating your CRM with your email marketing platform can simplify that process significantly, but it often requires an extra layer of feedback that neither tool offers.
To round out customer data with personalized info, many companies send periodic marketing surveys to their audience. The results help teams gauge communication preferences and collect feedback on the content they share.
Once the data is there, email automation makes delivering personalized email content pretty easy. For example, marketers can create customer journeys that trigger emails based on time, customer actions, or other customized factors.
This level of insight helps marketing teams send the right message at the right time—and turn email campaigns into major drivers of revenue and retention.
2. Put customer survey results to work.
It’s one thing to collect customer feedback—but what do you do with the data? Many companies distribute customer surveys but fail to create real change with the results.
This is a huge missed opportunity for any company that cares about its customer experience. There’s no better way to cultivate customer relationships and drive brand loyalty than by making customers feel heard.
If you don’t already integrate survey data with your CRM, that’s a great option to consider. For instance, with customer feedback in Salesforce, teams can draw clear conclusions about each stage of the customer lifecycle.
When customers churn, it’s easier to pin down the reason and the stage at which their loyalty waned. And on the flip side, you get more insight into common drivers of customer happiness.
Let’s look at a few types of customer surveys that help companies personalize their customer experience:
- Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys help companies chart customer sentiment at specific moments in the customer journey, like after a support interaction, a purchase, a visit, and more. Teams can track their CSAT score over time to spot trends and identify key areas for improvement.
- Product Feedback: If your product is a big part of your customer experience, you should consistently ask for feedback on it. Product surveys can shed light on issues or buyer concerns that are costing you money—and customers. Use the results to inform product development, improve marketing, and better understand the barriers to long-term customer loyalty.
- Net Promoter Score: Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are probably the best tool for measuring customer loyalty. The NPS question gauges customers’ willingness to recommend your company to friends and colleagues. The results place respondents into distinct categories (Promoter, Passive, or Detractor), which help employees approach each interaction with more foresight.
3. Listen to unhappy customers.
As troubling as negative customer experiences can be, they’re vital to progress. Unhappy customers tend to offer the most valuable insight.
Whether you reach out to these customers with a survey or a call, the benefits of contact are twofold:
- You can ask for their honest opinion on the company’s missteps, and potentially get feedback that helps you avoid the same mistakes in the future.
- You have the opportunity to repair the relationship—and often, all it takes it that personal touch.
One study suggests that at least 11% of churn can be prevented if a company simply reaches out to the customer after a negative experience. Keeping a customer on board doesn’t even necessarily require a perfect solution.
Think about the last time you decided to cut ties with a company. What was the main reason? More often than not, it’s a negative experience. If someone had reached out personally to make things right, there’s a chance they’d still have your business.
From a brand perspective, contacting unhappy customers is an essential reputation management tactic too. According to New Voice Media, 59% of 25-34 year-olds share bad customer experiences online. That doesn’t even account for the offline conversations they’re having.
Following up with customers after things go wrong can open the door to powerful conversations. Their feedback can help you keep brand perception in check, deliver exceptional customer service, and ultimately increase retention.
These three strategies are simple but effective ways to put customer feedback to good use.
Remember: It’s more cost-effective to keep customers on board than it is to replace them. So give your customers a voice, then listen up. Their feedback can help you transform your customer experience in ways you’d never imagined.
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