— August 23, 2017
Confession: Until recently, we didn’t have a customer retention strategy.
I’m a small business owner with mostly word-of-mouth and repeat clients.
Not having a plan for retaining clients is absolutely dumb (confession #2!).
No matter where you are in the process of owning a business, a customer retention strategy is critical to your continued success.
Here’s an inside look at how we’re building out our retention plan.
Customer Loyalty Is Money In The Bank
First of all, when you spend loads of time and money on acquiring and onboarding a new client, it should be a given that you’d devise strategies to keep them.
The biggest element to grasp with customer loyalty is a statement you’ve probably heard a million times …
“It’s cheaper to keep current clients than it is to gain new ones.”
Customer loyalty not only makes sense, it also adds to your bottom line.
According to a study by Harvard Business, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases your profits anywhere from 25% to 95%!
So how do you build a customer retention strategy?
Pain Points Are More Powerful Than You Think
Retaining customers starts with selling would-be customers.
During every sales pitch, I make it my mission to figure out what’s most painful about the potential client’s social media marketing.
Understanding our clients’ pain points helps our team understand which KPIs are best tied to their desired business outcomes — a must in being successful.
Along with sales discovery and onboarding, it’s important in the beginning to set expectations and formulate a plan.
Clients trust you more over time, so checking in on those pain points and seeing if there are others is an important part of managing client expectations.
If you know what old and new pain points are, and you make a plan to continuously solve those for your clients, you will likely retain the clients you serve.
We use our weekly meetings as a way to check in on old and new pain points and show our progress on client KPIs.
Reducing Churn With Feedback Loops
One of the biggest and most frustrating ways to lose client trust (or a client’s revenue) is poor communication.
Even with standard operating procedures and best practices, if you aren’t the one managing every client account you need to find a way to trust and verify that communications are going well.
No matter how “awesome sauce” your account manager or customer service rep may be, people are always a variable.
There needs to be a more formal way to gather and analyze customer sentiment.
One of the strategies we’ve implemented is using a monthly automated email to check in with clients and get feedback on their account manager.
We use YesInsights to survey our clients and gain actionable feedback.
You can use this automated strategy for many types of feedback loops:
- Renewal and non-renewal clients (“why did you/didn’t you renew?”)
- New subscribers
- On-site surveys (see ours from YesInsights below)
Using feedback loops is easy and necessary when it comes to client retention!
Building Your Own Customer Retention Strategy
It goes without saying that your customer retention strategy will likely look different than ours.
But if you follow this basic model, you’ll be well on your way to retaining more clients.
Basic Customer Retention Strategy
- Sales discovery (think pain points)
- New client onboarding and education (think pain points and KPIs)
- Client meetings/communications (ours happen weekly)
- Customer care/feedback loops
- Surprise & delight/Client appreciation
What methods or strategies have you used to create customer retention programs? We’d love to know — let us know in the comments section below!