As a business, your most important relationships are with your clients. We all know that winning new customers is one of the keys to a successful company. But what about the clients you’ve already got?
According to a survey by the management consultancy Bain & Company, it’s likely that only 20% of your customers will bring in repeat business. They found that 60-80% of customers don’t usually go back to businesses that they’ve used before – even if their services left them completely satisfied.
This shocking statistic means you could be wasting 80% of your marketing budget. But the good news is that you don’t need to overhaul your business strategy to hold on to your customers.
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This blog post will explain how you can manage and retain your clients on autopilot. From automated client content platforms like Content Snare to some of the best customer retention strategies, read on to find out how you can keep your customers coming back for more.
What Is Client Retention?
Client or customer retention is the process of encouraging your clients to re-purchase your service or product. This can be achieved through a set of customer retention strategies or programs.
What Are The Benefits Of Client Retention?
If your team spends a lot more time (and money) on gaining new customers than it does on keeping old ones, you’re not alone. When it comes to marketing, most brands focus on converting traffic into sales – but this can be costly. In fact, it costs around 5 times more to win new customers than it does to retain existing clients. This is because you’re significantly more likely to sell to somebody who has done business with you in the past.
With a good customer retention strategy, you can reward loyalty and forge professional relationships that last. The main benefits of client retention include:
- Repeat clients will bring in more revenue. Not only are loyal customers likely to do business with you more frequently – studies show that they also spend more money with each transaction.
- As we mentioned earlier, most brands focus on customer acquisition as opposed to client retention. Your clients will see an average of 5,000 different ads and marketing messages every day. By creating a tailored experience that places value on lifetime loyalty rather than quick sales, your business will stand out from a sea of competitors.
- Don’t underestimate the power of in-person referrals. Increasing your client retention rate means that you’ll have more satisfied customers, who will hopefully then recommend your business to their network. Even (especially) in the digital age, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. These referral programs can be crucial to boosting your brand awareness.
- Customer feedback can help you to improve all aspects of your business. Putting yourself in your clients’ shoes is never easy – but with a high level of customer retention, you won’t have to. Loyal customers are far more likely to feel invested in your business and offer valuable feedback as a result.
- Loyal clients are more forgiving. According to research by Alliance Data, the amount of choice consumers have when spending their money has made them increasingly intolerant when businesses make mistakes. (This was particularly noticeable with Millennials and Gen Z customers, 76% of whom will give a brand 2-3 chances before they stop giving them business). If you form a relationship with your most dedicated customers, they will probably be quicker to overlook mistakes such as social media bungles or technological downtime.
Below, these four tips can help your business boost its customer retention rate and manage its clients on autopilot. If you’re wondering how to increase your brand’s customer loyalty, you’re in the right place!
1. Create A Single Source Of Truth For Your Clients
How often do you find yourself going back and forth with a client? Emails, phone calls, Google calendar invites – keeping in touch with customers can be a tricky process, no matter what service you’re providing.
When Booking.com chose to say goodbye to its digital ad agency in favor of hiring an in-house team, one of the main reasons they cited was “speed.” Contacting their agency was a slow process, making it difficult for the brand to change their marketing strategy at short notice.
The average worker will receive a staggering 121 emails, and send 40, every single day. Not only has this email overload been linked to employees feeling distracted and frustrated. It also makes it much harder to refer back to past conversations. This process becomes even more complicated if you have to keep track of lots of documentation and paperwork at the same time.
Installing a central content platform, such as our software at Content Snare, is a great way to manage your customer relationships while ditching email trails for good. These will allow you to share content and files with your clients from within a single source of truth.
You can also request content, including documents, briefs, and feedback. Choose a platform that enables you to set up automatic reminders from within the software, as this will reduce the number of emails your clients will receive whilst enabling you to manage your collaboration on autopilot.
According to the Harvard Business Review, it can take more than 20 minutes for a worker to get back on track after being interrupted by an email. By making the transition to automatic reminders, you’ll be able to increase efficiency for both your clients’ business and your own – creating a professional experience that makes the process pain-free for your customers.
2. Install An Automatic Communication Calendar
Remember that 60-80% of your customers won’t return to you for business even if you satisfied them initially? The truth is you that can’t rely on happy customers to come back for more. Instead, your company will have to be proactive and approach them. But keeping track of hundreds – or even thousands – of clients can be a tricky task.
One of the best ways to do this is by setting up an automatic communication calendar. This is a chart or spreadsheet which manages your customer engagements and keeps track of your communication. It’s basically a visual representation of your communication strategy, helping your brand plan when and how you’re going to send content out to your clients.
If you haven’t already set one up, there are hundreds of free templates online that can be easily customized to reflect your company’s schedule. (Alternatively, you can simply use Google Calendar).
Although it might take you a while to input your schedule and preferences, the finished communication calendar will save you huge amounts of time and effort in the long-run. Tailoring your content to your clients is key to an effective customer retention strategy. Let’s explore how an automatic communication calendar can help you to achieve this.
When Should You Send Communications?
Pretend that one of your customers is coming to the end of a free trial for your product or service. This is a critical moment which will determine whether or not your customer decides to make a purchase from your brand.
Within your communication calendar, you can set up automatic reminders for ‘road marks’ in your customer journey – such as the end of free trials, or six months from their last purchase. This will help you send out tailored content at strategic moments, without having to monitor each client individually.
Keep your communications personal rather than promotional to show that you value their service. (‘Hi Jane! Three months on, we wondered how you’re getting on with our product?’). Language that centers around their experience – and isn’t pushy about making another sale – will create a lasting dynamic.
Your client acquisition strategy might be bold, but when it comes to customer retention, it’s thoughtful details that will win repeat sales.
3. Use RSS To Send Regular Newsletters & Automated Emails
Email marketing is one of the most valuable tools in any brand’s arsenal. Did you know that 99% of consumers check their emails every day, and over 50% check more than 10 times a day? By far, it’s most people’s preferred way to hear from brands. It’s also incredibly cost-effective. So how can your business harness the power of email newsletters to boost customer retention whilst running on autopilot? The answer is with RSS.
RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. It’s a standardized method of distributing content, from podcasts to blog posts, in any easy-to-read fashion. Using a tool called an RSS reader, anyone can access your RSS feed and view all the content you’ve published – not just the most recent or most popular pieces.
By using a process known as ‘RSS to Email’, you can send content from your RSS feed directly to subscribers. This function is now offered by most major email service providers, and is an excellent way of automating your email marketing and newsletters.
How To Create RSS To Email
- The first step is to decide how often you want to send your emails. (Research differs on the best frequency and times of day to send communications, so it might take some trial and error before you work out the optimum strategy for your company). Typically, this will depend on how often you publish new content.
- In the dashboard of your chosen service provider, navigate to the RSS-to-email function. This might be located within a dedicated email marketing section.
- Insert the link to your company’s RSS feed. Now you can select the frequency with which you want to send your emails. This could be every time you publish a new RSS item, or on a daily / weekly / monthly basis.
- Add in your desired message subject and recipients. Make sure the text of your email includes a clear section on how to unsubscribe, otherwise your emails won’t be compliant with GDPR.
- Select the template and formatting for your newsletter.
By setting up an automatic RSS to Email function, you can remind existing clients about your business without having to send newsletters manually. This process will automate every aspect of your emails, leaving you free to focus on other things.
4. Ask Your Clients For Customer Feedback
As we mentioned earlier on in this blog post, one of the main benefits of customer retention is the fact that loyal customers are more likely to give feedback. Not only are they more familiar with your offering than new customers, they’re also more emotionally invested in your company. Although lots of companies ask prospective clients for feedback – for example, by integrating surveys into their website – existing customers are far less likely to expect something in return for their time.
There are various ways to ask your clients for their customer feedback, but the main thing to consider is your timing. It’s best to ask for feedback before your client has stopped thinking about the sale (unless you specifically want to find out how they feel about your product or service six or twelve months on).
Adding a pop-up survey to an ‘order confirmation’ page is an effective strategy if you want to ask questions about your product range, for example, or the usability of your website. Although your findings will inevitably be biased (after all, you won’t be hearing the views of anyone who was so unimpressed by your brand that they clicked off the page!), it could give you valuable insight into your customer demographic.
Likewise, try asking for feedback at the end of a phone call with a client, or include a brief customer satisfaction survey when you send out contracts.
If you used to think that attracting new customers was more important than looking after existing ones, we hope that this blog post has changed your mind. With these four ways to manage and retain your clients on autopilot, you’ll be able to turn one-off sales into lifelong relationships – and ultimately boost your profits.