Customer Retention Approaches: Frequent Shopper Programme, Special Customer Services, Personalization, Community

13th November 2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Customer retention is the act of deterring customers from defecting to another company or the actions a company takes to encourage customers to stay. Most companies focus more attention on the acquisition of new customers than customer retention. In fact, around 44% of companies have more focus on customer acquisition, around 18% focus more on customer retention and around 40% focus equally on both. However, customer retention is actually much cheaper for companies than customer acquisition. This trend appears on all studies on the topic of retention vs acquisition, but exactly, how much cheaper is hard to determine, some studies say five times, some say as high as 25 times.

Retention Rate = ((CE-CN)/CS)) X 100

If that looks a little complicated, don’t worry. Once explained, you’ll find it very simple and intuitive.

CE = The total of customers when the period ends

CN = The total of new customers that you acquired during the period

CS = The total of customers at the beginning of a period

Customer Retention Strategy

The best customer retention strategies are formed around business goals and insights. For example, one goal may be increasing customer loyalty, and in this case, you’d want to pick strategies that focus on this. You may want to signal that your service is consistent and reliable with solid brand awareness. You may want to focus on developing a more personal relationship with your existing customers. If your customers come to your business because you offer the best prices, then your customer retention strategy should revolve around reminding them of this and get straight to costs! Whatever niche your business falls into should be reflected in your customer retention strategy and knowing what your goals are will help you pick the right strategy for your business.

Be Personal

You’re collecting lots of data on your customers, so use this data to improve their experience. Before reaching out to a customer you should know how they like to be contacted, what they have bought previously, and what previous interactions looked like. Customers don’t want to feel like just another number, and they will become frustrated if they have to repeat the same information over and over. By offering a personalized experience they will feel like a part of your team and associate your company with a smooth and easy experience.

Customer Onboarding

Onboarding will vary depending on your company’s niche, but the aim is to educate a customer about your products and your brand. You don’t want to overwhelm them with a wall of text about your business philosophy but being too quiet can make the customer feel ignored. When a customer buys one of your products, you can send them an email with a short tutorial on how to use it and the details of the customer service team, so they know who to contact if they have any issues.

Be Active in Your Community

Customers are becoming increasingly socially conscious, and that means you should too. Customers pay attention to whether your organization gives to charity, whether the employees take part in community improvement schemes, and who you engage and partner with. You don’t necessarily need to have an elaborate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plan or donate to charity, there are also simpler ways to show you care about the community. For example, if you’re a tech company you could offer to go into a local school to give advice to the next generation of techies. Even simpler, you could write blogs on how to get into the industry or record a short podcast on the subject. The key is to be creative with your brand. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re dealing with a cold corporate entity, they want the companies they buy from to feel well-rounded, sincere, and like a real person.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

This may seem a little obvious at first glance, but you need to consider what a company considers excellent customer service doesn’t always match up with what the customer thinks is excellent customer service. There’s often a huge gap in perception. In fact, around 75% of organizations believe they are customer-centric, but only 30% of customers believe the same. A 2017 study found that 8 out of 10 customers are so frustrated by this that they’re actually willing to pay more to have a better experience.

Use Gamification

Gamification is a fun way to reward loyal customers for benefitting your company, and it’s a very successful strategy. You can offer customers a discount for referring a friend, you can award them redeemable points for each purchase, or you can give them a visual appreciation boost in the form of a badge.

Keep Customers Informed

Make customers feel a part of your wider team by keeping them up to date on new developments such as new product lines, new partnerships, or exciting milestones for the company. You can do this through a monthly newsletter over email.

Customer Surveys

Send your customers a quick online survey to complete to gain a better insight into what’s working, and what isn’t. You’ll never please every customer on every issue, but surveys can help you identify patterns that you’ve missed. A good survey should have a mixture of multiple-choice questions and free text answer fields to allow the customer to express their opinions more thoroughly where needed.

Surprise Gifts and Discounts

Customers are people and people love to feel appreciated. One way you can show your customers that you appreciate them is through surprise gifts and discounts. You can offer them a discount on products they frequently purchase, along with a short and sweet message from the customer service team telling them why they are receiving the surprise. The exact wording of the message will depend on your company brand and style, but the message should make it clear that they are getting this discount for being a loyal customer.

Frequent Shopper Programme

A frequent buyer program is a version of a customer incentive program. It rewards shoppers for purchases that they have made during multiple visits to a store or a website. With each visit and purchase, customers build up their points, which will eventually give them access to rewards, such as free products or services or reduced prices.

Benefits of a Frequency Shopper Program

Frequent buyer programs offer some distinct benefits. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Builds brand awareness. Frequent shopper programs can also build brand awareness. Not only do shoppers who become part of a these programs become more familiar with a brand, but they are more likely to promote that brand via word of mouth. For example, they might share the great deals that they receive with their friends, and their friends may decide to check out the business, sign up for the frequent buyer program themselves, and make multiple purchases.
  • Encourages future purchases. Customers are more inclined to continue shopping with and making purchases from a company that offers a frequent shopper program, as the rewards are enticing and encourage future purchases. This, in turn, can lead to more financial success for a business.
  • Builds customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is a major factor in the success of a business. Through a frequent buyer program, businesses can establish customer loyalty, as they are more likely to buy from the business that offers the program instead of a competitor.

Special Customer Services

Excellent customer service means going beyond meeting your customer’s basic needs.

Communicate

Communication is key to any relationship. But, it’s especially crucial between your business and your customers.

When customers reach out to you with a problem, endear them with excellent customer service. Your staff isn’t just expected to solve problems. They should also be able to articulate a whole host of information to keep the customer in the loop. That includes explaining the cause of the problem and the process involved to solve it.

Be Positively Helpful

Typically, people who reach out to support teams are irate customers. Additionally, many times, they’re people who don’t know what they need or want.

One of the best attributes of excellent customer service is to be positively helpful in any way. That could involve walking a customer to a specific shelf location in your store. Or, it could also involve enthusiastically providing information about a product or service.

Be Informative

Sometimes, excellent customer service is simply being informative.

Customers need to know what it is that your business provides, and how it can benefit them. They also need to know pricing or return policies. Overall, they need to understand why they should choose your business over another. Your support staff should have the ability to address all these questions.

Recognizing customer concerns, answering questions clearly, and demonstrating good product knowledge. These are all qualities that customers tend to trust.

Make a Good Impression

In customer service, the first impression is often the only impression that matters. It’s essential to make it a good one, or you could risk losing customers before they even make a purchase. But, it goes without saying that it’s essential to make a good impression on every encounter.

Follow Up

Follow-ups are a huge part of providing excellent customer service. They show that you care enough to ease your customers’ concerns, even after the first encounter.

Personalization

Personalized customer service boils down to remembering who your customers are and treating them as individuals. It tailors experiences to a person’s past interactions and leverages user data to take into account a person’s specific profile attributes to customize the experience. It can be as simple as greeting a person by their name, pulling up their order automatically by an email or phone number, or more complex by implementing proactive customer care.

Greet customers by name

The easiest way to personalize your customer service is by greeting a customer by name in emails, live chats and phone calls. While this seems obvious, many companies are failing to do even this. In our Customer Service Benchmark reports, we’ve analyzed the personalization of customer service for various industries.

Be proactive

Solve issues before your customers realize there’s ever an issue in the first place or has to interrupt their day to reach out to you. This predictive hyper care makes your customers feel like you’re really looking out for them and have their best interest at heart.

Keep customer data trails and look up information on the back-end

When you use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, you’re able to holistically look at a customer’s information. You are able to see their entire relationship and history with a company. You’re able to access preferences, past orders and interactions with customer service so you don’t have to ask a person to repeat themselves.

Ensure fluidity across channels

There’s an increasing number of support channels. In an environment where channel preferences change based on the type of issue, frustration breeds when a customer’s context is not carried forward as they move between channels. A single customer profile should exist across channels. If a person has to reach out on multiple channels for the same issue, they should never have to restart the conversation or repeat themselves.

Deploy intelligent self-service

Self-service is becoming more and more common in customer service via robust online knowledge bases and AI chatbots. Intelligent self service leverages machine learning to deliver the content that’s most relevant to the individual customer. This integration is based on their purchase history, browsing history, where they are in the customer journey, and more. Using data-driving insights, you can help people become better and more efficient at solving their own issues.

Ask for feedback

One way to show customers that they are appreciated and valued is by asking for their opinion in Customer Satisfaction Surveys. It’s not enough to ask for feedback with binary and scale questions Companies should also invite customers to provide open-ended responses on their experience and what could have been improved.

Empower agents to personalize the experience

Whether signing off using their own name or simply asking about a customer’s day as they are pulling up information, empower your agents to humanize their interactions. Don’t force them to stick too closely to a script, but encourage them to have human-like interactions.

Community

A customer community is defined as places or platforms for customers, experts, partners, and others to discuss a product, marketplace, post reviews, brainstorm new product ideas and engage with one another about a company’s products/services/brands.

Methods to Build Customer Community

Surveys: Surveys have always been the most powerful tool to collect feedback from customers. Create and conduct surveys, polls, and questionnaire to collect opinions and also use it as a platform where you can create a dedicated dashboard, to view the overall analytics of the responses received from the customers.

Blogging: Corporate blogs serve as an important platform for customers to post their opinions, and for other customers to post their opinion on the products or services discussed related to a business or a brand.

Email: Send emails to a selected group of customers and ask them for their opinion. High end, loyal customers are usually the ones who render the most honest responses. Use these responses to make the necessary changes in your products or services.

Social Media Platform: In the last decade or so social media platforms have become an extremely effective platform for customer voice and opinion. This platform has democratized the entire outlook of customers voicing their concerns. In the online community, members can do the same sort of things, such as posting an update, uploading and sharing files, links and pictures, commenting etc.

Discussion Groups: Discussion groups or focus groups are one of the most candid ways of understanding what the customers feel. Customers can ask questions and discuss issues directly either with the company employees or company representative as well as other customers in the forum organized by categories and topics.