Can you think of any industry or business model that involves only one-time sales? You probably can’t.
Besides the goal of reaching more people and converting them into customers, an essential aspect of any business is customer retention.
And most successful businesses are prioritising customer retention over acquisition for numerous reasons. Some of these are:
- Extremely competitive markets: Access to information and technology is increasingly levelling the playing field for all businesses. Today, whether you are a startup orabig enterprise, you can compete in the same markets for your customers’ attention.
- High customer acquisition costs (CAC): CACs have been rising steadily, and there is no indication of this coming down. It will cost you fewer dollars to keep a customer than to acquire a new one.
- Endless choices for customers: The digital-first customer has access to more options than ever before.Customers can switch brands without even a second thought unless you can go beyond their expectations.
- Customers spend more: Existing customers are likely to buy more in numbers and purchase value than new customers because they already know the value you can provide.
- Dominant revenue stream: More than half of your revenue will typically come from existing customers; a number that jumps to more than three quarters* among B2B brands.
So, who owns customer retention?
Customer retention is not afunction of one team. It is influenced by a combination of how good your post-sales service is, how well you know your customers, and how accurately that guides your cross- and upselling strategies, to name a few factors. In fact, maintaining continual, consistent communication can turn casual and first-time buyers into loyal customers and brand advocates. This is where marketing teams can play a pivotal role in keeping customers engaged and deepening relationships with them to improve retention.
Here are a few effective ways marketing teams can spruce upcustomer engagement for higher retention:
1. Continuously engage and personalise customer experiences
Continuous communication is key to any relationship’s growth, whether it is with your loved ones or customers. If you don’t engage with your customers from time to time, how will they think of you when they need what you offer?
Customers don’t mind being marketed to as long as it is relevant to them. With first-party– data that customers freely share with you, you can get to know them better. Use data that enables real-time assessment of changes in behaviour or interests to tweak your communication on all touchpoints.
A unified view of customer interactions with every function at every touchpoint, can arm you with a 360-degree customer view. Use this to refine customer journeys, andstrengthen their connection with your brand.
2. Communicate with customers in the right channels, at the right time
Effective communication entails reaching out to customers with the most relevant messaging when and where they prefer engaging with your brand.
Here, segmentation can make outreach easier for you by grouping customers with similar traits, preferences, and interests together. So, you can target customers interested in the same product with related products and offers, but through their preferred channels. Then personalise your communication based on customers’ activities, stage of the customer journey with you, engagement channels, etc.
For instance, while you may send a welcome mail or message when new customers join your fan base, you could re-engage dormant customers with emailers, SMS marketing, and mobile notifications based on their online activity.
3. Start a loyalty programme if you don’t already have one
Customers love rewards and exclusivity. Giving them more than just quality products helps increase repeat business by incentivising value-driven behaviour throughout the customer journey. Driving an end-to-end reward experience will need you to connect member data across teams, systems, and touchpoints.
But it’s not just points and offers customers like. They want early access to new products and sales. They seek rewards, but they also stay loyal to brands that share the same values as them. You can combine rewards and values in many ways.
Suppose you are a clothing brand that believes in sustainability. You can reward customers that recycle old clothes with exclusive rewards and loyalty points. Or you can similarly incentivise donations made to a cause supported by your brand (and customers) to build deeper connections.
4. Make sharing feedback easier and fun
Requesting feedback has two major benefits:
- Making customers feel their opinions are valued
- Gives you deeper insights into what customers actually think about your brand and offerings
Through “leave feedback” boxes on relevant pages of your website or by sending customised feedback forms, ask for feedback at different stages of the customer journey.
5. Use insightful metrics to gauge customer sentiment
While customer retention is the goal, it is important to understand why your customers leave and when, so you can plug the gaps in their experience and expectations to make them stay.
Different metrics help understand different aspects of the customer experience. Some of these are:
- Customer retentionrate
- Customer churn rate
- Revenue growth from existing customers
- Product return rates
- Net Promoter score
Using analytics tools can help break down these metrics into factors that affect your customer experience and help you know what works and what doesn’t. With actionable insights, you can take proactive measures to improve your customer experience and retention.
Keep customers coming back for more with Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Customers appreciate brands that value long-term relationship building. And with every engagement at different touchpoints, you can build on the connection customers share with you.
Marketing Cloud is a one-stop solution to help you track, analyse, and manage customer engagement across channels. From understanding your customer data to inspiring engagement, Marketing Cloud has tools that can help you strengthen your retention strategies at every touchpoint.
Humanise every moment and interact meaningfully by putting customers at the centre of all your marketing efforts with a holistic view of your customers and their journeys. Marketing Cloud also provides deeper customer insights and campaign performance analytics, powered by Einstein, its in-built Artificial Intelligence engine.