Businesses are spending 5x more money to acquire new customers than to retain the existing ones.
Building customer loyalty and engaging customers are essential for the growth and success of any organization.
Retaining customers can be a real challenge, especially if you rely on one-time purchases from new sales. Acquiring new customers is important, but so is retaining the ones you already have.
The key to keeping customers engaged and coming back to your business is by using strategies that create loyalty and encourage them to keep buying from you.
In this article, we will discuss a few effective tactics you can use to increase customer retention.
What is Customer Retention?
Customer retention is the process of keeping customers engaged and loyal to your business. It involves creating a positive customer experience that encourages customers to keep coming back for more, thereby increasing your Customer’ Lifetime Value.
Customer retention strategies focus on building relationships with customers, providing them with value, and making sure they have an enjoyable experience when interacting with your business.
Importance of Customer Retention
Customers who are loyal to a company not only bring more revenue, they are more likely to be brand advocates.
With the right marketing strategy, businesses can also acquire new customers through their existing customers; effectively reducing customer acquisition costs.
- They increase your ROI since it costs less to retain an existing customer.
- They are more likely to spend more on your brand than new customers.
- They are more likely to recommend your brand, even without any incentives.
- Retained customers help increase your Customer Lifetime Value.
- Loyal customers help increase your brand awareness and trust.
- Loyal customers are highly engaging and quick to offer feedback.
Loyal customers are not only passionate advocates of your brand, but they also provide insight on how to improve it.
Brand advocates are quick to give you honest feedback or validate a new product or a service. These insights allow businesses to understand their target audience’s expectations better and act accordingly.
What is Customer Retention Rate?
Customer retention rate is a measure of how many customers become repeat customers of your business over a given period of time. Customer Retention Rate can also be considered as the inverse of the Customer Churn Rate over the same period.
Your Customer Retention Rate helps you understand the effectiveness of your customer onboarding experience, customer support, and the long-term impact of your marketing and sales efforts.
How to Calculate Customer Retention Rate?
To calculate the Customer Retention Rate of your business you need three metrics.
- Cb – Total # of Customers at the beginning of the period.
- Ce – Total # of Customers at the end of the period.
- Cn – # of new Customers over the period.
Customer Retention Rate is calculated by dividing the number of customers at the end of a period by the number of customers at the beginning of that same period.
For example, say you want to measure your Customer Retention Rate for the annual year 2022. Let’s assume, at the start of the year 2022, your total number of customers (Cb) was 1000.
And your total number of customers at the end of the year (Ce) was 1200, with 300 total new customers (Cn) over the same period.
Your Customer Retention Rate for the year 2022 would be calculated as follows:
Customer Retention Rate: (1200 – 300) / 1000 = 0.9
This means that 90% of your customers were retained over the course of the year 2022.
Now that you know how to calculate your Customer Retention Rate, it begs the most important question.
What is a good Customer Retention Rate?
A reasonable Customer Retention Rate is one that is higher than the industry average.
Generally, a Customer Retention Rate of 80% or higher is considered to be excellent. This means that 80% of your customers are returning and engaging with your business.
However, practical knowledge suggests that a reasonable Customer Retention Rate highly depends on the nature of the business and other connected factors.
It’s important to note that different industries have different customer retention rates. For example, the customer retention rate for subscription-based businesses can be as high as 90%, while the customer retention rate for e-commerce businesses can be as low as 20%.
Let’s dive into different strategies to increase your Customer Retention Rate.
How to Increase Your Customer Retention Rate?
A below-par Customer Retention Rate means that you are losing customers, and revenue, when you can increase them with a little planning and effort.
Increasing your Customer Retention Rate is a no-brainer necessity. Calculating your Customer Retention Rate and setting a benchmark is a start.
The key is to identify strategies or a combination of methods that can help you increase customer loyalty and your Customer Retention Rate.
Best Customer Retention Strategies
One of the best customer retention strategies is to provide excellent customer service. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to a business that provides them with quality service and support.
Here are a few more proven and time-tested you can use to increase your Customer Retention Rate.
1. Provide an Excellent Customer Onboarding Experience
The first impression is the best impression. As cliche as it sounds, giving an excellent first impression with your onboarding process will help your customers feel valued.
It can be as simple as a personalized welcome email followed by a series of emails with more value addition to educating your customer.
Without an excellent onboarding experience, customers are likely to remember the initial struggles in their onboarding phase. It could be a bad experience with trivial things like a lack of a designated point of contact or intrusive upselling email immediately after purchasing.
Actionable Steps to Improve Your Customer Onboarding Experience:
- Automate onboarding email flows with action-based triggers.
- Automated follow-up emails.
- Building an effective knowledge base for self-service.
- Providing a dedicated customer point of contact.
- Gamification of customer onboarding with milestones.
- Personalizing all communications and the onboarding process.
An effective onboarding process should be tailored to each customer’s needs and provide them with the information they need to get started. It should also include helpful resources such as tutorials, videos, and FAQs to help customers understand how to use your product or service.
Additionally, it should include a customer success team that can provide personalized support and guidance.
2. Emphasize Personalized Customer Experience
Personalization is key to increasing customer retention. Customers want to feel like they are being treated as individuals and not just another number.
To emphasize the personalized customer experience, businesses should focus on creating a relationship with their customers. This can be done by providing personalized content, tailored offers, and customized experiences.
Businesses should also use data-driven insights to understand their customers’ needs and preferences. This will help them create more personalized experiences that will keep customers coming back.
Actionable Steps to Improve Your Personalized Customer Experience:
- Utilize customer data to understand their needs and preferences.
- Create personalized content, offers, and experiences for customers.
- Use AI-driven personalization tools to automate the process.
- Leverage customer feedback to improve the customer experience.
- Utilize customer segmentation to create tailored experiences.
Every customer has unique needs and may be in search of solutions for their most troubling problems.
Make sure the services you provide are tailored to each customer’s specific needs, so they get the best possible solution.
Such attention to little details will contribute to customer loyalty and remain with your business for an extended period.
3. Earn Customer Trust to Build Loyalty
Trust is an essential factor in customer retention. Attractive offers and marketing may make convert a customer. But in the long run, only winning their trust retains them.
Customer trust can be earned by paying attention to little things that enhance your customer experience. It can be as simple as a SaaS startup becoming GDPR-compliant or securing your business website and user data with SSL encryption.
Customers need to trust that the products or services you provide are reliable, and will help them solve a problem consistently.
Actionable Steps to Earn Customer Trust:
- Provide transparency about products and services.
- Be honest about pricing and delivery times with realistic estimates.
- Offer excellent customer service.
- Ensure website security and data protection measures are in place.
- Leverage customer reviews and testimonials to build trust with potential customers.
Businesses should focus on building trust with their customers by providing transparency in all the aspects that matter. Being honest about pricing, delivery times, and even service lapses will help you earn customer trust.
Ultimately, following through on the brand promise consistently will contribute to the trustworthiness of your brand.
4. Implement a Customer Communication Calendar
Timely customer communication positively engages with your customers and adds to your brand’s trustworthiness.
Actively keeping your customers engaged and informed about your business constantly keeps your customers in the loop and your brand on top of their minds. It is because 1 timely communication will give an excellent customer experience than several random communications.
It makes an effective customer communication calendar an essential part of your customer retention strategy.
Actionable Steps to Implement a Customer Communication Calendar:
- Identify key customer communication channels.
- Set up a timeline for customer communication.
- Create content that is tailored to each customer segment.
- Utilize automation tools to send timely communications.
- Monitor and measure the effectiveness of your communications.
Use your customer communication calendar to engage and provide your customers with relevant information about your products or services. It will help your build customer loyalty and increase retention rates.
By creating a customer communication calendar, businesses can ensure that they are providing timely and relevant communication to their customers. This will help to build trust and loyalty with your customers, which is essential for customer retention.
5. Create a Positive Customer Feedback Loop
Customers love businesses that listen to them.
All your marketing and customer communication efforts will fall flat if your customers feel that your communications are tone-deaf.
Getting your customer feedback is essential to understand what your customers feel about your product and their expectations of your brand.
Actionable Steps to Create a Positive Customer Feedback Loop:
- Ask for customer feedback regularly.
- Respond to customer feedback promptly and courteously.
- Use customer feedback to improve your products or services.
- Show appreciation for customer feedback with rewards or discounts
- Follow up with customers to ensure their satisfaction.
One of the best ways to create positive customer feedback is through periodic customer surveys.
All your customer surveys must have a purpose and should be crafted carefully. Unlike traditional methods, customer feedback surveys today are far easier to create and manage using online forms.
Creating positive customer feedback is also one of the vital reasons businesses build communities around their brand.
Brand communities help understand your customers and their expectations better. Moreover, brand communities act as social proof for customers to choose a brand and remain loyal to the brand in the long term.
6. Initiate a Customer Education Program
An effective customer education program increases your customer success rate. Increasing your customer success rate naturally improves your customer retention rate.
By providing customers with the necessary knowledge and skills to use your products or services, you can ensure that they remain loyal to your brand.
Actionable Steps to Launch a Customer Education Program:
- Identify customer needs and create content accordingly.
- Utilize different mediums such as videos, webinars, and tutorials to educate customers.
- Make sure the content is easy to understand and engaging.
- Provide customer support in case of any queries or issues.
- Monitor customer feedback and measure the effectiveness of your program.
Customer education programs are an effective way to increase customer retention rates as it helps customers get the most out of your products or services.
Additionally, your customer education program does not need to be only about your product or service. Your customer education program can also include content about industry trends, best practices, and other topics that your customers find useful.
7. Launch a Customer Retention Program
Customer retention programs are designed to reward customers for their loyalty and encourage them to continue using your products or services.
Companies can gain customer loyalty by helping them get more out of their products. You can also encourage your customers to share reviews and feedback to attract new potential customers.
Actionable Steps to Start a Customer Retention Program:
- Identify customer segments and create tailored rewards for each segment.
- Offer rewards such as discounts, free shipping, exclusive access, etc.
- Utilize loyalty programs to track customer purchases and reward them accordingly.
- Monitor customer feedback and measure the effectiveness of your program.
Customer retention programs are an effective way to increase customer loyalty and encourage customers to continue using your products or services.
Additionally, these programs can also help you gain valuable insights into customer behavior which can be used to improve your products or services.
In addition to rewards and incentives, recognize your loyal customers in unconventional ways to make them feel appreciated for choosing your brand. A personalized thank you note or a token of recognition will help you retain your customers.
8. Offer Quality Customer Support Consistently
Consistent customer support is one of the most important aspects of increasing your customer success rate and retaining customers.
It is because a customer is more likely to post a bad review after a bad experience than a good review after an excellent experience.
Customers expect to receive prompt and helpful responses when they have questions or issues with your products or services.
Actionable Steps to Provide Quality Customer Support:
- Make sure your customer service team is well-trained and knowledgeable about your products or services.
- Utilize different channels such as phone, email, chat, social media, etc. to provide customer support.
- Respond to customer queries quickly and accurately.
- Monitor customer feedback and measure the effectiveness of your customer support team.
- Offer personalized customer service to make your customers feel valued.
Excellent customer support makes a difference in your business’s success.
Letting your customer know that you are available to reach and guide them to attain an intended goal will help you win their trust and loyalty.
By providing quality customer support consistently, you can ensure that your customers remain satisfied and come back to you for more.
9. Build an Online Brand Community
Your brand community provides you with a dedicated space for you, your brand advocates, your customers, and your audience to initiate conversations and discuss related matters.
User-generated content by community members bolsters customer loyalty and lowers costs with word-of-mouth marketing.
Actionable steps to build a Brand Community:
- Understand your Brand and its place in the market
- Set goals and performance metrics for your Brand Community
- Identify your core community members
- Choose a community platform
- Create and publish engaging content
- Monitor and engage with your community
Your brand community is a knowledge base, customer support, and lead magnet combined into one with more dimensions to it.
Building an engaging brand community is a reliable long-term take to increase your customer retention rate.
Identifying a Good Customer Retention Rate for Your Business
Identifying a reasonable Customer Retention Rate to achieve for your business is a great start to implementing strategies to increase your Customer Retention Rate.
One good way to identify and attain a reasonable Customer Retention Rate is to set a benchmark.
Setting a Customer Retention Rate Benchmark:
1. Research and find the industry average for Customer Retention Rate.
2. Compare your Customer Retention Rate to the industry average.
It will give you a better understanding of how well you are doing compared to other businesses in your industry.
3. Set a benchmark for yourself based on the industry average and strive to exceed it.
It will help you measure your progress and ensure that you are continuously improving your Customer Retention Rate over time.
4. Track your Customer Retention Rate over time and make adjustments to ensure that you are meeting or exceeding your benchmark.
Another practical way to set a Customer Retention Rate benchmark is to track the Key Performance Indicators of your business and compare them against your business goals.
It will help you identify your business goal-focused benchmark for the Customer Retention Rate.
Once you have identified and set a benchmark for your Customer Retention Rate, you’re all set to start implementing the strategies to increase your Customer Retention Rate.
The customer retention rate is an important metric that measures how well your business is doing in terms of customer loyalty. To your Customer Retention Rate, strive to provide excellent customer service and build strong relationships with their customers. It is a no-brainer.
While it may look hard to achieve, integrating any or all of these strategies into your business operations will help you retain your customers and increase your Customer Lifetime Value in the long term.