Written by: Karen Hertzberg
People may cut companies some slack if a product doesn’t quite work as expected, but only when the customer service experience makes up for these missteps.
It’s no secret that customer service is a critical component of any successful company’s strategy. Whether you offer a service, product, or anything in between, your customer service needs to effectively support your customers.
What’s the main reason that customer service is so important? It’s a driving force behind customer retention and satisfaction. That’s why 83% of experts agree it’s far more beneficial (and cost-effective) to keep an existing customer happy than to gain a new one.
What is Customer Retention?
Customer retention refers to a company’s ability to create loyal repeat customers. These customers are more likely to turn to your company when they need what you’re offering and they’ve built an affinity for your brand.
Why is Customer Retention So important?
Customer retention is often overlooked because companies hyperfocus on customer acquisition, which is the process of gaining new customers.
It’s a short-sighted strategy to focus on customer acquisition vs. retention. Even if you’re able to acquire customers, if you can’t keep them, eventually your pool of consumers will dry up.
Not being able to retain customers is a red flag that there’s something missing in your business strategy. If you ignore this, it will snowball and create more problems.
When you focus on retention, customer acquisition improves in the long run. You create satisfied customers who are more likely to recommend your company to others. That means retention strategies not only help you keep existing customers but also help build your customer base.
One customer who makes several purchases over time is more valuable than a new customer who makes a single purchase.
5 Customer Service Strategies That Improve Retention
Maybe you’ve realized that you need to make some adjustments to elevate your company’s customer service and improve customer retention. But where should you start?
1. Gather Data from the Start
Consumer data should inform your decision-making. While you shouldn’t devote all of your resources to customer acquisition, there is some value in refining your customer acquisition process to support retention goals.
2. Smooth Out Your Onboarding Process
Proper customer onboarding can increase retention by up to 50%. Make sure that you have a way to guide your customers through each step of the onboarding journey, whether it’s through emails, built-in tutorials, videos, or a combination of strategies.
3. Be an Open Communicator
Publicize your customer service efforts to your customers. They should know that you have the infrastructure in place to hear both their compliments and complaints.
Make sure that it’s easy to navigate your website and phone number to reach your customer service representatives. Additionally, offering multiple ways to connect, such as email, phone calls, and chat, makes the experience more user-friendly.
For loyal customers, assigning them a specific representative for all their concerns helps personalize the experience and makes them feel like they have a direct line to your business to feel heard.
4. Optimize Messaging
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach out and connect with your customers. But you need to strike a balance in how often you communicate with your customers.
If your emails aren’t frequent enough, then your customers will lose touch with your brand. You’ll become forgettable. But on the flip side, if you flood your customers’ inboxes, they’re going to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
Trigger campaigns send out tailored emails to your customers based on their activity on your website. This helps ensure that your business communicates with customers during key moments.
For example, if a customer fills their digital cart then exits your website, a day or so later they’d receive an email urging them not to forget about those items they loved.
It can be tempting to overdo it with trigger campaigns and email marketing in general. Think about what your customers want and need when you’re deciding how to communicate with them.
5. Treat Customers as Equals
Never underestimate the power of exclusive sales or offerings to help build a positive relationship with your customers.
Many businesses make the mistake of building their strategies with the idea that they have absolute power over how their customers perceive their business.
This is, to some extent, true. Your business has control over customer service interactions, which can leave customers with strong feelings (whether positive or negative) about your business. But people aren’t always predictable.
Exclusive offers reward customers for loyalty, showing that your company values their business and will reward them for it.
Karen Hertzberg is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Siege Media. She shares 5 customer service strategies that improve customer retention.