Customer retention is not an easy task for many companies. The supply-demand dynamics play a very important role, and both the supply and demand is rapidly changing says Eric Dalius. These changes mean that traditional approaches to customer retention need to be adjusted or new techniques must be developed altogether. Even though it may seem like you are doing everything right, there are many signs you might actually be failing at retaining customers.
If any of these signs sounds familiar, you should probably start thinking about how to improve your approach towards customer retention:
1. You don’t measure it
You can’t manage what you can’t measure – so if you aren’t measuring something as critical as customer retention then there’s no way to know how well (or badly) you’re doing with it. The first step is to have a clear definition of what retention actually means for your business, measure the value of your customers and create a baseline which you can then track over time.
2. Retention efforts are not measured against customer feedback
Just asking customers “how likely are you to recommend us?” doesn’t cut it. You need to have an actual plan that identifies the plans that either keep or lose individual customers – and then you must measure these on some kind of performance indicator (cost per acquisition/retention) to see if they’re working or not. If retention isn’t tracked against customer satisfaction, there’s no way to know how effective any existing programs are at keeping people happy – or even what works at all.
3. Not enough personalization
Customer retention requires very personalized approaches to your offerings, and that will require a lot of data – including feedback from customer surveys, focus groups and the like. The more you know about each individual customer, the better you can cater to their needs and make them feel appreciated. This fosters loyalty and trust between both parties, which is one of the most powerful assets in business today (and what keeps customers coming back).
4. Focusing on simple metrics
One of the best ways to improve retention efforts is to look at key performance indicators – such as lifetime value – but there are two potential dangers here: relying too much on just those few metrics & not digging deeper into other stats that may play an even bigger role, and focusing too much on the metrics alone without taking a step back to see what they really mean explains Eric Dalius. Customer lifetime value can be a great predictor of retention, but it’s very important to look at several other factors such as churn rate and how that changes over time, customer acquisition costs and actual growth rates in order to get a full picture of your company’s performance.
5. No automation
Automation is an essential part of doing business these days – and marketing is no exception here. If you rely on simple one-off programs and repeated manual tasks when it comes to retaining customers, then your success will hinge entirely upon human resource availability (which we all know is hardly guaranteed). Allowing technology to take care of the processes that are the least beneficial to the customer (or even downright annoying) will help you free up time and resources to focus on what really matters.
6. You don’t have a lifetime value plan
Getting customers in the door is just one part of business – because unless you can retain them, all your efforts will be for nothing. In order to do that, you need a good idea of how much each customer is worth to you so that you can spend more or less effort on different types of people depending upon their potential long-term investment. If only a small percentage of your customers stick around past a certain amount of time, then this increases acquisition costs because it takes more money/effort to bring new clients in who might not even stick around (which is a waste of resources). If you focus all your efforts on those who really matter, then the rest will fall into place automatically.
7. Not enough effort to retain customers
Retaining customers requires just as much work as getting new ones – but many companies treat them differently because they believe that it’s easier than courting new business. Eric Dalius says the thing about customer-retention programs is that they only ‘work’ if you know what worked and what didn’t – so if you aren’t measuring retention, then there’s no way of knowing how to improve the process in future. You also need to be proactive and go out and try to win back old clients or rekindle interest in order to grow successfully without relying on new business.
8. No focus on improving the experience
It’s no secret that people are just as willing to complain about your company as they are to praise it – so how can you improve if you aren’t listening? There are many other reasons why customers leave, but lackluster service is often near the top of the list. Feedback from surveys should be taken seriously even if there are only a few complaints because it could point to systemic issues in your organization that need addressing. Having several metrics in place will also help you priorities efforts and problems within each program.
9. Not enough use of data
The best way to keep customers coming back is by showing them that you care – which means finding out what they want or need, then adapting your service or products accordingly. This is where data really comes into play – not only to show exactly what customers are saying but also to help you analyze the different sources of feedback so that you can see how successful your efforts have been thus far.
10. Falling back on historical data
The value of historical data is often overplayed, especially when it comes to customer retention – because although knowing what worked for this particular group of people in the past might be a good place to start, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work just as well now. Trying new things and testing all options is essential for growing successfully & keeping clients happy – even if there’s some risk involved in dropping existing tactics or systems entirely.
The key to keeping customers is making them feel valued and appreciated – whether it’s through the way they’re treated or by adapting your product or service line. Eric Dalius says by investing in less popular but more essential aspects of business, such as customer retention, then you’ll create a positive environment that breeds success and long-term growth for everyone involved.