In the early stages of business, companies often spend a great deal of time generating new leads to increase the number of customers, yet neglect to improve customer retention.
However, in the hustle and bustle associated with this task, it is very easy to lose sight of an equally important part of customer-business relationships—building loyalty with the customers that you already have. When you work on building customer loyalty, you help to ensure long-term customer relationships that can benefit your company immensely.
Here are several techniques that you can use to improve the level of customer retention in your business.
Meet and Exceed Service Level Agreement Expectations
An astonishing 68% of customers choose to end their relationship with a company because they are displeased with the service they receive. This is an area where the service level agreement (SLA) that accompanies business relationships is essential.
Customers often look to the SLA as a guide to the service they are going to receive from the company. If you guarantee no hidden fees with your services, it is vital that all costs are disclosed in this agreement. If your company promises to fix bugs within 48 hours, it should be detailed in this agreement. However, it is equally essential to deliver services that are guaranteed.
The only thing better than meeting the expectations set forth by the SLA is exceeding them. When you regularly exceed the performance that the customer is expecting, they will be sure to pass on positive messages about your company to friends and business associates.
Be the Expert
When you excel at advising customers in the areas related to your business, they will take notice. This technique helps to build customer loyalty, as well as reduce the number of complaints.
The best way to be proactive about this is by identifying problems specific to your industry that customers often face. Then, write about these issues on your company blog, and be sure your support team knows how to answer questions.
For example, if you are an IT company, your staff should be more than capable of helping a customer choose between mobile phones for their business.
Make Support Easily Accessible
Another critical piece of customer satisfaction is support for services. It is important to remember that there is always a competitor ready to take your customer by promising them better service. The best way to offer excellent support is to make it easily accessible to your customers.
If you sell software or a mobile application, for example, have a visible support button within the software or app. This can link to FAQs, a “Contact Us” area, and even a phone number to call for support. If it is within your means, consider a 24-hour line for technical support.
Finally, if a problem is reported with your product or service, work to fix it immediately. When repairs take too long, customers often become dissatisfied and may choose to terminate the business relationship.
Survey All Customers
Surveys are a great indicator of the areas where your company can improve, especially if you are unsure of the reason you cannot retain customers. To get feedback, you can send out automated emails occasionally that offer surveys to customers. Companies like SurveyMonkey or Typeform offer excellent services to do this, or you could even use a Google Form.
Surveys should be short (1-3) questions and able to be answered without going to an external website. This increases the likelihood of customers responding. You can also offer customers a survey after they have spent time on your company’s site.
Surveys help with customer retention because negative responses from current customers indicate a problem that may cause them to terminate the business relationship. If you fix this area quickly, you can improve customer satisfaction, as well as retain a previously dissatisfied customer.
Require a Reason if a Person Chooses to Cancel Services
Because dissatisfaction plays such a significant role in many individuals’ decision to cancel company services, it is essential to gain information from customers terminating their business relationship with your company.
You can do this by requiring a reason when a customer cancels services. Then, you can work on improving this area so that current and future customers are more likely to be satisfied with their experience.
Be Proactive about Problems
Another great technique to improve your company’s level of customer retention is addressing problems before they occur. When you are proactive about issues, you have the opportunity to apologise for inconveniencing the customer, which builds trust.
You can also avoid the calls and emails to your support department that are likely to happen when customers are dissatisfied. Just let them know that there is a technical problem and reassure them that you are working to fix it as quickly as possible. Additionally, if you expect a delay in services (such as late delivery, or missing appointments), you can email, text, or call the customer to apologise and notify them of the delay.
Build Strong Customer Relationships
When you have a close relationship with your customers, it builds trust. It also improves customer retention. In today’s digital age it is now more important to form strong customer relationships. There are two techniques you can use to do this—cultivating shared values and implementing an email marketing campaign.
To develop shared values, you need to know about your customer. When you have your next meeting with the client, ask what separates them from their competitors. Take note of this before leaving, and then research information on strengthening their unique trait. Use this to guide you in the services that you offer. You can also use this in your email marketing campaign.
Each month make a point to send clients an email that includes news about the company and any new products or services. To further personalise the email, add an article or two that relates to their specific area of business or the difference that they mentioned when you asked them about their services. It would be best if you also took the opportunity to share a link to your company blog.