The Secrets of Customer Retention

Posted by Madeleine Coe on Jul 9, 2013 2:00:00 PM

Marketing tends to focus on gaining new customers. You want to grow your business, so you focus on the question of how to draw people in. But when you focus on gaining a valuable and qualified audience, it is easy to neglect the base of customers who are already engaged with your business.

Why? You worked so hard to earn their trust and persuade them to invest in your product or service over similar offerings from your competitors. You built a relationship with them and they chose you. You don’t want to throw away all of the marketing efforts that you expended on building your current customer base. A relationship is something that you have to constantly work on. You can’t just be there, you have to actively make efforts to please each other.

In this same way, entering into a contract with your customer is not the end-all, be-all; entering into a marriage does not absolve you of any further efforts to woo your spouse. And unlike a marriage, your customer isn’t obligated to wait around forever for you just because you finalized an agreement.

So, how can you confirm to your existing customers that you are the brand that they fell in love with?

Use Your Contact Center

Keeping your customers is a customer service commitment. The good news is that you’re a contact center, so you already have a leg up on how to tackle this. As a contact center, you have the technology and the means at your fingertips to handle the huge task of maintaining your customer relationships.

Keep regular contact. If your contact center software has a call blast application, you could use that to send out reminders, alerts, and updates. It will help you keep in contact with a large customer data base. Of course, there’s many other ways to use Call Blast as well.

Help them get what they need. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu, coupled with skills-based routing, will ensure that your customers speak to the customer service representative who is best able to help them when they call in. It will keep them from getting transferred through departments that they don’t need to speak to, and get them straight to the agent

Get to know your customers. Make sure that your contact center software integrates with your existing CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database, like SugarCRM, ServiceNow, or Infusionsoft. When your customers call in, their information will be right at your agents’ fingertips, so that they can give your customers the personalized attention and care that they deserve. Keep tabs of customers every time that they call, so that your agents know whether that customer has had issues or concerns with your company’s offerings in the past and can react accordingly.

Help yourself to help them. Use call recording, and make sure that your contact center software has supervisor support features like Listen, Whisper, and Barge-In. Your contact center supervisors will coach their agents to deliver the best customer service and help handle complicated customer service issues without having to transfer the customer’s call. 

Reward them for Loyalty

Try sending out exclusive deals to customers. A common marketing tactic is to offer special deals to new customers on a trial basis, but how many of these potential customers go for the trial offer and then drop off as soon as it’s over? One month free or 20% off your first order means that most customers who try it out won’t be returning after that initial deal.

The ones who stayed after form your loyal audience. They chose to stay beyond the length of the special deal, so clearly your product or service has proven its worth, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them of why they fell for you in the first place. Just because you aren’t dating any more, doesn’t mean your wife wouldn’t like a surprise gift of flowers on a Tuesday. Send out a promotion that applies only to existing customers. It will warm their hearts and delight them if you acknowledge their loyalty.

The key is to make this deal personalized. Send it out as if you are extending an invitation to join your company at a special event, not just blasting them with a sales promotion that anyone could access. This is your chance to say to your customers, “You are special and we value your business.” 

Special Incentives

Everyone loves getting something for free. Giving away merchandise draws attention. It isn’t going to make a customer stay with your company, but it will make them happy that they did. However, you can get something back from your existing customers while you reward them with free giveaways. Don’t just give your love away.

Give away merchandise to customers who:

  • Leave positive and meaningful reviews of your product or service. Have your customer service agents suggest this while on the phone with customers and get their contact info. When they submit the review, you can send them product samples, or promotional items like t-shirts, pens, or mugs as thanks.
  • Are willing to participate in a survey that you send out. You get valuable feedback and they get a reward for giving it.
  • Bring referrals for new customers. I belonged to a kickboxing studio who gave members 50% off a month’s membership dues for every new person they brought in who signed up for their own membership. Word of mouth marketing is a great way to go!

Merchandise with the company logo also doubles as advertising. Your customer will be reminded of your company every time that they use or wear that item, and, anyone who sees them with it may want to find out more.

3clogic contact center


Share the Love!

Like I said, the secret to customer retention is to treat each customer interaction as if you are building a relationship. It took time and effort to woo those customers to your side, so you want to make sure that you keep in touch and give them a reason to feel good about your company’s product or service. Share the love and all the love will come back to you. A happy customer is a loyal customer, and if you treat them well and your offerings impress them, they will be vocal about how much your product or service means to them.

Topics: customer service, crm integration, B2B marketing, small business solution, best business practices, small contact center software

Madeleine Coe

Written by Madeleine Coe

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