Customer Retention: 7 Ways to Keep Your Customers

Dec 14, 2011 10:30 PM  By

As we all know, it is imperative to stop consumers and get their attention before we can influence their behavior patterns. The good news is that for customer retention, you have a real advantage with your customers. Your brand itself gives you a head start over the competition. As long as you nurture this critical element of your marketing program and keep it healthy, the advantage is yours to lose. Recognition of your brand stops them automatically, and all you need to do is add a WOW factor. Do something different, fun and unusual. Stop them!

Extreme loyalty occurs when you surprise, thrill and captivate. Let’s look at the chart below from McKinsey & Company; January 2011.

The blue box on the far right-hand side is the key here. It was possible to prove what we have all instinctively understood for years: Exceeding customer expectations increases customer value. This means we can increase retention rates and therefore the value of our customers by exceeding their expectations.

Let’s look at a few tactical elements helpful to include in our marketing strategies that will help us exceed expectations. Stay focused on these seven “R” factors to retain your customers and improve their lifetime value.

  1. Re: search — Know Your Customer

    It all starts here. Consumer behavior is not only changing, but doing so rapidly. Your customers’ expectations may be very different from a year or two ago. It is more important than ever to have an ongoing program in place that is constantly monitoring both your customers and the needs of the customer-acquisition marketplace you are engaged in. While you may create exciting new content and offers, these stories may be missing the mark if you lack clarity around what your best customers are thinking and feeling.

  2. Re: act — Do Something

    Now that you have learned more about how your customers are behaving, it is time to act on that new information. Business intelligence arrives in many different ways, and we are all overwhelmed with research, surveys, response analysis, scoring models, clickstream analysis, and on and on. But we must ask ourselves, “What action can be taken immediately that could have a high return on investment?” This kind of clarity allows priorities to be set that maximize the value of your customer retention initiatives.

  3. Re: cognition — The Process By Which Knowledge Is Acquired

    Cognition is a process, and the way this happens on the analytics side of the multichannel merchant world is through your database resources. When addressing customer retention, it is right here that you have an advantage over other retail businesses, and can beat your competitors by using consistent database best practices.

    Here is an example of database segmentation that direct marketers have pioneered. It combines promotional source of orders with order channel.

  4. Re: target — Relevance At Its Best

    Retargeting is a trade term for serving up content to consumers who have already clicked around your website. It targets them for an additional time leveraging the data gained during prior times they visited your site. Why not use this same strategy with all your marketing channels? Regardless of the media, you have gained valuable business intelligence for each customer touch. A fantastic wealth of knowledge exists that allows you to make sure your next offer is relevant to that customer. By definition, retargeting is all about customer retention.

  5. Re: cite — Tell Your Story

    The most common opportunity that exists for multichannel merchants is the need to focus the brand story and tell it more effectively. The next time someone asks you what your brand is, record your answer and then listen to it later on. If you can, put some space between your daily work routine and when you listen. If you do not get a clear and accurate perception, there is work to do. If you are one of those who have successfully articulated your brand, take the same challenge for each of your media channels.

  6. Re: energize — Your Brand To Create Excitement

    When is the last time you revisited your brand? It may have been 100% on target years or even months ago, but perhaps the world has changed and the brand position is no longer as relevant as it could be. Does your brand speak to older customers as effectively as it does to the ones you just acquired? In addition, it is most critical that your internal organization is re-energized along with the brand. All the employees must be on board with the excitement. The power of a brand generating excitement from within its culture is often overlooked in today’s marketing environment.

  7. Re: plenish

    “Plenish” in Latin means “to fill.” The most successful businesses today have reached out beyond their inner circle by asking those outside of their day-to-day trenches for input. Tap into family, friends, focus groups, boards of directors, advisers, consultants, new customers and older customers. Add someone to your team who is not in the day-to-day trenches. This will provide an “out-of-the-box” perspective of your customer retention efforts as well as your entire business.

Geoff Wolf, geoffw@jschmid.com, is the executive VP at J.Schmid, a multichannel marketing/creative agency.

Exceeding Customer Expectations

This company has recently become #1 in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study. They did it with a combination of customer retention through never-ending brand excitement and constantly improving their product. Hint: An entire generation has recently grown up with a steady diet of this brand experience. Who are they?

Take the Quiz and find out now!

Keycode Segment Recency Order Source Order Channel Quantity
123453 Buyer 36m – 48m Catalog Online 4,783
123454 Buyer 36m – 48m Adwords Online 4,981
123455 Buyer 36m – 48m Email Online 11,015
123456 Buyer 36m – 48m SEO Online 4,887