Getting new customers is great, and it marks the start of a long, trusting relationship. Improving your returning customer rate requires understanding how customers think and feel about your offerings with a framework in place to consistently connect, analyze, and strategize. Creating systems early on will set your business up for long term success.
Here, leaders share proven strategies that have helped them retain customers, building their business to become even stronger along the way.
Smooth Onboarding Sets the Stage
A poor onboarding experience is hard to come back from and is the fastest way to lose a customer. It’s critical to actively think about the entire customer journey. Define it, map it, document it.
- Paul Philp, Founder and CEO of Amity
Make Finding Answers Easy
Make sure finding answers is easy for your customers. Once you build up a bank of commonly asked questions, create an easy-to-navigate FAQ page on your site. That way, customers are able to find what they need quickly and only reach out if their issues aren’t covered on the page. Take every bit of customer feedback seriously because it’s a learning experience for you to make your product or service better. As a bonus, the FAQ page can help boost your search engine rankings so that more customers find your website.
- Michael Fischer, Founder of Elite HRT
Automate and Update
Email automation is your friend. Sending a company newsletter is an easy way to provide updates and continue reminding customers of your brand. You’re forming a relationship here. Luckily you don’t have to manage this manually. By relying on an automation platform, you can ensure your emails are sent consistently however often you feel is appropriate. Customers will come to expect communication from you, which helps you build trust over time.
- Ben Teicher, President and CEO of Healthy Directions
Personalize the Journey
Personalizing every customer’s journey helps to create loyal customers. Clients want to feel cared for by a company, that they are known and recognized. Personalizing the buying journey helps to bring them into the company family, creating loyalty. Personalization leads to loyalty.
- Brandon Adcock, Co-Founder and CEO of Nugenix
User-Friendly Apps for Success
When it comes to tasks like managing SOPs and quality documents, customers are looking for ready-to-use applications, not platforms. They are done with complex, expensive systems that require a lot of time, money and effort to configure and customize. Also, in the subscription economy, the connection between your customer success and your success is much more direct.
- Ken Lownie, General Manager of the U.S. Operations at Agatha
Stay Connected, Ask for Feedback
Customer relationships are everything, but you can’t rely on customers to consistently provide feedback. That means you should be proactive in reaching out to them to maintain communication over time. This shows that you care and emphasizes that you want their feedback, which is crucial in building loyalty. Creating a customer communication calendar can help with this, and it also gives you an organized way of mapping out key opportunities to up-sell, offer promotions, and more.
- Amanda E. Johnson, CEO and CMO of TatBrow
Monitor and Analyze Feedback
It’s hugely important to track and analyze all customer feedback and share it with relevant teams in your company. Create a solid system for how customer feedback is obtained, stored, and shared within the organization. Pick a few methods that you can use consistently. When you continue to analyze trends, you can better predict how to move forward and retain more customers.
- Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer at Readers.com
Understand Churn to Improve
Understanding churn is key to analyzing and building a better customer experience. Use a spreadsheet to track churn and customer feedback so that you can continue analyzing and improving your product or service. You can’t improve your offerings without in-depth insights that are looked at from a thoughtful lens. This will help you strategize as best as possible to increase customer retention and continue adapting, refining, and achieving your goals.
- Chris Hetherington, Founder and CEO of Peels
Stay True to your Values
By remaining loyal to your brand’s value proposition, you’re showing customers loyalty too. Customers want to support brands they believe in, but trust develops over time and can’t be forced. One way to establish trust is to provide consistent, thoughtful content on your website and social media channels, making sure it always aligns with your vision and values. When you create a community that’s rooted in your brand values, you’re offering a benefit to your customers’ lives beyond just one product or experience. These initiatives can have a real impact if they’re done thoughtfully.
- Katie Lyon, Co-founder of Allegiance Flag Supply
Education Builds Trust
Customers want to learn from brands they trust. This means there’s a huge opportunity for providing extended education (forums, courses, e-books, etc.) on topics that are meaningful to your customer base. By having a variety of self-service tools, customers have more resources available to find answers anytime they need them. The education provides customers more opportunities to understand how to use your product or service beyond what they already know. You’re also providing a useful service they can keep referring to over time.
- Ben Thompson, CEO of Hardwood Bargains
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
When you’re caught up in building a brand, it can be easy to forget to have fun. While you’re trying to sell a product or service, you’re also selling the experience of interacting with your brand. When you can infuse fun into the customer experience, customers will naturally remember how they felt and be more likely to return. Plus, they’re more likely to share your brand with others. Start by establishing your brand voice (can you make it fun?) and continue the fun all the way to the checkout page, your email newsletter, promotions, and more.
- Mike Pasley, Founder of Famous IRL
Solid Customer Service is Still Key
Our customers matter more to us than anything. When it comes to how we treat customers, the goal in our minds is getting them to return for another visit. Whatever it takes to do that, we’re willing to commit to it. While we are constantly working to manage our systems to create a solid customer experience, technology isn’t always on our side. That means having a solid people-centric customer service backbone is still hugely important, even if we aren’t directly communicating with customers as much as before thanks to automation. That foundation is still absolutely essential and will always be the heart of how we operate.
- Charlie McKenna, Founder and Chef at Lillie’s Q
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