11 Customer Retention Tactics to Keep Your Customers Coming Back

By Cari Thompson

Estimated read time: 7 minutes, 10 seconds

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you love them, let them go.” This may be true in romance, but it’s definitely not true in business. If you love your customers—which I’m sure you do—you want to hold onto them … tight.

Yep, we’re talking about customer retention—a business’s ability to keep customers over a period of time.

As much as we love new customers, we love repeat customers even more. Here’s why: It’s cheaper to get your existing customers to make repeat purchases than it is to get a new customer. In fact, getting a repeat customer can cost anywhere from five to 25 times less than finding a new customer.

While we’re not going to get into Customer Lifetime Value stats and the benefits of customer retention in this post, just know it’s in your best interest to get repeat customers. And here are our top tips to get your existing customers to buy more.

1. Optimize Your Onboarding Process to Deliver Value Quickly

Onboarding is your opportunity to teach a new customer how to successfully use your product. It’s a great customer retention tool and helps reduce churn. As a digital business, having personal, real-time training with each of your customers is not a scalable option. But you may want to consider giving your customers access to instructional content—videos, step-by-step instructions, helpful blog posts, etc.—to make them more comfortable with your products.

The more you invest in your onboarding process, the more retention you will see over time. And don’t be afraid to revisit your onboarding process on a regular basis. As you add new features and functionality over time, you will want to make sure that is included in the onboarding experience.

2. Provide Opportunities for Customers to Give Feedback

It sounds simple enough. If you want to know what your customers are thinking, you have to ask your customers for feedback. Not only is feedback helpful when optimizing your product and customer experience, but it shows your customers you care about their opinions.

Creating opportunities for customers to provide feedback like NPS surveys, post-support ticket feedback questionnaires, or proactive outreach from your Customer Success team is necessary in order to develop a relationship with your customers. By creating a good relationship with your customers, they’re more likely to return.

3. Stay Connected with Customers Via Email Campaigns

In our post about getting in front of your ideal audience, we talked about creating an email mailing list to reach your audience. Now that you’re getting more customers, your mailing list should be growing, which is the perfect vehicle to stay in touch with your existing customers.

Create a communication calendar that includes the schedule for each email blast, the customer profile being targeted, the purpose of the email (upsell or cross-sell), and the subject of the email. Your communication calendar will keep you accountable and ensure you’re regularly reaching out to your customers. The key to success here is to make sure what you are sharing is relevant to your customers, and you’re consistent with your outreach.

Your communication calendar should also include a schedule for new blog content, homepage content, and social media posts. Which brings us to our next point …

4. Use Social Media to Foster a Community with Your Customers

Staying active on social media is a great way to keep your business top-of-mind and your customers up-to-date on your business’s latest developments. It’s also a great way to engage with your customers.

Use social media to see what people are saying about your products and brand. When someone says something nice, thank them for the compliment. This shows you’re involved and aware of your customers. When someone complains, join the conversation and see if there’s anything you can do to improve the situation. In those situations, sometimes, you can turn your biggest critics into your biggest fans by joining the conversation and being genuine and personable.

5. Share Key Updates with a Company Newsletter

This goes along with your communication calendar and email campaigns. But instead of just sending out emails advertising deals and promotions, you should schedule regular emails that focus on educating your customers, keeping them informed, and maintaining customer relationships.

It may sound counterintuitive to send out non-promotional emails since the whole point is to get repeat customers, but your customers will appreciate a break from the hard-sell emails.

6. Reward Your Customers with Loyalty Programs

Reward your customers for their loyalty. The more they shop, the more benefits they should get. And if you’re worried about your bottom line, just know that the top 10% of your customers spend three times more than the rest of your customers, so you want to make sure they’re happy.

Offer special discounts via your email campaigns. Acknowledge anniversaries on subscriptions and include an opportunity to upsell/cross-sell. It’s all about showing your customers that you care and appreciate their business.

7. Delight Your Customers with Great Customer Service

If you want customers to come back, you have to have great customer service. When customers know a company is responsive and helpful, they’re more likely to purchase from you again. So, make it easy for your customers to get in touch with your support team, whether that’s via email, online chat, etc.

With the right set of tools, you will be able to monitor the effectiveness of your customer service to ensure each and every customer receives the level of support they need to be happy and successful.

8. Don’t Shy Away From Offering a Cross-Sell

Just because someone became a customer doesn’t necessarily mean their purchase opportunities are over. When sending out a confirmation or thank-you email, take the opportunity to show your customers complementary products they may be interested in.

Some ideas for cross-sell items are additional products, support subscriptions, product training, bundled protection plans, etc. It’s all about offering added value to your customers even after they make their purchase.

9. Reward Your Customers for Bringing in New Business with a Referral Program

A referral program is a powerful tool for bringing in new business while further developing loyalty with your existing customers. Your referral programs should help achieve two things:

  1. Gain a new customer
  2. Encourage an existing customer to purchase again

Here is a good example of referral copy to help you reach your goal: “For every friend you refer, you get $20, and they get 20% off their first purchase.”

However, you decide to frame your referral program, just make sure the new customer gets a deal, your existing customer gets a deal, and you get to reap the benefits.

10. Develop Long-Term Customer Relationships with Subscriptions

One of the best ways to get your customers to purchase again is to build multiple purchases into one sale. Not all digital products will work as a subscription, but if your product fits into a subscription format, give your customers the option to select automatic recurring billing options.

One of the obstacles with subscriptions is known as churn. This refers to when a customer ends their relationship with a company. It is a problem all subscription-based companies have to prevent and minimize in order to succeed. To reduce churn and ensure recurring payments go through successfully, you may want to consider implementing tools that can prevent the churn before it happens—often referred to as dunning management. These tools allow your recurring billing solution to manage complications associated with credit card declines.

Your customers will never have to worry about losing access to their subscriptions because of credit card limits or an expired credit card. When a payment fails, the customer can be notified via email to update their information, so they don’t experience any disruption to their service. It’s all about getting ahead of the churn before it happens to maintain a great customer experience.

11. Don’t Forget the Value of Saying Thank You

Hopefully, you already have a follow-up thank-you email built into your purchase process. If not, do it right now. Saying thank you goes a long way, especially when it comes to building and maintaining customer relationships. And if your “thank you” also includes a deal on their next purchase, I’m sure your customers won’t complain.

When it comes to retaining customers, it’s all about building a relationship. Sure, having a great product helps, too. But if you want your customers to choose you again over a competitor, cultivate customer loyalty using some of the tips we shared here.

Cari Thompson

Cari Thompson is a copywriter, online marketer, and blogger. She studied marketing and advertising and—drum roll, please—music at Brigham Young University. Cari started in traditional advertising as a media buyer then transitioned into the online world through buzz marketing, blogging, and copywriting.

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