When it comes to customer retention and acquisition, success boils down to just a few things… listening to your current customers, prospects, and your ability to adapt.
Customer Retention Basics
Customer retention is all about keeping the customers you have now, and using them to their full potential.
“Cultivation and retention of customers includes integration, maximization, using referrals, listening to complaints, reactivating dormant customers, and monitoring/measuring consumer attitudes. In order to retain customers, it is important you are able to define what the customer values. It is also important to have an understanding of customer preferences as far as media and contact mediums go. You need to make sure your efforts are delivering value to each contact. – If they are not, you are wasting time.
While, and once you acquire customers, you will need to build relationships with them and understand their wants and needs. Understanding and listening to the customer’s pain points helps you to have the products and services to help them. That said, you will need to listen to the voice of our customers – especially their complaints. Maximizing the changes you can make based on customer complaints and opinions, subject to cost restraints, is in the best interest of your company for customer retention. Listening to complaints will help you identify customers at risk of leaving.
When a customer complains, four things can happen:
Compliant/mollification without complete satisfaction,
Customer does not complain/remains dissatisfied.
In order to retain customers with complaints, you should build a customer-at-risk strategy. Statistically, nearly ⅓ of customers will have problems with our product or company. And, customers who have had complaints solved are slightly more likely to buy again than those who didn’t have a problem.
The idea with the customer-at-risk strategy is to increase productive feedback from those customers with problems and to solve those problems. This should include surveying to understand what problems your company needs must solve. Having an understanding of customer grievances can better your relationship with current customers and lead to retention of these customers as you work to improve their experience. Additionally, this understanding will help you to avoid giving future customers anything complaint-worthy.
Retaining current customers also includes reactivating dormant customers. In order to do this, you should interview defectors to determine reasons for defection. When you do this, concentrate first on finding the reasons for defection, not trying to reactivate immediately. You should also be open with these customers and communicate changes that will make customers more likely to stay with you or come back later, ie,. better policies, faster shipping, bulk pricing, etc.
Customer Acquisition Basics
This is all about gaining new customers that are of high quality and value to your business.
Customer retention and acquisition explains your existing customers will define who your new ones will be. That said, you will need to ask existing customers questions that will help you define segmentation. This will allow you to uncover information to find new customers that are similar in segmentation to your current customers. Information that could be gathered from current customers in order to help define future customers will include: reasons for buying, titles of users, buying decision-makers, locations, etc. After you have uncovered what characteristics your current customers have, will look for new prospects that fit the profile of your best customers. Do not go after everyone with just any commonality shared by your current customers, rather, try to find your best customers – ones who have the potential to be long-term, loyal buyers.
In order to acquire new customers, there are a variety of tactics you could use. You may decide to ask your current, loyal customers if they have anyone who may be interested in your product. Or, you could show your products at a trade show and make contacts while networking there. You could invest in contact media. Or, you could decide to integrate a few types of contact media, like direct mail and electronic media advertising.
When we are in the process of acquisition planning and prospecting, you should consider using “value-based contacts” planning. In doing this, shift from building relationships to getting a prospect to show interest. This process may involve determining the “offer” used to attract new customers, then developing a value-added contact plan for those prospects. Then, move into the value-based contact plan. While partaking in acquisition planning, it is important to avoid trying to sell products to new customers at this point. Rather, scope out what is of interest to them. Then try to uncover if you should pursue the sale further.
How we Begin this process
For a digital marketing agency like Focused Engagement, the process of acquiring new customers starts on the phone. For each prospective customer, we create their value-based contact plan. We investigate needs and opportunities within their business. From here we determine what we can do to help them and if it is worth-while for them to sign with us.
Interested in gaining more insight on how Focused Engagement can help you and your team find success with customer retention and acquisition? Contact us for a free consultation!