Magic Johnson. Babe Ruth. Serena Williams. Tiger Woods. Peyton Manning. Kobe Bryant. Walter Payton. Lisa Leslie. LeBron James. (Insert all-time great athlete here). What do these people have in common?
If I were a betting man, I would say that they all share one commonality: that they have never uttered the phrase, “That’s good enough.” Elite athletes and elite businesses alike can not risk thinking, “That’s good enough!” When can this type of thinking rear its ugly head in the professional world? I would argue it happens just after a sale has been made, but in reality the work has just begun!
It’s just as important to retain customers as it is to attain new ones. As Shiv Sing, Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Marketing Transformation at Visa put it, “The purpose of a business is to create customers who create customers.” We at ROI sat down and asked ourselves the simple question: Why do we remain loyal to our favorite brands? Together we identified common trends and patterns amongst our own answers and formed six customer retention tips for creating lifelong customers and the data points to determine success and failure.
1.) Provide friendly and efficient customer service. Everyone has a customer service horror story; the time someone was blatantly rude to you or didn’t give you the time or answers you needed. Who can forget the Comcast customer who’s service rep aggressively refused to let him cancel his service? It’s important to remember that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. Have a goal in mind for how you want your customer service to be rated by your customers, and be sure to actually request that your customers review you on sites like G2 Crowd.
2.) Specialize in one thing, rather than trying to master everything. As a business, it’s important to find your niche. Narrowing it down and targeting a specific group of people doesn’t mean you will make less money; in fact it’s just the opposite. With a niche it will be easier to “create customers who create customers” because they will know what you specialize in and will view you as an expert in your field. In return, they will be more likely to recommend you to their friends. Quantify who you want to target as your “master/niche/target” market via profile scoring on your leads and clients. Perhaps your target client company persona is 300 employees, 10 years old, with multiple offices, and at least 50 sales representatives. Assign points to each of these categories and weigh how well your prospects and clients “fit” your company.
3.) Create a distinct and innovative personality that shines through your product or service. Maybe your competition offers a product or service that is the same or similar to yours. Adding something extra can make you stand out from the crowd and can strengthen your customer relationships. For instance, Apple has a swarm of loyal customers. Although some would claim their operating system has fallen behind, they are known for their innovative and minimalist product design and user friendly products. Check out a site like Owler to see how your company and product stack up in a couple categories that you may not have considered as telling KPIs but are important none the less!
4.) Reward customers with points, perks, incentives or unexpected delights. It’s the little things that go a long way. A few months ago I made a trip to Panera for breakfast because I knew I would get something for free since it was my birthday. Last week, my dad got a TV for 50% off at Best Buy because of all the loyalty points he had racked up on his card. Take care of your customers and your customers will take care of you. Customer Lifecycle Marketing is based upon this concept of stages with the most advanced stage of customers typically being referred to as “brand loyal advocates” or “raving fans.” Using Customer Lifecycle metrics, look to convert as many of your contacts to this stage over the next 12 months!
5.) Focus your attention around the specific needs of the customer, while providing recommendations appropriate to the individual. Considering that 61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content – and are more likely to buy – personalization can go a long way with customers. Recently, I bought something off Amazon that I didn’t even know I wanted. Amazon recommended it because it complemented another product I had purchased recently. Customers don’t care about what doesn’t pertain to them. It’s all about relevancy.
Sales and new customers are great. Sales teams get all of the glory when new logos and brands are added to the website; however, what separates the truly great companies are statistics like recurring revenue, customer churn, and current customer up-sells. Look to breed that killer instinct in your sales and client success teams by tracking more than just sales and new customers!
To learn more about all of the Customer Lifecycle Marketing stages, check out our newest eBook, Customer Lifecycle Marketing 101!