If your retention is poor, then nothing else matters - Brian Balfour, former VP of growth at HubSpot.
Starbucks is one brand that understands this, and that’s why they invest so much in customer loyalty and retention. Starbucks has one of the most famous customer retention strategies in the world, it is hinged on rewarding customer loyalty, and it includes the following elements:
- Customers earn “Stars” depending on how much they order.
- They can exchange these Stars later for a free drink or a free bag of coffee beans.
- Members also get a free treat on their birthdays if they are regular.
All these strategies which seem simple on paper have proved very successful because Starbucks has a customer retention rate of 75%.
As an early-stage founder, customer acquisition should not be the only thing on your mind, you should also pay some special attention to customer retention.
Here are 7 customer retention strategies you can try out as an early-stage founder.
1. Send personalized messages.
This is number one on our list, and that’s because Lumen is a big advocate of personalization. Personalization helps to get customers excited, there’s a reason Spotify round-up is a thing and people share them on their social media platforms.
It may not be realistic for an early-stage founder to try to do what Spotify does, but you can group people based on their preferences, history, location, and more using a tool like Lumen. Using this segmentation, you can then send automated personalized messages to them based on the insights you have gathered also from Lumen.
Sending these messages increases the likelihood of customers interacting with you and taking an action. It also makes them feel emotionally connected to your company and encourages them to continue using your product or service.
2. Share testimonials regularly.
People are largely affected by what other people think. So, if you put out proof that other people are enjoying your product and service. A good number of customers are going to keep using whatever service you provide.
Make sure to consistently show your customers how other users are succeeding on your platform through testimonials and reviews. It should even be a big part of your marketing. Share it wherever you can, a use case on your blog, a customer video on YouTube, or a short post on Twitter.
Salesforce does this well. They have an entire section on their blog dedicated to customer stories. These stories highlight the problem their customers had and how Salesforce helped them solve it.
Any new Salesforce customer who stumbles on this blog will be encouraged to continue using Salesforce because they believe they can also get that kind of success.
3. Make customer support a priority.
Lazerpay states in this article that the most common mistake businesses make is hiring a CS expert too late. We agree!
This study by Walker also states that customers value experiences more than prices and products.
Making customer support a priority allows you to effectively solve customers’ problems, which in turn improves loyalty and delight. All these are contributing factors when it comes to retention.
If you help your customers solve their problems fast, and you’re friendly while doing it. They come to see you as reliable and won’t leave you so easily. Your customers will even be happier if they can reach you through their preferred method. So open up customer support to social media, chatbots, and live chat.
4. Implement a customer loyalty program.
Remember Starbucks and their customer loyalty program? You need to implement something similar.
Customer loyalty programs, like points or stamps that customers can redeem when it gets to a certain point, can come in handy. Gifts are also always welcome, so create that company “swag” and give it to customers when they have used you for a particular number of months.
Implementing simple customer loyalty programs like the ones listed above keep customers engaged, and keep them for a long time.
Imagine if you created a point system where a customer gets 20 points whenever they make a payment of over 5000 Naira and once they got to 1000 points they could exchange it for cash. Won’t that keep them for a while?
5. Collect customer feedback and adapt to what they need.
What do they need next? This is a question you always need to have the answer to, and collecting customer feedback helps with that. Once you get the answer, you also need to make changes and adapt to it.
Adapting to what they have asked for shows them that you care and that you’re interested in making your services even better. If they know you’ve got their back, the chances that they are going to stay loyal are very high.
A lot of businesses set themselves up by not continuously adapting to both what the customers and the market want. Don’t be that kind of startup founder.
6. Support and contribute to causes that your customers are passionate about.
64% of consumers avoid brands that don’t believe in the social causes they support.
Remember #endsars and how people felt towards brands that openly supported the movement.
When you openly support and contribute to causes that your customers feel strongly about, it helps them feel seen and increases your brand’s customer delight, which in turn improves customer retention.
7. Make personal connections with your customers.
According to Deloitte, emotional connections drive customer loyalty and perform better than discount incentives.
Making personal connections that go beyond just selling helps with retaining customers. They are people out there who will never change their service provider simply because they have someone in the company who feels like a friend or family.
Your relationship with your customers doesn’t always have to be transactional. It also needs to be personal, so people feel like you care.
You can send a customer cake on their birthday or flowers when they announce something great that happened in their lives, this helps with building interpersonal relationships.
Applying the right retention strategies and making customers feel like you care can go a long with invoking customer loyalty and improving retention.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated thing, as the customer retention strategies on this list have shown. So whether it’s the personalized messaging or customer loyalty program, pick at least one and start today.
If you are thinking of implementing personalized messages, Lumen is the perfect place to start as it provides insights into your customer’s behaviours, allows you to segment your customers, and also allows you to send automated personalized messages.
Find out more about how it works by booking a demo here.