Lead generation occupies a tremendous amount of a company’s time. But, what about customer retention?
You invest lots of time and resources to acquire each new customer, and then breathe a sigh of relief once you have that new customer. But, don’t relax too much…your competitors are still out there.
To maintain customer loyalty, you must prove over and over again that you are worthy of your customers’ continuing business. We’ve developed a list of online tactics which can help you achieve this goal. Your most valuable assets—your customers—are worth the attention.
- Solicit customer feedback online. Listening to customers is the only way to find out what they are thinking. Conducting online surveys to better understand the wants, needs, and satisfaction levels of your customers is a great way to do this. There are many free or inexpensive online survey tools you can use:
- Create customer-only email communications. Consider a newsletter just for current customers, filled with topics of interest to them. If possible, segment your customers into groups based on the type of products or services they use. Design specific communications targeted to those groups. For an added touch, personalize the emails by using the customer’s name in the subject line and greeting.
- Use online chat for customer support. Supplement phone and email customer service with live chat on your Web site. Many customer questions can be answered quickly through chat and you can also include links to relevant areas of your Web site. If the issue is complex you can use online chat to triage the problem, direct your customer to the best resource for further assistance.
- Establish online loyalty programs. Give customers the opportunity to earn rewards such as product discounts, extended warranties, free support, or gifts. You could also sprinkle in fun contests and quizzes about your products/services let them accumulate and track points that can be redeemed. Research backs up the retention value of these types of programs.
- Give customers a peek at new products. Invite customers to webinars or webcasts where executives offer a sneak peek at new products. Customers will feel they are “insiders” with access to exclusive information. Be sure to record the webinar for customers who can’t make the live event to view at a later time.
- Use social media to engage customers in conversations. Social media is a great place to share links to educational resources and to monitor what your customers may be thinking through their comments. Realize that not all comments will be positive and be prepared to respond quickly and positively…others will be watching how you handle it. Use Facebook and Twitter to regularly post updates about your company and industry to your followers.
- Maintain a strong market presence. Your customers want to do business with a winning company and a strong brand. Your presence on industry Web sites, in online directories, in third-party newsletters, and at online events all demonstrate that your company is known and respected, and will help your customers feel confident in their choice to do business with you.
Of course, these aren’t the only ways to retain customers. What have we left out? You may have found added ways to do this. Share them in the comments area and we’ll do a follow up post and share your ideas…and, give you credit too!