5 Effective Customer Retention Tips to Implement

September 26, 2019

Teresa Becker

Customer Success Strategist

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you wouldn’t have a reason to keep your company in operation. But gaining new customers is a hard process, costing about five times as much as retaining an existing customer. 

That’s one of the reasons why so many businesses focus on retaining the customers they’ve already gained. A Marketing Metrics study found that if a customer has made at least one purchase in the past, they’re 60% more likely to purchase from you again in the future. But how do you keep your existing customers coming back for more? 

Here’s a quick look at some effective strategies to keep your existing customers happy.

1. Closely monitor customer health metrics on a regular basis. 

Sam Feil, Customer Success Manager at ClientSuccess, defines customer health as “the current state of customer satisfaction after a given engagement (i.e. emails, meetings, and phone calls). Are my customers happy or are they not? Pretty simple; if they are not satisfied, a game plan is created to improve their health and overall success.”

Beyond the basic financial metrics that most executives consider, look at customer health metrics such as customer engagement and net promoter scores, usage metrics such as product usage and adoption, and the metrics of your customer success team’s performance to determine if you need to take additional action. 

(Tip: Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to SaaS Customer Success Metrics!) 

2. Provide benefits to loyal customers. 

Instead of going head-first into an upsell conversation or trying to ‘sell’ additional services to customers before you even know if they need them or not, try easing into the conversation. 

One tactic is offering customers the opportunity to beta test a new service or product. This way, customers have the ability to give feedback, they feel valued for having been asked to help test a new product before their peers, and they can see whether or not this new service product, feature, or service fits in with their current operations. 

Another strategy is offering certain customers early releases of products. These should also be positioned as a ‘unique opportunity’ on a ‘limited basis’. After all, everyone likes to feel special, and signaling your customers out as top tier can help increase retention rates.

3. Use messages that are personalized to their goals. 

Your customers want to do business with companies that understand them and speak to their interests, values, and goals. To achieve this, work with your CSMs to regularly take the time to map customers’ personas down to the last detail. Consider important aspects such as their title, how long they’ve been in their role, their reporting structure, their daily responsibilities, their goals, and so on. 

By communicating with customers in a way that resonates with them specifically will help you earn their respect throughout the customer journey. Consider the following questions

  • Who are you talking to? What are their individual goals within the company? What are their personal goals for your solution? What are their departmental goals?
  • What’s the landscape? Where were they before your solution? Where do they want to be in 3, 6, 9 months? Were they an advocate for your solution during the buying process, or were they against it?
  • How do they influence others in the company? Are they an end user, a decision maker, or somewhere in between? What are they most interested in on a product level?
  • What value do they want to get from the solution? Do they have any history with your solution or competitor solutions?

4. Recapture your customers by sharing momentum. 

Though it’s easy to get stuck in a rut talking about industry-impacting news, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn from time to time! As your CSMs learn about new product features, functionality, and hear about customer success stories from other team members, share the excitement directly with customers. 

For example, a good valued touch might be an email or conversation reviewing how a new feature benefits your customers specifically. Another way to bring value to your customers would be educating customers on existing features by providing the context needed to help them become more successful according to their desired outcomes.

With a system in place to help segment your customers, valued engagement touch points will bring your customer success managing to the next level. Not only will you be able to help at-risk customers succeed, you’ll also be spending your time effectively because you’ll be better aligned with each customer’s success criteria.

5. Go beyond saying you’re sorry. 

Your team needs to own up to the problem and apologize when something has been messed up for a customer, but they also need to go above and beyond to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Take the time to follow up and let them know that the problem is solved to restore confidence.

Making an apology to customers after things go wrong is positively related to satisfaction with restoring the customer relationship. When a CSM apologizes to a customer either for themselves or on behalf of the company or another department, they convey politeness, courtesy, concern, effort, and empathy – all of which go a long way. Consider the following stats:

While the demands of a CSM can sometimes be overwhelming, having a proactive strategy in place can provide insight into where your time should be spent. Doing so will make you a better customer success professional and set you apart as a trusted advisor who builds relationships that last.

For additional insights, download one of these valuable resources:

 

New posts each Tuesday and Thursday.

Customer success best practices delivered to your inbox.

Also worth reading

What Does the Growth of Advocacy Mean For Customer Success Teams? 

As a CSM or customer success team manager, you’ve probably heard the term ‘customer advocacy’ tossed around a time or two. There’s no denying that this customer engagement trend is here to stay. Although they are true champions of your brand and your product, advocates are definitely shaking things up in the CSM world.  Advocates [...]

Teresa Becker

Customer Success Strategist

19 Qualities That Can Make Good Customer Success Managers Great

Welcome to our blog series CSM from the Trenches, a community for frontline Customer Success Managers (CSMs) that discusses trends, best practices, and advice for the frontline. Being on the CSM frontline allows us to directly influence the success of our clients. I love that; as our clients are successful, we’re successful. Each day we [...]

Sam Feil

Customer Success Manager

CSM Metrics: Latest and Greatest Thinking

The customer service industry is constantly changing. For CSMs in the SaaS industry, the same metrics that guided decision making and strategy even a few years ago aren’t cutting it anymore. Because customer success trends are rapidly coming and going, customer success leaders must keep their eyes open for the latest and greatest thought leadership.  [...]

Teresa Becker

Customer Success Strategist