They say, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’. Companies often find this out the hard way when it comes to customer churn.
While it’s only natural to push money and resources into acquiring new business, losing existing clients can render those efforts meaningless as profits stagnate or worse still, shrink.
Customer retention is a top priority. The secret to long-term growth as discussed in this blog.
Preventing Customer Churn
All good relationships require work and relationships with your clients are no different. The key to fighting customer churn lies in showing your appreciation. But more importantly, demonstrating value. Here’s how…
1. Delight Your Existing Customers
Obsessing over new business opportunities is not always the best use of time or money. In fact, it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones.
So switch your focus to delighting your existing customers, the ones that are most loyal and profitable.
This could come in many forms:
- providing additional information on products and services they’ve bought
- holding exclusive events to help educate them on the latest industry trends
- providing outstanding customer service at every stage of their journey.
We touched on some of these points in further detail here.
2. Regular, Valuable Communication
Nothing screams sales tactic quite like a rare email on the eve of a renewal. This may well secure the necessary revenue but will just as likely alienate clients, fearful they are little more than a revenue stream.
It also sends a message that you want to speak with them only when money is involved. That doesn’t add value.
Proactive, regular communication personalises the experience and proves you care about more than just the depth of someone’s pockets.
Approach clients before they reach out for help or assistance. Pay close attention to what parts of your product offering they are utilising and which they have shied away from. Check in and offer to take them through things they may be unsure of.
Earning trust through communication is vital to tackling customer churn.
Ensure you provide value in every single communication. Write blogs that answer common questions. Demonstrate how your customers can get the most from their purchases. Create free help kits to aid them with common issues and pain points.
Automating this content means your clients receive a stream of useful information - and that you can make your time as productive as possible with those that engage.
Setting regular milestone meetings to catch up with clients is an ideal way to improve communication. It gives you a chance to catch up on:
- things that may have changed in their business
- issues they are facing that you can help with
- feedback they have on your products and services.
Doing this means you can reduce the likelihood of them looking elsewhere. It makes them feel loved and allows you to provide value continually.
Timely incentives can prove hugely impactful. A loyalty discount or one-off promotion can provide value whilst paving the way for an upcoming renewal. Clients remember small gestures and show their appreciation by way of loyalty.
Incentives however don’t need to be opportunistic. There may come a point when a customer is struggling with a certain product and fears they are over-paying for the privilege. You could allay their fears by working on a bespoke solution and reducing costs in the short-term.
Remember, providing value is the key to reducing customer churn.
Incentives don’t always need to be in the form of discounts or additional services, however. Simply delighting your customers at every possible opportunity is incentive enough to keep them happy.
When I say this, I don’t just mean delivering what you promise.
From time to time, it doesn’t hurt to over-deliver for your customers. Deliver things early, show them a little extra love. Gestures as simple as sending them a card on your anniversary of working together go a long way.
If expecting to retain all clients is fanciful you can at least aim to keep churn down. The best way to do this is by analysing decline and identifying contributing factors.
The likelihood is that certain patterns will emerge.
You may for example, notice a big drop-off after X number of years or common warning signs that that often go unnoticed. For example:
- clients disengaging with marketing emails
- a drop in event attendance from usually loyal customers
- a lack of engagement with account managers.
These are all tell-tale signs that your clients are disengaging. Analysing behaviour such as this informs future marketing efforts, guards against complacency and allows you to nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem.
Remember those regular milestone meetings? This is when they come in handy!
You can also automate processes so as soon as the above behaviours start to become a problem, your sales and account management team is notified. Nip that churn in the bud!
Anyone working at Intergage will stress the only constant is change and eternal evolution certainly plays a key role in combating churn.
A loyal customer will only remain so if your service offering is up-to-date. Should your competitors steal a march by adopting new technology and embracing new tactics you risk being left behind. Don’t give your customers a reason to look elsewhere!
Innovate your technology. Keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to new processes and solutions. Be the thought leader your clients need.
Remaining one step ahead of the curve has a different meaning in every business. But it is crucial to remaining competitive and reducing lost customers.
Returning customers are likely to spend 67% more on your products and services. So while acquiring new business will always be important, looking after what you have should be the first priority. Marketing automation provides an ideal solution when it comes to reducing customer churn. It helps you communicate, analyse and innovate.