Customer churn is a serious problem for all businesses, all of the time, but you need to pay it particular attention when there’s a global pandemic-induced economic recession going on.
You work hard to acquire new customers, so why would you let them slip through your fingers as soon as you’ve succeeded? Especially when consumers everywhere are tightening their belts and closing their wallets. You want to do all you can to hold on to your existing loyal customers.
However, that’s easier said than done. Consumers today are demanding and impatient, with one out of every three consumers worldwide saying that they’d abandon a brand they know and love after just one bad experience. The stakes are high and the circumstances are tough, so you need all the right tools and tactics to stay 100% on top of your game.
Here are the top nine ways to reduce customer churn:
1. Get Your Team Organized
The modern working environment requires you to have a well-organized team. One of the first issues to address is to make sure that all your customer-facing teams are organized and well-informed, so that they can respond to customers quickly, helpfully, and with a minimum of fuss.
You don’t want customers who get in touch with a question, complaint, or request for a refund to be passed from one agent to the other until they’re lost in the system. Your customers certainly won’t put up with that kind of treatment. Over 50% of consumers say that waiting a long time for a rep to respond is the most frustrating part of a bad customer experience, and 68% get irritated when you transfer them between departments.
Put your project management software to work to improve matters. Today’s best agile project management solutions include automated workflows that you can use to direct customers to the right agent swiftly, track your success (or otherwise) in resolving customer issues with analytics, and open up access to information so that more employees have the knowledge to handle any given customer interaction.
2. Apply Data to the Problem
You’re collecting data about customer behavior and website traffic patterns anyway (or you should be), so maximize its benefits with data analytics. Customer retention analytics lets you analyze predictive metrics to get to the root cause of customer churn.
Apply the data analytics tools built into your project management software, or use standalone data analytics platforms, to dig deep into data and understand why your customers are leaving.
Improving customer retention with data analytics offers several advantages. You know the reasons that keep your customers happy so that you can take the suggested measures to keep them loyal to your brand. Moreover, it is easier to cross-sell or up-sell and increase cart value with regular order flows. Increasing customer retention rates using data analytics can increase profits by around 95%.
Look for patterns in visitor behavior that reveal your audience’s true demands, needs, and pain points, and then use that information to guide your business strategy. You might discover that you’re targeting the wrong market, or your purchase process is too confusing, or your product has a simple flaw like a poor interface. Once you’ve corrected the errors, you’ll hopefully see customer churn decrease.
3. Spread the Data Around
Using data to understand consumer preferences and shopping patterns is important, but you need to take it one step further. It’s not enough for customer support managers, marketing leaders, or product development teams to possess deep insights into what your customers really, really want. You need to democratize access to this data across all your customer-facing personnel.
Currently, only 38%, or slightly more than one-third, of US consumers think that the employees they speak with actually understand their needs. That’s often because someone might get in touch about one issue, but fail to articulate what’s really bothering them. If you only address the external problem, the consumer will go away unsatisfied. The good news is that if all your employees can tap into the same customer insights, the chances are high that they’ll be able to identify and relate to the consumer’s underlying concerns as well as the spoken ones.
It’s not just customer data that should be made accessible. Everyone in a customer-facing role should be able to easily consult business data so they are equipped to answer most customer questions. Imagine if someone gets in touch with your customer support team to ask a question about returns, or makes an inquiry to your sales teams about your product specifications. If the first person they ask can give them a full answer, they’re a lot more likely to feel loyalty towards your brand.
4. Show Your Human Side
Above all else, today’s consumers want a friendlier and more human customer experience. If you’re not delivering it, they’ll switch to your competitors. People are looking for genuine, warm, and welcoming interactions, to the extent that 42% of consumers say they’d pay more to receive them.
Tech isn’t the main issue for your customers. Instead, consumers agree that helpful employees, friendly service, and fast, convenient purchasing processes are what matter the most. Although you can’t neglect your tech stack, remember that all these tools are there to help you deliver authentic direct consumer interactions, and content that comes across as natural, relatable, and human.
5. Respond to Customer Feedback
It’s just as important to reply to the reviews that you receive and comments customers leave on social media, because consumers today expect a response. If a customer complains about your company on a social media channel, it’s not the end of the road — depending on how you handle it. You can turn around poor customer experience and retain a client who has one foot out the door when you respond quickly, acknowledge the fault honestly, and act to correct the mistake. Brand reputation can even rise when you get this right, but if you ignore it, you’re just pushing churn higher.
You should never shy away from recognizing your staff on social platforms because it helps to build a positive online reputation. Also, don’t forget to personalize your response and always address the customers by their name.
Besides, you can also make use of social listening tools to help you to track whenever your brand is mentioned so that you won’t miss any feedback. If someone tags you to ask a question, you know that hundreds of their followers will see your answer and notice it if you don’t reply. When a customer recommends or praises your company, say “thank you.” As well as being basic good manners, it also shows that you care about their opinion. If customers think you’re not interested, they’ll walk away.
6. Get Personal
Personalization is a huge trend today, and you should be riding it. Consumers want to be a name, not a number, so look for ways to personalize your interactions. Deliver your message by leveraging copywriting tricks so that it looks that it was created just for them.
Real-time personalization is on the rise, but businesses are finding it harder to keep consistent when maintaining the same experience throughout the buyer journey. Marketing automation tools help personalize marketing campaigns at scale by segmenting leads according to age, location, demographics, or even their love of vintage matchbox cars. That way you can send content, offers, and information that’s more relevant to your customers’ interests and hold on to their business. The right tools also enable individualization at scale, so you can address each lead by their name and refer to previous interactions without having to write each email individually.
7. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Discount sales, special offers, and unique promotions are all great ways to bring more customers into your store, but you need to use them strategically. Otherwise, you’ll just bleed income from a thousand cuts without seeing any real change in customer churn rates.
Once you’ve got your data analysis tools set up to track customer data, use it to identify both which offers have the biggest impact, and which groups of shoppers to target. For example, you might find that a 15% discount is more enticing than 10%, but that buy-one-get-one-free is even more effective. At the same time, bear in mind that some of your customers might not be interested in any amount of discount, but love getting exclusive early access to new collections.
8. Strategically Target the Right Groups of Customers
When you’ve worked out which are your best-performing offers, don’t spread them around indiscriminately. Once again, use your data insights to spot consumers who are on the point of churning. Send them an impressive, tempting offer that you know will persuade them to give your store another try, at least for one last purchase. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy the purchase process and their new item so much, they’ll rekindle the love they felt when you first met.
The other group to target with appealing promotions is your VIP shoppers. They are the ones who spend large amounts each time they visit, ones that visit regularly to make frequent purchases, or best of all, both. Retaining these high spenders should be the focus of your anti-churn campaigns. Remember, the same offer might not be the most effective for both groups.
You can really up your game by using project management software to set up automated workflows that are triggered whenever someone hasn’t visited your store within a certain period of time, or when you detect that a customer has passed a certain minimum monthly spend level.
9. Give Customers a Say
Everyone loves to feel like their opinion is valuable, and your customers are no exception. When you give your customers a say in your products, it cements their loyalty and makes them feel like they are an intrinsic part of your business.
For example, Walkers’ Crisps in the UK ran a campaign called “do us a flavour,” inviting members of the public to submit suggestions for a new flavor of potato chips. It boosted sales growth by 68% YOY, and turned Walkers’ Crisps’ website into the fastest-growing site in the UK. The company received over 1 million different suggestions, showing an astonishing level of user engagement and securing a vast number of committed customers.
Customer Churn Isn’t Inevitable
Your business can’t afford to hemorrhage customers through high levels of churn, and you don’t have to sit back and watch it happen. The right project management software, data analytics, and social listening and marketing tools empower you to respond quickly to customer queries and mentions on any channel, understand your audience’s interests more deeply, and conduct personal, human relationships that improve retention and slash customer churn. Make use of the tips suggested in this article to stop customer churn and retain your customers for longer by delivering a great customer experience.