3 Steps to Creating an Effective Customer Retention Plan
While most businesses are focused on how to acquire new customers, their current customers are slipping away to the competition. That’s because the business didn’t have a strong customer retention plan in place. See, running a business isn’t just about finding new customers, selling them your products, and moving on. It’s about creating a loyal base of consumers who are married to your brand and who will keep coming back time and time again.
So, what can you do to achieve a high customer retention rate? It all starts with creating an actual customer retention plan.
Step #1: Examine Your Current Retention Rate
Before you can create a customer retention plan, you need to analyze how well you’re performing currently. Take a look back at the past couple of years. How many customers have left you? Do you know why they left you? Did they go to your competitors? How has their leaving affected your bottom line?
It’s absolutely crucial that you track your customers. You need to pay attention to their behavior the entire time they’re with you. Look for any changes in their ordering patterns. Are they spending less all of a sudden? Are they ordering a lower priced product? The more information you have on your customers, the better you’ll be able to come up with a plan for keeping them around.
Step #2: Brainstorm Ideas for Keeping Customers
What can you do to keep customers coming back to you time and time again? While there are the obvious things like providing a quality product and exceptional service, that’s not always enough. Brainstorm a list of ideas you think will entice customers to stay loyal to your brand. Some examples of this include:
- Offering special discounts to long-term customers
- Increasing communication through newsletters, surveys, social media, etc.
- Creating referral offers that benefit both the current customer and whoever they refer
- Assigning specific employees to manage certain customers
- Soliciting feedback from customers to identify their wants, their needs, and how you can improve
Step #3: Track Your Progress
Once you begin implementing your customer retention program, you must track the results. It’s the only way you can tell if your strategy is working or not. Ideally, you should have a customer retention rate goal that you’re trying to meet. If you see you’re not progressing toward that goal, reassess your strategy. Re-answer the questions mentioned in Step #1 above.
There isn’t a one-size-fits all customer retention plan. It’s going to take some tweaking on your part and a constant commitment to find the perfect customer retention strategy for your business. Don’t give up. A loyal customer base is much more profitable than a stream of one time buyers.