Many marketing articles, blogs, apps, other tech-related devices talk “customer retention” but are really talking their true love – “marketing.” They talk about how “marketing drives higher retention” and how relationship development is really “drip marketing.”
I’m not going to debate retention v. marketing because many people think only about sales and marketing, they don’t think in terms of customer service and developing relationships for the long-term.
So for any marketers out there, here’s some customer retention advice on mindset, strategies, key questions from the marketing perspective:
- When considering retention, think of your customer as an individual person – not a group. Communicate with them as an individual, not as a market segment. If you’ve ever had a company for whom you’ve been a long-term customer market to you like you’re a prospect, that company abdicated their relationship with you for the ease of pushing products.
- When developing strategies, focus on the concept of what you need to do to still have this customer in 1-2 years. In other words, what would you need to do – and when would you stage those actions – over the next 1-2 years? Companies who think short-term, often come across as doing things in their best interest, not in terms of what’s best for the customer.
- When communicating with them, first know how they want you to communicate with them (not how you want to communicate with them). I’ve oftentimes received multiple sales telephone calls and just let the machine pickup, never to return their call. However, if they would have e-mailed me in a personal way, I’ll always respond, even if not interested at that time.
- Communicate with them in their preferred frequency of communication. Some people will opt-out of e-mail campaigns coming at them 3-5 times per week (especially since they’re typically just sell-related), but they won’t opt-out if it’s once every 1-2 weeks and/or if there’s a mix of sales and more educational communications.
- View a customer as a supplier of information to you – the information you need to retain and sell them. Don’t think “push” first; think “pull” first – spend more of your research strategy in getting to know them, asking questions and pulling information from them (especially at the start of the relationship) than pushing offers to them.
- Base your decisions on their personal retention drivers; base your strategies on them as individuals. If you know why one customer will stay with you, address it. We conducted research for a client that noted that first-time customers who are likely to renew annual contracts are actually interested in upsell opportunities, but a high percentage of first-time customers are not likely to renew. You can’t do much with that general information, but since we knew which customers had which inclinations, we could recommend to whom to market and to whom to take a service recovery/retention approach.
If you’re a marketer, customer retention is for you – just know through what lens to look to create your marketing strategies.
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