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Customer Retention Strategies: What Is Customer Relationship Management?

Customer Retention Strategies

Are your customers coming, staying or going?

First, a couple of customer-retention statistics, via New North, to get your marketing blood pumping!

Attracting a new customer costs 5 times as much as keeping an existing one. — Lee Resources 2010

Companies that prioritize customer experience generate 60% higher profits. — Customer Thermometer 2012

Now that we have your attention … are your customers coming, staying or going? One of, if not your number-one, marketing focuses should be on learning how to keep your current customers happy so they come back for more. In order to do that, first you need to find out what your customers want. RightNow Technologies says that 73 percent of clients leave because they are dissatisfied with customer service, but the company losing the client believes that only 21 percent leave because of this reason. Interesting stuff, huh? So, what should you do? Read on for key customer relationship management tactics.

Why customers go bye-bye. Nobody’s customer service is too good to leave. It’s much more of a challenge to get a dissatisfied customer back than it is to keep one that is already happy with your services, so your first retention tactic is pretty straightforward: ASK them how you did. Send a follow up customer service email, allowing them to rate and/or comment on your service or product. More often than not, a satisfied customer may not respond to the customer service email; on the other hand, an unhappy customer is more likely to supply feedback. From there, try to make amends with the person who is not thrilled with you — apologize and offer them something as a make-good. That something might be a refund on their purchase or a special percentage off on their next purchase. If it is a matter that needs correcting internally, like one of your employees was rude or the wrong product showed up at the customer’s door or the service was not up to par, make sure to address it immediately to ensure that it won’t happen again. Tell your customer that you have taken his or her words to heart and corrected the problem. This follow up will mean a lot.

How to keep ‘em happy. Once you’ve figured out and corrected the main reasons why people are not returning to your company, turn your eye to your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy. Many companies don’t have one! (If you’re in this boat, don’t fret, it’s not too late to implement a strategy.) CRM is not to be confused with CRM software (we’ll get into that in just a sec). Think of CRM as your overarching customer-retention strategy that includes all aspects of interaction that you have with your customer — from the front desk to e-newsletters. Some questions to ask yourself: What needs to be happening in each of your interactions with the customer to keep them happy? Does your company need a script or not (some have them for things like phone calls and turnkey email correspondence)? What do your VIP customers get? How can you keep your staff enthusiastic about CRM (e.g. incentives)?

The tools to make it happen. CRM software, on the other hand, is a good tool to use within your CRM strategy to help you keep, as well as increase, your customers. You can find software to take care of various customer relationship details. Below, we describe different focuses you might consider for your CRM software:

a. Marketing and social media – These systems track and measure your marketing campaigns through clicks, responses, leads and deals over multiple channels, such as email, search, social media, phone and direct mail. So, marketing CRM software helps you evaluate what your customers like and what they are engaging in to help you better focus your marketing strategy and tactics.

b. Appointments – This software automatically provides appointment times to customers via email or the web, which are then synchronized with your customer service representative or employee’s calendar. It’s a handy tool to keep everyone on track.

c. Small business – A CRM system for small businesses tends to be less involved than enterprise applications (software designed for larger corporations that requires management by a larger team). Yours may simply include a contact manager system, which integrates communications like emails, with documents, jobs and scheduling for individual customer accounts. Basically, because it’s impossible to remember every interaction with clients, this helps you keep all your communications with them about your services in one place, including notes about their likes and dislikes.

d. Customer service – This system can help manage requests made by clients — a question about a product, for example — and direct them to the appropriate contact at the company. It can also be used to hone in on return customers and give them loyalty-program rewards.

e. Targeted – There is CRM software available for specific industries with particular needs, such as lawyers, accountants and non-profit organizations, as well.

For more customer-retention tactics and loyalty program ideas, see our Customer Retention Strategies blog with more tips to keep your customers coming back!

How have you found success retaining customers? Tell us all about it on our 123Print Facebook page, tweet us @123Print or write a note below.

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