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25 Customer Retention Strategies to Improve CX and Churn


The Team at CallMiner

October 28, 2022

25 customer retention strategies to improve CX and reduce churn
25 customer retention strategies to improve CX and reduce churn

Retaining customers is just as important as acquiring new ones. As businesses grow, the need for a stable customer base does too. Without consistent sales and recurring purchases from valued customers, even the best companies won’t survive.

The key to keeping customers from churning is to provide them with the kind of experiences and results that inspire them to keep making purchases. In fact, a poor customer experience (CX) is the main cause of customer churn. There are many factors that influence CX, from providing omnichannel customer service and showing empathy to listening to what your customers are saying…as well as what they’re not saying.

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Most customers want to feel that the companies they are buying from truly understand them and are working to meet their needs and expectations. Customers who don’t get those positive experiences only have a 9% chance of continuing to do business with a brand. When CX issues for customers persist, it can dramatically decrease customer satisfaction and spell disaster for any company.

Why customer retention matters

Maximizing customer retention not only means creating loyal, repeat customers, it also means maximizing the amount of money customers actually spend with your company. And customer retention is often tied directly to the bottom line. In fact, profitability has been found to increase by 25% when existing customers are retained.

Furthermore, acquiring new customers can be costly. Retaining existing customers is typically the least expensive way to keep revenue up. Plus, your customers are likely to benefit greatly from a retention-based strategy as well. Improving your relationship with your customers is the basis of just about every retention-boosting strategy—customers who can tell that you care about them are simply more likely to stick with you over the long run. By addressing their concerns, improving communication and bettering policies within your organization, you can build out a great retention strategy of your own.

To get a head start at improving customer retention for your business, you can also check out the many strategies and tactics we've curated from some of the best in the business below.

Real-world customer retention strategies

1. Pay attention to emotional factors in the call center. "Emotion is key to retention. While price remains the number one driver of churn, it declined in importance by 8% from 2018. Emotional factors – like loyalty and fair treatment – increased in importance and made up three of the top four reasons for switching brands.

Super-agents shape customer emotions. Nearly 50% of customers had their emotional state change from negative to positive following their last brand interaction; nearly one in five report having their emotional state shift because of poor agent behavior." - Nearly 74% of Consumers Will Switch Providers After a Poor Contact Center Experience, According to New Research, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner

2. Gather intel from customer interactions to guide your efforts. "Synergy used insights gathered at all levels of the consumer interaction to build a world-class retention program, and subsequently used data from the retention program to improve the front-end consumer experience." - Case Study: Customer Retention, Synergy Solutions; Twitter: @callsynergy

3. Give customers exciting and meaningful experiences. “Today’s customer expectations are higher than ever. Research conducted by Salesforce states that 72% of marketers say meeting customer expectations is more difficult than it was before. When asked, shoppers say they want many things: a quick, hassle-free shopping experience, monetary benefits, quality products, etc. But the thing they really crave the most is novelty.

“Even though modern customers are willing to switch brands after a single bad interaction, if you can offer them exciting, meaningful experiences, they will stay with you forever.” - Tamas Oszi, Customer Loyalty Programs: A Definitive Guide With 13 Actionable Steps (2022), Antavo; Twitter: @antavo

4. Getting customers more involved with gamified experiences and rewards can boost retention. "User-generated content, loyalty bonuses, gamification, and rewards for customer referrals are simple customer retention tools that can go a long way towards fostering loyalty." - Sophia Bernazzani, Here’s Why Customer Retention is So Important for ROI, Customer Loyalty, and Growth, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot, @soph_bern

5. Use negative reviews to your advantage. “No one likes to get negative reviews, but not liking them doesn’t mean they’re without value. Negative reviews are your customers indicating why they’d leave you. “To combat churn, start combing through your reviews (whether manually or with a reviews insights tool) to find broader trends.” - Adam Rosenthal, Your Clients Will Jump Ship If You Don’t Start Using Reviews to Improve Customer Retention, Capterra; Twitter: @Capterra

6. Make a great first impression with a great onboarding experience. “First impressions are everything. After the initial excitement of getting the new product or acquiring the new service, most customers will default back to the first experience they had with your brand. If it was positive, they’re much more likely to stick around. A good onboarding process can set you up for success for years to come. It should be personalized (as much as possible), hands-on, and focus on removing as much friction as possible.” - 4 simple strategies for improving customer retention, Delighted by Qualtrics; Twitter: @delighted

7. Showing appreciation at the right time can be a great boon to your retention rate. "There are several times for businesses to say thank you to their current customers:

8. Personalize interactions. "Although most people dislike being inundated with marketing messages, they actually appreciate content that’s personalized. The way most marketing goes, customers feel like they’re just another person in the crowd. But when you personalize your email, adverts, and other communication strategies, you make customers feel like they’re being distinguished. And it creates the sense that you have real value to offer.” - Syed Balkhi, How to Retain Customers with Personalization Strategies, CustomerThink; Twitter: @customerthink

9. Making your appreciation public works. "There’s a reason why Shopify makes it so easy to add social media elements to your store: When customers compliment your store on social, thank them for the kind words and then share their love with the rest of your followers this is a great customer retention strategy. [...] Before you start creating a customer retention plan, you need to know and understand your current customer retention rate." - 10 Best Customer Retention Strategies for 2022, Oberlo; Twitter: @OberloApp

10. Aiming to please your customers and listening to what they want is extremely effective. "Keeping your current customers happy, engaged and gathering their feedback on a regular basis will allow you to improve your customer's experience, lower customer acquisition costs and improve your ROI. [...] Often in business, we get so caught up in the need and hunt for new customers that it can be easy to overlook the sales opportunities staring us right in the face, retaining existing customers." - Geordie Roberts, What is Customer Retention? 7 Strategies to Keep Customers, Neighbourhood; Twitter: @nbhaustralia

11. Social commerce techniques can help improve brand loyalty. "With intense competition from companies to grab a significant piece in the market share and their product offerings becoming less differentiated with products trying to solve multiple correlated needs under single applications for their users, the customers are becoming less loyal over the years with the cost of acquiring new customers going up each year significantly. [...] While the traditional e-commerce model will continue to flourish, social commerce is finding its fanbase amongst both sellers and buyers with several factors contributing to this growth including trust, engagement, lower customer acquisition costs, familiarity, and more." - Ananya Nandan, Driving Retention: Case Study with Meesho by Ananya Nandan Products, Medium

12. Keeping in touch through after-sale service is essential. "If you are proactive in providing after-sale service (staying in touch with your clients) you would not only have a better chance of retaining your clients for a long time but also getting additional business through their reference." - Marian Esanu, as quoted in Keeping Customers: 13 Client Retention Strategies That Work, Forbes; Twitter: @Forbes, @marianvesanu

13. Pay careful attention to service renewal practices to keep customers from abandoning your business. "The actions you take to secure the service renewal are fundamental to success. Great programs and great relationships can be undermined by simple breakdowns in renewal procedures. The costliest process breakdowns include not asking for the renewal or asking the wrong person." – Tom Sweeney, Retention Strategies to Keep the Customers You Have, ServiceXRG; Twitter: @ServiceXRG

14. Go mobile to meet customers where they are and keep them interested. "The majority of people access the internet on their mobile devices. Being mobile-friendly means optimizing your website for use on mobile devices and customizing the mobile experience.

“You can also develop an app, which some people prefer to use over getting on a website. Plus, it helps to keep your company front and center every time they look at their phone." - 9 Strategies for Improving Customer Retention, Handwrytten; Twitter: @Handwrytten

15. Identifying moments when customers are being courted by other companies can help your team take action and keep them from jumping ship. "By identifying when Blue Waters customers were most vulnerable to third-party vendors, Vital was able to create an automated campaign geared toward retention that also made sense in the context of Blue Waters other marketing efforts. [...] With the rise of email marketing, it became easier for competitors to go after Blue Waters customers directly, and to send them regular offers for refinancing options, lower rates, and other mortgage and banking services. [...] Blue Waters experts were able to help Vital identify both when customers would most want to hear from the company and what milestones would be significant to them in the mortgage process." - Customer Retention Through Automation: A Case Study, Mailchimp; Twitter: @Mailchimp

Customer retention tactics to try

16. Listen to complaints and act on them quickly. "While customer loyalty and customer retention aren't synonymous, the two do overlap: loyal customers, ones with an emotional attachment to your brand, are much less likely to churn. [...] Customer complaints give you a literal, actionable way to convince a customer (and perhaps a whole bunch of customers, since for every one vocal customer, sixteen have remained silent) to stay." - Lola Barbier,10 Customer Retention Techniques Worth Your Time Effort, Aircall; Twitter: @aircall

17. Appointing customer relationship success managers and creating helpful resources for your customers goes a long way towards improving retention. "All businesses need customer retention techniques to increase customer loyalty. [...] Most common are dedicated customer portals (featuring valuable how-to content and fast track ordering, for example) and customer relationship success managers." - Customer Retention Techniques Customer Retention Explained, Customer Thermometer; Twitter: @custthermometer

18. Try upselling to keep customers excited about what you offer. "Upselling and cross-selling are fantastic ways to bring customers back to your business. Customer retention often relies on your ability to offer an even more fantastic opportunity than the one that got those customers to convert in the first place." - What is Customer Retention, Importance, Examples Techniques, Crazy Egg; Twitter: @CrazyEgg

19. Retention automation can make keeping track of customers who are on the fence much less time-consuming. "Specific data should be used for specific purposes, and retention automation is quite specific so it should be able to serve itself. Therefore there are 2 ways a good retention automation platform should help you succeed in this fundamental part: first, it defines a simplified data model to include only what is needed, not to cripple the entire project. Second, it collects as much as possible automatically for you so you don’t need to bother with it." - Omer Sharon,7 Customer retention techniques to increase your ROI, Smart Insights; Twitter: @SmartInsights

20. White-glove service can prove effective in certain industries. "Make every customer feel like a VIP customer (Four Seasons) Luxury hotels are known for their heritage of high-touch, exclusive customer service." - Sarah Olson, What is customer retention? Importance, metrics strategies, Zendesk; Twitter: @Zendesk, @seolson5

21. Leveraging email, social and other digital marketing strategies keeps your company on customers' minds. "Even when your clients don't seem to pay attention to your business, ensure that your company stays top-of-mind by leveraging proven digital marketing strategies, like email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing and more. [...] While traditional marketing techniques often fixate on earning the attention of new shoppers and growing your number of clients, todays marketing trends prove that there is an immense amount of untapped value in keeping current clients satisfied." - Customer Retention Marketing: 7 Revolutionary Strategies, WebFX; Twitter: @webfx

22. Do not neglect email marketing as a powerful tool to reduce customer churn. "If purchase frequency is the backbone of customer retention, email marketing is the backbone of customer engagement and your retention toolkit." - Alex McEachern, What is Customer Retention? 5 Strategies to Keep Customers, Shopify; Twitter: @Shopify

23. Leverage storytelling to connect with your customers and keep them around for more. "While the type of content you create is an important customer retention technique, the way in which you talk about your brand is an important aspect too and this is where storytelling comes into the fray. By directly connecting the work that you do with the problems your customers face in their lives, you are ensuring that they realize and remember the value you bring to the table." – Shaunak Wanikar,12 Awesome Customer Retention Techniques for Your Business, CallHub; Twitter: @CallHub

24. Use a communication calendar to keep customer interactions on track. "A communication calendar is a “cheat sheet” of what your public messages are. Plus, it also outlines where and when you’ll be delivering these messages. Your communication calendar must be part of your marketing approach because it tells your team what you should be talking about and where you need to talk about it at a particular time when your audience is watching." – Karen Faith, Customer Retention: 8 Simple Techniques to Keep Customers for a Lifetime - Super Scaling, Super Scaling

25. Focus on keeping in touch and exceeding expectations. "Understanding and exceeding your clients' expectations, communicating with them, and showing your appreciation are a few great strategies for any business which is looking to improve their loyal customer base." - Gurpreet Singh, What is Customer Retention - Techniques and Strategies for Creatives, Pixpa; Twitter: @Pixpa

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