How to create customer retention strategies in 2017

In a fast-paced technological world, customer retention is everything.

Businesses success boils down to two things, steady customer acquisition and successful customer retention. Customer retention will certainly cost you less than acquiring new customers, so make sure you hang on to those customers.

According to Groove, there’s a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect and 60-70% chance of a successful sale to an existing customer!

Existing customers are a lifetime of money, growth, and everything nice.

This blog will cover customer retention strategies, no marketing gimmicks but proven strategies with real results. We’ll cover together automated emails part of a drip campaign, triggered emails based on customers behavior, encouraging customers to get more engaged and notifying customers of new features, deals and events.

As Jeff bezos, Founder of Amazon says “Customers are like house visitors and you’re the host, it’s up to you the host to make every customer experience to your site special and better than the previous experience.

Remember to always under-promise and over-deliver

Rule of Thumb

  • Always try to offer value to the customer, give away as much as possible.
  • Don’t talk about your product all the time, make sure you talk about the customer and their problems rather than just blah blah blah on your product.
  • Use Social proof in emails, below are two quotes from a Kissmetrics blog

Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.

Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

14 SaaS strategies to use today

1. Follow up on every interaction with a customer

I’m not referring to a boring follow-up email after helping a customer with a support ticket, I’m talking about going that extra mile, let me give you a real-life example of what I’m talking about. Typical customer support ticket.

Customer: Hi, I have a problem.

Customer support: Certainly how can I help?

Etc …………..

Ending with Customer support: Happy to have helped you have a nice day.

How about adding an extra layer of a follow-up

Customer: Hi, I have a problem.

Customer support: Certainly how can I help?

Etc …………..

Ending with Customer support: Happy to have helped you, have a nice day.

Bonus follow up: Hey, we helped you a few weeks ago. How are things going now? Anything else we can help with?   

Put yourself in the customer’s shoe and tell me what you feel getting such an email, is that customer service or not. Going the extra mile ensuring the customer is satisfied, not just solving his issue but also making sure you care by asking them a while later how things are going. Retention game strong!

2. Avoid sending out unnecessary surveys or customer satisfaction surveys for that matter

Adding on, to the point above Common scenario

Customer: Hi, I have a problem.

Customer support: Certainly how can I help?

Etc …………..

Ending with Customer support: Happy to have helped you have a nice day.

irritating Follow-Up: Hey, please fill out our survey to improve our customer support making it better for you, please fill it in you’re awesome please fill it in.

Customer Ignores the email.

Another Irritating Follow-Up: Hey, we asked you to fill in a survey, you haven’t done so, this is your last chance please do it!

You see here you’ve done more bad than good, you’ve helped them with their issue but you’ve bugged them so much with trying to jam a survey down their throat, they would come to think you care more about your survey rather than the well being of your customer satisfaction.

A survey is a double edged sword, granted it gives you a deep insight into your customer and how they think, but when receiving a survey at the wrong time it might tick some off to the point they might stop using your product or bad mouth it to friends. I would rather use customer engagement data rather than risk pissing off a customer.

You could call a customer up when making your rounds and ask them if they are satisfied with your service and their experience with the product. I’m not saying customer surveys are all evil but using them the right way would take you a long way.

3. UpSell

A SaaS upsell is when you engage with existing customers to sell them more services at the right price to generate more profit. An upsell will deepen your relationship with an existing customer and should not be viewed as a dirty word but you have to approach the pricing of your service at the right price. Plus raises the value of what the customer receives and increases the customer lifetime value (CLV).

4. Develop a consistent interaction schedule

Interact with customers as realistically as you can, this will depend of course on the nature and size of your startup. Don’t just call them about their invoice or to Upsell, call them to say hi asking about their day they might need to vent or just to speak to someone and you would be that person, this will certain help you in losing fewer customers.

5. Provide free training

The more complex your solution is, the more training your user will need to use all its power. Provide users with free webinars or free training courses by coaches for users to understand how to use your product.

By doing so you deepen your relationship with your customer and increasing the value of your service to them. Both helping you retaining these customers for the future.

6. Invite Feedback

Make sure customers can give you feedback instantly, don’t make it very hard on them finding the medium to contact you with regards to a feedback.

Don’t use a boring email or a suggestion box for that people can’t find on your website. Make it easy for them to find your suggestion links and make sure it looks cool and hip as in they are investing in giving feedback to a product they care about, customers investing into giving feedback to you, makes them feel they are part of it making them less likely to leave you.

7. Swiftly response to customer requests

Make sure to have your response rate to customers is less than 24 hours, these customers need your help and deserve your attention. When customers need to speak to you they are already frustrated so don’t make it so hard for them to reach you, add a chat widget at the bottom of your page in which customers can reach you directly.

My only 2 recommendations would beIntercom and Drift

8. Follow back customers on Social Media

When a customer follows you on social media make sure you follow them back, makes them feel good, plus they feel like a valued part of your social circle, similar to people following each other on social who doesn’t like a follow back?

9. Security features

One of the top concerns customers want from a SaaS company is security, a survey by Vormetric was conducted showing that customers top concerns today are security.

Customers want to always hear about how active you are from a security perspective using the right servers, being compliance making sure you’re securely protecting their data. So make sure you’re informing your customers with the security measures you have in place and news ones you roll out, always keep them informed, building confidence in your service.

Don’t over hype your security to the point customers thinks why are they beefing up security so much, might there be a threat? Keep it casual and simple.

10. Automatically upgrade customers for FREE

Imagine your subscribed to Intercom a powerful customer support chat.

Let’s say your on the lite plan which is $49/mo, imagine getting a message from the VP of product saying “Hi, we noticed you utilising your plan a lot and felt you would benefit from the additional features on standard plan ($79/mo) so we went ahead and upgraded your account free of charge, for you to enjoy.

How is that for retention ey? How much would it cost a business to upgrade an account nothing? let’s say a few pennies? But we both know that customer is going to think twice before leaving you now.

11. Don’t make it hard for customers to leave

We can’t retain all our customers, let’s be real with each other here, so don’t make it so hard for the ones that want to leave to do so. Or these customers will be loud as they leave, causing drama on social and bad mouthing you to people on their experience. Making you look bad for no reason.

It’s unfortunate they’ll be leaving but it’s a fact, so don’t make it hard on them to leave and let them be.

12. Conduct exit interviews

Customers leaving you is something that will happen be sure of that, be confident on getting something out of them before leaving you. Some will want to leave without giving anything, other would be open to answering a few questions, a survey, even speaking to you on the phone, on why they’re leaving giving you valuable feedback.

This is a great way to collect data/information on your product, using this information to improve your product recognizing their issues might be common to other customers. Use this to your advantage as customers will be brutally honest as they’re leaving.

I tried conducting exit interviews using Wufoo surveys at a SaaS company I worked in and discovered we had an issue with customers not understanding how to use the product, so we introduced a product tour after the first month of going live with our product tour we decreased our retention rate by 28.67% and increased our activation rate.

13. A surprise thank you

Sending thank you by surprise to your customers comes a long way, imagine you’re sitting at work, bored as hell counting the minutes to leave your desk (we’ve all been there) suddenly you get an email saying “Thank you for being a great customer”. No strings attached upsells, down sell no nothing just a gentle thank you for being a customer.

14. Product Tour

I mentioned this earlier in point 12, on providing product tours to customers. As a Saas business, you’d like to think your software is easy to use with all its functionalities but that might not be the case to your first-time customers.

So why not make the onboarding experience great, with a short product tour for customers to get used to your product, understanding its basic features that would keep them interested in using your service after signing up. I did a product tour using Hopscotch very basic and simple to set up using JSON objective as an input with an API to control rendering the tour display and managing the tour.

Hopscotch is a  framework to make it easy for developers to add product tours to their pages.

Moving on from SaaS strategies, to what sort of emails you should be sending out to customers that have signed up to your service. Retaining customers is a must, as you’ve done most of the grafting to get them to sign up, now you need to convert them to paying customers.

Bonus, 5 Simple emails you should be sending out to your customers

1.      The founder’s welcome email

According to Experian Welcome emails have “ four times the total open rates and five times the click rates” compared to other emails

This is an easy way to make a good first impression to new users, setting the tone on how you operate, greeting them and offering to help them out with anything they need. It’s like boarding a plane, the stewardess helping you out with your seat asking you what would you like to drink, offering you a selection of the newspaper. BTW this special treatment in a plane is for first class, I NEED TO EMPHASIS I have only heard of such treatment I’m an economy class guy myself, sitting in the middle seat adjacent to the toilet lol.

2.      Introduce users to features they haven’t used yet

You should be using such emails to help drive customer activation. Having customers sign up to your site is great, but never getting them to use features you have is a shame and will certainly make you lose customers in the long run. Why not send them an email like the one below explaining to customers how; for this example to create a widget and giving them simple instructions on doing so. Guiding them on very important features that would enable them in becoming active users.

3.      The inactivity email

Below is an example of dropbox’s inactive email campaign it’s so creative and gets you jumping back to them reminding you why you first initially sign up highlighting key features plus using creative imagery.

Sending out such a campaign is used when people sign up and never come back to use your product, becoming inactive users, they might need a few email reminders on why they signed up, giving them that little nudge to come back to your product.

4.      The trial re-activation email

If you spent your hard-earned cash on acquiring users you better be ready to go that extra mile in making them paying customers. On simple trick is when people sign up for a trial period and get an activation email to activate their account but never do you better be ready to send those people a follow-up email telling them to activate, don’t let them slip through the crack by not following up on such a basic email.

They might have missed the email, or got busy and never opened it, so make sure on sending that re-activation email.

5.      The product update email

Product updates emails like the one below generate loads of buzz back to your product from inactive or trial sign ups users. As you listen and access your customers requests adding features they want will certainly get you to get back those users that signed up but didn’t find initially the feature they need this kind of email will get them back to using your product in no time.

That’s all there is for this week’s blog post, try implementing as much of these strategies as you can. I reckon many of you, use some of them already but I hope the ones you’ve not heard of or were on the fence of using, reading this blog would have helped you in making up your mind and going for it. I hope you enjoyed reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing this for you.

What Retention strategies do you implement in your bussiness?

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