16 Cutting-Edge Customer Retention Strategies For 2020

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16 Cutting-Edge Customer Retention Strategies For 2020

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Written by Houston
March 3, 2020
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Having unnecessarily high churn rates that you’d love to improve? I have prepared 16 cutting-edge, research-backed customer retention strategies for 2020. You should definitely try these out! 

Increasing your customer retention rates is an investment that is always worthwhile. 

Customers are what shapes the success of your business. In fact, according to CallMiner, U.S. companies lose as much as $136.8 billion per year, due to customer switching that is completely avoidable. 

With an ever-evolving digital marketing space, direct responses and inbound tactics are easier than ever. 

However, with every business doing the same thing, you have a double-edged sword in your hands. 

On one hand, customers expect that you have the same CRM systems in place as your competitors. Emails, Social Media support, and telemarketing support are a must. 

On the other edge of the sword, poorly implemented tactics can result in the loss of your clients. 

So, how do you go about increasing your client retention rates? 🤷‍♂️ 

It’s easy and simple. And I'm to show you just how to do it. 

But first, what is all the fuss about? 

Table of Contents

Understand that CRM is a Founding Part of the Profit Equation (Calculate your LTVs)

How do you decide how much to invest in customer retention?

The 16 MOST Cutting-Edge Customer Retention Strategies for 2020

Test Your Customer Response Management Process

Address the Most Common CRM Issues by Thinking Outside of the Box

Think Personal Instead of Global

Build Out a Gamification System that Rewards LTV

Use Loyalty Program to Reward your Most Active Customer

Improve your Customer Retention with an Engaging Company Mission

Implement Direct Digital Response Tactics on Social Media

Focus on the Quality of your Customer Response

Chatbots are the future. Get on the Trend Sooner, Rather than Later.

Actively Communicate with your Customers

Position Yourself as the "Customer Whisperer" in your Industry

Build out Experiences to Engage Customers with your Brand Values

Leverage Social, Authority and Scientific Proof

Actively Improve the Relationship with your Customers

Ensure that your Employees are Active Brand Advocates

Be Proactive in the Customer Perception of your Product Pricing

Conclusion

Understand that CRM is a Founding Part of the Profit Equation (Calculate your LTVs) 

I’ve seen a lot of business owners stumble upon CRM tactics after the fact

In building a strategy, they consider the cost of the product, calculate the profit margins, jump on a marketing tactic and wait. 

Yet, in about a year or two, they wonder WHY isn’t their business successful. 

It was boasting profits in the beginning, so what’s changed? 

Well, you’ve considered ONLY your customer acquisition costs. Have you thought about the experience they have ONCE they purchase? 

According to research posted in Harvard Business Review increasing your customer retention rates by JUST 5% can result in an overall increase in the profits of your business anywhere from 25% to 95%. 

The reason? 

Client retention isn’t simply an extension of their subscription service or another purchase. It’s an increase over the course of the lifetime period of your customer. 

To understand the impact client retention has on your business, you must first make sure that your KPIs and profit calculations are based on the value a customer has for your business. 

This will help you make better investment decisions for your business, rather than just focusing on your customer retention score. 

How Starbucks uses LTV to Be Profitable even in Unstable Market Conditions 

As estimated in a case study by KISSMetrics, the average lifetime value of a Starbucks customer is $14,099. 

Having this number, Starbucks is easily able to calculate how much they would be able to invest in their customer acquisition and customer retention strategies. 

Customer Retention Study Starbucks

While speculative, a huge part of the reason why the LTV of a customer of Starbucks is so high, despite their relatively low-profit margins per product is the customer satisfaction rates they have. (62% Very Satisfied, 27% Satisfied and 11% Not Satisfied) 

Despite the shaky economy in the first part of the 2010s, Starbucks continued to successfully open new stores. The reason for their confidence? 

Knowing their KPIs and making sound business decisions, despite overall market conditions. 

How do you decide how much to invest in customer retention? 

Go back to your KPIs and add these numbers. Start building your business analysis and profitability analysis based on your LTV to CAC ratio value instead of simple profit margins. 

  1. Average Customer Lifetime - The average time a customer spends with your brand 
  2. Average Customer Value - The average value a customer brings to your business for a period of time 
  3. Lifetime Value - The average value a customer brings to your business for their lifetime with your brand 
  4. Customer Acquisition Cost - The average spend your business makes to acquire a new customer 
  5. Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost ratio - The LTV to CAC value 

Analyze Where to Spend More 

Step #1: Analyze your CAC based on Industry Averages ✔

Locate and find research in your industry that shows whether your CAC is within the boundaries of normal. DemandJump is a great resource. 

If it’s lower, that’s great! If it’s higher, it means that you should optimize your customer acquisition process. 

Step #2: Check your CAC to LTV Ratio ✔

It’s universally accepted that 3.1 to 1 is a good CAC to LTV Ratio for a business. 

If your acquisition costs are normal or within the target, but your ratio is too low, it means that you should spend more and optimize your customer retention process. 

If it’s too high, then a good rule of thumb is that you should invest both in your customer acquisition process, but also your customer retention process as well. 

The 16 MOST Cutting-Edge Customer Retention Strategies for 2020 

Now that you understand the importance of customer retention and response management, let’s talk about the tactics you can use to improve them. 

Here are the top 16 cutting-edge customer retention strategies for 2020, alongside tips on how to implement them in your existing business. 

TEST YOUR CUSTOMER RESPONSE MANAGEMENT PROCESS 

According to Forrester, As much as 69% of U.S. Customers shop more with retailers that offer great customer service both offline and online. 

And as much as 71% of customers end their relationship with a business because of poor customer service

This means only one thing -- to increase your customer retention, you should make sure that your customer response management process goes above and beyond the expectations. 

How to achieve it? 

The best way to test your CRM system? 

EMPLOY CRM TESTING AGENTS OR DO IT YOURSELF 

Customer Retention Strategy Test Email Example
Make sure that your request appears legit 

To understand all the points of improvement that can be made in your CRM process, you should ensure that the test is completed in a proper manner. 

  1. Ensure that the “fake” client has an account with your service/business and that they seem like a real existing customer 
  2. Build out testing scenarios for common issues with CRM based on your particular service/product 
  3. Build out a few test scenarios for edge cases 
  4. Have a “test” score sheet and record your experience 
  5. Implement the test presenting yourself as the client 
  6. Analyze the key points of improvement and build out a plan for action 

ADDRESS THE MOST COMMON CRM ISSUES BY THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX 

Is there a recurring or common issue customers are having with your business? 

Start thinking outside the box. 📦 

customer retention, 16 Cutting-Edge Customer Retention Strategies For 2020

Vodafone UK is a great example of how this can be done. A few years ago, they implemented an interactive graphical map that showed the real-time status of their network. 

The results? (As shared by eConsultancy

  • 25% reduction in network-related topics posted on the forum 
  • 66% reduction in views of network-related forum topics 
  • 9% reduction in network-related complaints 
  • 54% reduction in escalated queries requiring a customer call back 
  • 13% improvement in network-related T-NPS 
  • 90% improvement in time to load faults online for customer viewing

How to achieve it? 

To improve your client retention, start by checking the most common complaints existing customers have about your business. 

These can be a range of different issues. 

  • Service Interruption 
  • Features 
  • Pricing 

Address the most common ones by thinking outside the box. 

  • Do people want more features? - Share your product roadmap with your customer base in an active manner. This will help them be more understanding while increasing intimacy with them. 
  • Are they worried about the price? - Run a campaign aimed at educating your customers about your price choices. 

The options are endless and only bound by your imagination. 

THINK PERSONAL INSTEAD OF GLOBAL 

Personalization is key. In fact, 71% of shoppers are found to experience frustrations, if their customer experience is not personalized

According to research from Deloitte, 44% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand again, if their experience is personalized. 

Trust in the brand is what builds customer loyalty and in turn, the key factor to increasing your customer retention. 

How to achieve it? 

Regardless of whether your marketing strategy is inbound or outbound, make sure to employ all best practices to make the experience of your customers more personal. 

  • Include the Customer’s Name (and Face) Where it matters - Sending emails? Address the customer by name. Sending postcards? Why not include a photo of them, if you have one. 
  • Separate your Buyer’s Persona into a few actionable groups - You should already be addressing the issues of your customers that your product/service solves. To go more personal, separate your buyer’s persona into a few actionable groups. 

Want to Have a Personalized Email Marketing Strategy? 

Including the “Name” tag in a subject line isn’t the best, but it’s a good way to start. 

Make sure to personalize all portions of your email marketing experience. Feel free to book a free consultation for our AWESOME new-age email marketing service. 😉

BUILD OUT A GAMIFICATION SYSTEM THAT REWARDS LTV 

Gamification is a great way to increase customer retention while improving the customer engagement with various other aspects of your business. 

Duolingo Gamification for Client Retention Tactic

It’s widely used to empower both customers and employees. And in fact, according to ProgressiveGrocer, 87% of retailers will use gamification strategies in their operations in the next five years. 

Make sure you are ahead of the trend. 

How to achieve it? 

A gamification system can be tricky to implement and may require the hiring of a firm, experts or developers to properly implement in your business. 

However, here’s how to start building a gamification system. 

  1. Identify Key Points of Your Customer Retention Journey - Map out your customer retention journey. What does it look like? What are the key points of that journey?

    The customer retention journey should include the journey of your customer after a purchase and the journey of a returning customer.
  2. Brainstorm ways to track and showcase “progress” to users for each of those points - These can be rewards, badges or anything that would provide value to your customer, educate them on your branding and keep them coming back. 

USE LOYALTY PROGRAM TO REWARD YOUR MOST ACTIVE CUSTOMERS 

Starting out as a gamification tactic, loyalty programs have transformed into a beast of their own.

customer retention, 16 Cutting-Edge Customer Retention Strategies For 2020

26% of customers find brand loyalty programs and rewards to be a primary factor in their decision to continue their service with a company. 

How to achieve it? 

Antavo Loyalty Program Process Example

This step-by-step guide from Antavo would be the perfect place to start. 

  • Build out your Loyalty program concept - What are your business goals and how would they relate to your loyalty program? 
  • Design and Implement - Investigate how-tos, customer behavior and UX trends to achieve the best results. 
  • Launch and Promote - Launch your loyalty program and promote it to your customers. 
  • Improve and Analyze - A/B test different portions of the program, improve and analyze. 

Having trouble with cold leads? Check out my tips on how to warm up cold leads.

IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER RETENTION WITH AN ENGAGING COMPANY MISSION 

People are becoming actively engaged with companies that reflect their personal values and ethics. 

In fact, hope, vision and cultural fit shape 11.5% of the predicted reasoning behind a customer becoming an active promoter of your business. 

And that’s only in the IT B2B sector! 

AirBnb Mission Statement
AirBnB is a great example of a great company mission in practice -- BELONG ANYWHERE (WELCOME HOME)!

Sufficit to say, having and actively promoting your company mission is not only a must, but can increase your customer retention and net promoter score at the same time. 

How to you achieve it?

  1. Do an Active Survey of Employees, People Close to the Business and Outside Thought Leaders - Interview people on what they think about the business values. Check their perception on the business and ask how the business fits the broader industry. 
  2. Do Research on your Buyer’s Persona - What values do they promote? Which ones are they against? 
  3. Create a Draft and Run it with a Customer Focus Group - Employ a focus group of active customers, returning customers, potential customers, people who are interested in the business and people who won’t have an interest in the business. 
  4. Improve the Draft Based on Feedback, Publish and Promote - Promote your company mission on a smaller scale first. Receive feedback, improve and promote again. 
  5. Implement your Company Mission Throughout the Buyer’s Journey - Make sure to use it in ads, in follow-up campaigns and wherever else you think possible. 

Check out my story on how I've built a multi-million dollar business.

IMPLEMENT DIRECT DIGITAL RESPONSE TACTICS ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Having a way for customers to reach out to you directly can have a vast impact on your business. 

In fact, 80% of customers expect brands to respond to their inquiries on social media. 

Ensure that you have a human-driven system in place that allows people to contact your business and resolve issues directly on Social Media. 

How to achieve it? 

Example of Instagram Messaging for Customer Engagement

This great DM guide for Instagram by Social Media examiner would be a good place to start. 

To ensure proper response on social media inquiries from customers 

  1. Determine the tone and voice of your replies - Make sure to build out your DM voice based on your buyer’s persona. 
  2. Create your Company DM Workflow - If you outsource your CRM, contact your firm for DM replies. Both Social Media (SM) and CRM firms are starting to offer SM replies as a service.
    If you don’t make sure to give the task of SM replies to active team members and make sure to cover the active hours of your business both during the week, but also during the weekend. 
  3. Set a Time Limit for your Replies - Make sure to respond in the span of 6-10 hours after an inquiry. The sooner, the better. 
  4. Curate ready-to-go messages - Common brand statements, lines and responses should be available to improve your reply times. However, make sure to keep the resulting message personal. 
  5. Use Common SM Reply Tactics to Increase Intimacy - People are used to sending and receiving GIFs, Stickers and Emojis on SM. Based on your brand voice and determined tone, make sure to also include the proper engagement drivers in your replies. 

Make sure that you also have all the right social media growth hacking tools in place!

FOCUS ON THE QUALITY OF YOUR CUSTOMER RESPONSE 

According to research from Gallup, customers are far more emotionally engaged with a brand depending on the quality of customer engagement. 

Speed is also a factor, but it’s far less important than the quality of the response. 

Salesforce Customer Experience Research Statistic

Your brand or a business doesn’t need to have all tactics set in place, but the ones you have implemented, should be focused on driving a quality-first experience. 

How to achieve it? 

  1. Inspect all aspects of your CRM, both external and internal - The best way to do so is to test your CRM process. I've explained how to do so a few paragraphs above. 
  2. Identify Points of Fault/Points of Improvement - Which aspects of your CRM process can you improve? 
  3. Ask your customers for direct feedback - Actively engage with a portion of your customers that went through your CRM experience, interview them and provide value back to ensure higher number of responses.  

Have a B2B business? Create an outbound B2B Sales pipeline!

CHATBOTS ARE THE FUTURE. GET ON THE TREND SOONER, RATHER THAN LATER 

According to Uberall, about 80% of customers who have engaged with a chatbot describe it as an overall positive experience. 

In addition, according to Mobile Marketer, 40% of Millenials use chatbots on a daily basis. 

In fact, all stats lead to the fact that chatbots are the future. 🤯 

However, a chatbot should only be a part of your CRM base, as 86% of customers prefer interacting with humans rather than chatbots

How to achieve it? 

To install a chatbot to your website: 

  1. Select a tool to use and create your chatbot (I recommend SmallBot and Gupshup
  2. Use the settings within the tool you’ve set to build our your automatic responses and inquiry detection 
  3. Follow the instructions provided by the chatbot of your choice to copy-paste or integrate the chatbot within your website 

ACTIVELY COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS 

Surveys are a great way to interact with your customer while receiving direct feedback on how to improve your business. 

In fact, 79% of marketers agree that using interactive content in your strategy is a successful way to retain the attention of your customer. 

Nike customer retention survey

Even the biggest brands, like Nike, understand and actively use the power of surveys in a business. 

How to achieve it? 

  1. Choose the right stage of the customer retention journey for your quiz (it’s usually put near the end) 
  2. Make sure that your survey or quiz is 8 to 12 questions long  
  3. Tailor your quiz around the interests of your buyer’s persona 
  4. Make sure to make the customer feel valued, while continuously educating them on all aspects of your brand 
  5. Make sure to tailor your questions in a manner to improve the relationship with your customer 

POSITION YOURSELF AS THE “CUSTOMER WHISPERER” IN YOUR INDUSTRY 

People love supporting the David in a David vs. Goliath battle. Positioning your brand as “the one that is aware” and “the one that understands the struggle” can have a positive impact on your business. 

AMD Lisa Su

AMD is a great example of this in the technology sector. 

Having lower performance processors than their main competitor Intel, they’ve launched their “Ryzen” brand addressing the main issues customers had with their competitor (primarily price, care and awareness). 

This lead to AMD growing their computing and graphics side of the business with as much as 69% on the year. 

Remember the Mac vs. PC ad campaign. Same thing! 

How to achieve it? 

  1. Have an active list of your main competitors that have the same customer base 
  2. Inspect the marketing campaigns and public customer response of your competitor 
  3. Find the main issues customers have with your competitors 
  4. Inspect your business to improve on those issues 
  5. Build a marketing message and a brand strategy to position yourself as the brand who understands, deals with and has an active and aware approach towards those pains 
  6. Position the campaign as “your business” vs. “your direct competitors” but make sure to follow all advertising and marketing practices when you do 

BUILD OUT EXPERIENCES TO ENGAGE CUSTOMERS WITH YOUR BRAND VALUES 

Your customer experience should extend way beyond the normal customer journey. 

Engaging your customer by actively building out experiences with the sole purpose of customer advocacy is a great way to improve your customer retention scores. 

Adobe SUMMIT sneaks Customer Experience Example

A great example of this is ADOBE and their highly interactive experience event, the Adobe Summit. In 2018, the brand engaged popular celebrities to talk alongside their CEOs about the company’s future products, 

The result: 800,000 live viewers. 💥 

How to achieve it? 

  1. Consider Your Resource Base - Which portions of your team have the most free time? Developers? Marketers? 
  2. Brainstorm with your Team - Pitch these experiences as passion projects related to your main business activity 
  3. Work with your Project Manager to Build a Timeline - Even though a passion project, these experiences should still follow a proper timeline. 
  4. Implement Tactics for Customer Interaction - Track the customer experience and communicate with them to review and analyze the value of this experience to your overall business. 

LEVERAGE SOCIAL, AUTHORITY AND SCIENTIFIC PROOF 

There’s a great blog by Photoslurp explaining how Fashion brands are using social proof to improve their customer retention. 

Example of customer engagement tacitcs on Instagram

The best part? ✨

These tactics can work for ANY type of business. ❗❗❗

How to achieve it? 

Use the power of User generated content for Social Proof. 

  1. Build out a User Generated Content campaign to entice your existing customers 
  2. Use the User Generated Content to improve your existing social proof campaign 

Educate your customers to build advocacy 

  1. Contact industry insiders, specialists, influencers or related scientists and build a campaign around authority and scientific proof 
  2. Educate existing customers with a campaign on why the product is good/how to best use the product 

And don't forget to actively improve your Instagram following, if you already haven't!

ACTIVELY IMPROVE THE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS 

Customer intimacy is actively linked to customer loyalty

A meta-analysis study from CoBloom further shows that the relationship with your customer is a vital part of improving your churn rates, especially if your business is subscription-centric. 

Kayako Example of Customer Relationship Tactics

Here are a few tactics you can use to improve your customer relationship while working on increasing your client retention scores. 

How to achieve it? 

  1. Remind your customers that they are valued throughout their journey 
  2. Capitalize on Social Proof and write up White Papers/Case Studies about your customers 
  3. Hold online conferences or webinars based on the needs of your customers 
  4. Have a Customer Education Program Set in Place 
  5. Offer product certifications/awards related to your training products to turn customers into advocates 
  6. Build a Customer Advocacy Group 

All of the above can help your company increase its intimacy with its customers. 

ENSURE THAT YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE ACTIVE BRAND ADVOCATES 

Salesforce Research Brand Advocates Employees Statistics Example

In a recent study from Salesforce Research, 80% of customers are more loyal to companies with good ethics. 

Today, with the adoption of Social Media platforms, key employees of a business are often tracked, followed and judged by their digital actions. 

You don’t have to dig deep to find more than a few examples of brands firing people, because of viral SM antics. 

The reason? It can have a negative impact on the brand sales. 

How to achieve it? 

  1. Build out an SM use policy - But make sure that you actively include your employees in the process. 
  2. Educate your Employees on the impact of SM - Make sure to promote good and ethical choices  
  3. Promote Brand Advocacy on SM - Implement employee rewards, based on their brand advocacy actions 
  4. Help them Build Out a Better SM Presence - Invest in the SM presence of your employees 

BE PROACTIVE IN THE CUSTOMER PERCEPTION OF YOUR PRODUCT PRICING 

The intuitive marketer will tell you that the perception a customer has on your price can have a great impact on their purchasing decisions. 

Amazon Pricing Scheme

And as research shows, that’s completely true! 

There are multiple ways to help you achieve this. Amazon for example often uses a “discount” tactic to improve the price perception. 

You can use the same tactics in your client retention strategy.  

How to achieve it? 

  1. Offer Discounts/Special Offers to return customers and to win back your existing clients. 
  2. Educate on your Pricing Policy to help customers learn the value and hard work that goes into your product. 
  3. Compare Your Price to Your Competitors and show why the product is worth it. 
  4. Build Advocacy around your Profitability to help the customers be enticed by your success. This is best done with an active mission. 
  5. Add Additional Benefits to your Product like planting a tree or a $1 donation to a charity your customers care about. This is especially effective if it's in line with your company mission. 

CONCLUSION

Customer retention is a wild beast to tame. 

However, by doing so you are set to increase your profitability by up to 75%

The best part? Everyone invests in Customer Acquisition, not knowing that Customer Retention should be where the money goes! 😜 

Have any other customer retention tactics you’d like to share with me? Ping me on LinkedIn!  

Featured Image by Fauxels on Pexels.com
Other Image Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15]

About the Author

The name’s Houston Golden. I’m the Founder & CEO of BAMF ― a company I’ve grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $4M in revenue over a span of 3 years.
How did I do it? Well, it’s quite simple, really. I’ve helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win). I tell you how on this blog.
Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.

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