Did you know it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep current ones? Or that reducing churn by 5% can increase profits 25-135%. That’s a lot of coin. Here’s what you need to know to turn customer attrition into customer loyalty.
Once someone buys from you, how much attention do you pay them?
To create on-going customer loyalty, rather than fleeting satisfaction, the answer had better be “a lot.”
Neglected, annoyed or unhappy customers will likely not purchase from your company again, leaving you always hunting for new customers (which are more expensive to sell to). But thanks to the Internet, you also have social proof to contend with. When a customer is unhappy, they will likely spread the word via social media or negative reviews.
Customer loyalty pays off in more than dollars. Working with existing customers is easier. And loyal customers will do some of your marketing for you in the form of referrals and positive online reviews.
So how do you know when your customers are or will be unhappy, disengaged or otherwise dissatisfied? These seven signs will point the way.
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1. Customer Communication Patterns Have Changed
Newsletter and marketing email open rates have dropped significantly. The growth in your number of Twitter followers has slowed to a crawl. The click-rate for your digital ads has dropped off. All of these are signs that customers are disengaging from your brand.
Ask them what’s going on. You should be gathering customer feedback on every step of the customer journey, from marketing to post-sales support – so if you’re not, start now. Then make sure to include survey questions that gauge where your customers are at right now. Have they stopped using a particular social media platform? Is their business growing so quickly they no longer have time to open marketing emails?
Don’t just guess at what your customers are going through – ask them about it.
2. You’ve Stopped Rewarding Loyalty
It’s a common (and smart) practice to offer new customers some kind of incentive to buy from your company. But go too far with this and you risk annoying your existing customers – and existing customers are by far the most valuable to your bottom line. Acquiring new customers costs five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers.
Make sure you have a loyalty rewards program in place right alongside your new-customer rewards program. When your current customers feel valued, they will repay you with customer loyalty.
3. Your Company Has Experienced Massive Turnover
You might not think the inner workings of your company or organization have much of an impact on your company’s success because customers buy from you because they like your products or services. This is a dangerous mode of thinking. Customers also remain loyal to your brand because they like your people.
When customers are accustomed to engaging with particular employees, it can hurt the customer experience when they are suddenly dealing with new people. When at all possible, have a transition plan in place that includes introducing customers to their new employee contacts.
4. You’re Making Blind Offers
Selling to existing customers is smart business, but do so thoughtfully. Blindly throwing your products and services at them won’t get you very far.
Survey your customers regularly and frequently to get a real-time understanding of their needs so you can make targeted offers to them. Gathering customer feedback and incorporating the results into your decision-making will help promote satisfaction, engagement and loyalty over time.
5. Problem Resolution is a Problem
How is your company’s customer service working for your customers? If you’re not sure, ask them. It doesn’t matter much if your customers like your products and services if they are having a terrible experience with your customer service. And likely, they’re telling all their friends about it as well.
Engage your customer service team to make sure customers’ needs are getting taken care of promptly, efficiently and with a positive attitude. Gather employee feedback as well to find out where there may be gaps in your processes.
6. What Customers Want is NOT What They’re Getting
Find out what drives your customers. If you are touting low prices, but your customers are primarily concerned with service, you’re not meeting your customers where they live. What worked yesterday might not work today because customers’ lives, and therefore needs, change over time.
Gather real-time customer insights to make sure your offerings and your marketing align with what your customers are actually looking for.
7. Your Employees Have Disengaged
Your employees’ happiness has a direct correlation to customer satisfaction. Ensure your employees are engaged and committed to making improvements by taking their pulse through regular employee surveys, then addressing any negative trends you see in the data. The problem might merely be a training issue that can be solved by offering a class to employees, or the problem might be bigger than that, like misalignment between teams. You won’t know where to begin if you don’t get that employee feedback, however.
Customer attrition and loyalty don’t have to be left to chance. If you look for the warning signs outlined above, you will prevent churn and massively enhance customer stickiness and loyalty.