Repeat customers are the lifeblood of your business. According to a study by Adobe, returning customers make up just 8% of a typical company’s website traffic, but they account for a whopping 40% of revenue. They also have conversion rates up to nine times higher than first-time customers.
It makes sense, then, to invest heavily in a marketing strategy that will help you retain as many customers as possible. In the digital age, the be-all, end-all factor in customer retention is the customer experience.
How, then, can contact centers provide an excellent experience in a marketplace that grows more crowded by the day? It comes down to knowing your customer and using that knowledge to differentiate yourself at every touchpoint.
Here are five ways to use your CRM as an invaluable tool for customer retention.
How To Retain Customers in a Digital World
1. Use Integrated Customer Profiles to Build Rich Data Sets
If you had a brick-and-mortar store—and perhaps you do—you’d know the names of your best customers and greet them when they walked in the door. For some reason, though, many companies fail to translate this experience into a digital context, when in fact it should be even easier than remembering the names and faces of in-store customers.
By using a CRM that integrates all of your various data sources—your website, webchat, email, SMS, and even social media channels and ticketing queues—you build rich, multi-dimensional profiles of every individual customer. Then, you can use these profiles to create a personalized experience that’s tailored to the customer.
If you know, for example, that Customer A typically browses your website on their smartphone and has a high affinity for the personal loan section of your site, you might use that data to trigger a webchat module offering them a consultation with a personal finance expert in exchange for completing a survey about your customer service. They get elevated service, which builds value, and you gain additional insights you can use to further strengthen your customer experience and maybe even sell that loan.
2. Add Value Based on the Customer’s Needs
The companies that excel at customer retention are constantly looking for ways to add value. But adding value doesn’t look the same from one customer to the next.
Use the data in your CRM to analyze your customers’ needs—their most-used features, their biggest pain points, their most frequent support inquiries, and so on—and put this intel to work to create value-add opportunities specific to the customer.
Let’s say a customer has inquired several times about a feature you haven’t previously offered. When the feature becomes available, you might use the data in their customer profile to prompt one of your agents to offer a free trial or complimentary upgrade to the new service during their next customer service interaction. These personalized gestures may be small on their own, but when added together they cement strong and long-lasting customer relationships.
3. Use Segmenting to Create Diverse Customer Personas
The larger your customer base grows, the more challenging it becomes to provide truly personalized experiences to every individual customer. That’s where customer personas come in.
A customer persona is a fictional character that represents a category of your customers. Each persona, or category, is defined by that customer group’s key characteristics. This might include demographic information, referral source, industry, vertical, job title, or any other piece of customer data that’s relevant to your particular business and makes one audience group different from the next.
Use your customer personas—most financial service companies have anywhere from two to seven—to guide your customer retention efforts. Once you’ve defined what makes each group tick, it’s easy to set up automations, write messaging, and create rules that cater to that group’s preferences and needs.
4. Keep the Conversation Going Between Channels
Digital channels have transformed the way customers prefer to interact with companies, with most customers now accustomed to engaging with service agents on multiple channels. Though many companies cater to this preference by providing multiple channels to communicate with them, few really excel at mastering the nuances of each channel.
Research from McKinsey on omnichannel experiences found that rather than focus on optimizing individual channels, like perfecting webchat, companies would achieve greater customer satisfaction by focusing on the sum of their channels’ parts. In other words—is switching from one medium to another a seamless experience, or does the conversation get lost in translation, requiring the customer to put in additional work to complete their interaction?
Companies that want to retain customers through an excellent omnichannel experience must, McKinsey says, “ensure that each channel, as well as handoffs across channels, are optimized for each customer interaction.” This can be achieved by adopting an omnichannel CRM that consolidates interactions across voice, email, SMS, webchat and social messaging, then updates the customer profile with contextual data from every interaction in real time.
5. Build Trust Through Dependable Experiences
Customers expect digital technology to be usable. When it’s not, they lose trust, which seriously hurts your ability to retain them. Take mobile web browning, for example. More than half of mobile users will abandon a site entirely if it takes more than three seconds to load. How many of those users do you think will return to try again later? Probably not very many.
Customer expectations are similarly high around your service experience. When a customer has to work their way through conflicting IVR menus or be transferred between multiple agents to get an issue resolved, their trust in your company is damaged.
As a result, they’ll be less likely to want to continue doing long-term business with you, especially if they have other options elsewhere.
You can provide dependable customer experiences by investing in a CRM that prioritizes reliability, ease of use, and near-perfect uptime. By focusing relentlessly on the customer, zeroing in on their needs, and making it easy for them to use your technology to meet those needs in a personalized way, you’ll retain more long-term customers and ultimately, maximize the revenue they generate.