Customers are the heart of your business. They keep your business going and without them, your business will fail – end of story. But, it’s not just getting customers that sustains your business – it’s retaining them that truly takes your business to the next level. A big part of customer retention is finding ways to thank your customers and keep them happy with your business.
These are just a few important numbers to remember when it comes to customer retention:
- It is approximately 50% easier to sell to existing customers than to brand new prospects.
- 20% of your existing customer base accounts for 80% of your company’s future revenue.
- An increase of just 5% in customer retention rates increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Customer retention is all about increasing customer loyalty. This is increasing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) at its finest. On average, your loyal customers will order from you more often, with a higher average order value (AOV), and are more likely to refer your business to their friends and family.
If you want your business to succeed and thrive, it’s worth the time, effort, and money to make sure your process for customer retention is up to par.
Think about this – 68% of businesses have lost a customer because that customer felt the business was indifferent to them. So, how do you go about implementing customer retention? The good news is a little can go a long way when you’re creating your customer retention strategies.
Your customers want to feel heard, they want to feel like you’re listening to them when they provide feedback, and they want to feel valued. Your customers are people – they’re not dollar signs, so make sure you’re using a person-based approach towards them.
Sometimes, simply saying “thank you” goes a long way. Here are a few ways you can thank your customers:
1. Send Your Customers a “Thank You” Card
Thank you cards are seriously underrated, which is a shame because they can have a huge impact on how your customer views your brand. Personalizing the message to your customer makes it even more effective. For example, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates!
Why does personalization work?
When you personalize your message and content, you’re speaking directly to that customer. And, when someone is addressed specifically by name, it means a lot more than a generic message. A personalized message just means more – it means you’re listening to them, you want to get to know them, and most importantly, you value them.
If you can swing it, send personalized, hand-written thank you cards to your customers. If it’s just not feasible for you to take this route, a direct mail piece or an email can be designed as a “thank you” that can be personalized to include your customer’s name.
2. Create a Special Offer That’s “Just For Them”
When a customer has engaged positively in some way with your brand, it’s a good opportunity to thank them. A good way to thank them is to send them a special offer personalized to them based on their experience with your brand through email, on social media, or through direct mail.
Ideally, you would communicate with them via the channel they initiated communication, at least until you learn their preferred communication channel(s).
Personalization makes a difference in your offer simply because personalized offers are powerful. Over 78% of consumers will only engage with offers if they have been personalized to their previous interactions with the brand.
Take the time to learn what you can from your initial interactions with customers and craft offers for them based on what you learn. Not only will this make them feel valued, but they’ll also be more likely to take advantage of the offer and do business with you again.
3. Enhance Your Rewards/Loyalty Program With Bigger Rewards
If you want to encourage customers to come back to you again and again, reward them for it! Creating a program worth joining is a great customer retention strategy.
On top of that, you can enhance the program by adding new rewards and incentives to keep things fresh and continue to encourage customers to join and use the program.
By giving them a reward, whether it’s a coupon or points to redeem for special offers, you’re thanking your customers for continuing to engage with you and offering them value while making them feel valued.
You can reward your customers for anything from interacting with you on social media to making a purchase. Did a customer sign up for your eNewsletter? Reward them. Refer a friend? Reward them and reward them with a big reward because referrals are awesome!
Figure out what interactions customers can take with your brand and which ones they are taking, especially those that are likely to lead to a sale, and reward each one of those with customized offers.
Take your rewards program to the next level by making it into a game. Gamification an effective engagement strategy. Some of the best rewards programs and successful mobile apps use gamification to increase engagement.
When done right, gamification rewards us for having fun. Gamification works because it aligns with the way our brains process rewards.
As we complete levels and challenges or earn medals and receive rewards, the neurological pathway responsible for that rush of dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for the elation, positivity, & all-over good feeling, is activated.
This pathway of the brain is called the mesolimbic pathway or the mesolimbic dopamine system. It is sometimes referred to as “the rewards pathway” and it’s called that for a reason – actions that activate it are rewarded and, therefore, are often repeated.
Pair that positive rush with the sense of achievement we get from “beating the game” or “leveling up” and you have an environment built to encourage engagement. Create a rewards program that makes people feel good about themselves and they’ll want to come back to repeat the experience over and over again.
4. Send Your Customers Something on Their Birthday
Thanking your customers and making them feel valued is important. Sending them something for their birthday does both and makes your customer feel special on top of it.
This could be something small off of their wishlist with a coupon for their next purchase, it could be company swag with a coupon for their next purchase, or it could just be a gift card with a message wishing them a happy birthday.
As a business, acknowledging their birthday is one way to make them feel special. A physical gift takes it up a level and will hopefully create a delightful experience they’ll remember and want to share with others.
As your relationships with your customers grow and you learn more about them, you can add in other important dates too, as long as you don’t cross over the line into creepy. Some personalization is great, but too much is off-putting and weird.
5. Surprise New Customers with an Extra Gift
Customer retention starts with the first interaction. With today’s buyers, that first interaction might not be a purchase. That’s okay! Just make sure that when a customer does make that first purchase from you, you create a rewarding, delightful experience to wow them from the start.
It doesn’t need to be a huge gift that puts your business in the red. It just needs to be a little something for free, something just for them, to thank them for choosing to do business with you instead of your competitors.
Add in some introductory information about your fantastic rewards program and you’ll set the relationship on the path towards retention. The better their first experience with you, the easier it will be to keep that positivity going and build loyalty.
Make Human Connections a Priority
People like dealing with people. Whether we always remember it or not, customers are people.
When you’re focused on the bottom line, sometimes you can lose sight of the fact that your customers are people instead of dollar signs in your reports. They have lives, needs, wants, and problems of their own to tackle.
Oftentimes, your products/services help your customers solve some of their problems. But, what about the people they are beyond their pain points? That’s where customer retention makes an impact and where finding ways to thank your customers and valuing them as people makes a big difference.
6. Throw a Party for Your Customers
Nothing can remind you more that your customers are real people than spending some time with them face-to-face. Throwing a party for your customers is a big gesture to thank them. Plus, it also helps you make more of those human connections and really gives you a chance to have conversations and listen.
You can throw a big bash or do something more intimate like hosting an open house with food provided, renting a box at a local sporting event, running a VIP after-hours event at your location or online, and more. You can also piggyback on someone else’s event and invite your customers to attend an industry event with you.
7. Refer Customers to Your Customers
If your business is B2B, a great way to indirectly thank your customers is to refer potential customers to them. You don’t want to do this just to do this because you want it to be authentic. If your customers provide a product or service you know will benefit someone you know, tell them about it and make a referral.
Treating your customers like people and making that human connection with them builds relationships. And, relationships are where you’ll find opportunities to increase customer loyalty and retention while also growing your business.