Customer Retention Strategies that Work in 2024: A Quick Guide
- Establish trust through clear communication, customer satisfaction surveys, and providing social proof of your agency’s success with other clients to retain existing customers.
- Offer valuable content and resources through channels like blogs, newsletters, and social media to keep customers engaged and more likely to recommend your services.
- Utilize customer relationship management (CRM) software, help desk/ticketing systems, data analytics, social media monitoring tools, and referral automation to improve retention efforts.
Account retention is a key growth lever for agencies and freelancers—so much so that it’s much more likely you’ll sell your products or services to an existing customer than a new one. If you want to do more with less, making sure your existing clients are happy is crucial.
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at effective customer retention strategies and how they can help your agency grow. Keep reading to learn more.
Build trust with your customers
Would you take your pet to a vet you don’t trust?
It’s likely you wouldn’t—and your clients wouldn’t take their business to an agency they don’t trust either. Building trust with customers is one of the hardest and most important tasks you’ll face when trying to retain them.
Creating an environment of trust starts with your new client onboarding process. Ensure customers feel like you’re on the same page, have a clear understanding of what your agency offers, and can easily access support. Additionally, practices like customer satisfaction surveys or maintaining consistent client communication will help promote trust, and stop you from losing customers.
Last, but not least, providing customers with social proof throughout their entire buying cycle is a great way to showcase your agency’s amazing results with other clients (and convince new/existing clients you’re worth their time and budget too).
Educate and nurture your customers
There is an unwritten law in business—the more you give, the more you receive. Call it karma, if you will.
Creating content and providing resources to help customers understand industry trends, technology advancements, or strategic best practices is one of the most effective ways to keep your leads close—and your customers closer.
Educating and continuously nurturing your clients makes them more likely to stick around, recommend your services, and even become brand promoters.
Some of the channels you can use to nurture your customers include:
social media channels
through direct outreach programs
To make sure your educational efforts succeed:
make sure you understand your customer’s need
monitor their activity (responses to emails or social posts)
tailor the content you’re creating to meet their needs
Your sales team, as well as various analytics tools (for email, social media, etc.) can help you get a better picture of what your customers need in terms of information and how to best serve it to them.
Offer multichannel support
If you want to provide stellar customer care, be sure your customers (or at least a premium tier) have access to multichannel support. Having a vanity phone number on your site or an instant chat is all fine—but your customers may want to connect with you via Facebook, Twitter, or not at all (e.g., they may prefer finding the answer in your help center).
To make sure your clients rate your support as great, you need to make sure you go above and beyond and offer multiple channels of support. This will not only make your customers happy, but it’ll also help you easily keep track of all their inquiries (especially if you use a tool where you centralize their questions and requests).
Set up a customer retention program
Loyalty pays off—both for you and your customers. When the people who buy from you come back for repeat purchases, you spend less on customer acquisition. As for the loyal customers, they know they can come to you every time and expect the same level of quality. Loyalty is a win-win situation.
To encourage customers to stick around by introducing a customer loyalty program. This could include discounts or special offers when they make repeat purchases. You could also give them exclusive access to new products or services and virtual (or real) rewards for their loyalty.
One thing to be mindful of, however, is that your rewards need to be useful (or at least fun) for your users. For instance, if you will only offer rewards consisting of vouchers in very niche shops, a lot of your customers may feel disengaged if they don’t actually need products from those stores.
Think of something that’s:
general enough so everyone enjoys it (e.g., Amazon vouchers)
related to your product (e.g., 10% off their next purchase)
related to the industry (e.g., 10% off on a partnering tool they’re likely to use)
Last, but not least, remember that you should encourage people to recommend your services to their peers. A referral program is an agency client retention strategy, particularly when you want to tap into your customers’ networks and grow your agency’s reach.
Use the right tools
Client retention is all about making sure your customers are happy. To make sure this process is easier for you, use the right tools to monitor and collect customer feedback, data, and interactions. Some of the customer retention tool categories include the following.
Customer relationship management software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are all about streamlining your customer data and interactions. This will help you better understand your customers’ needs and ensure they are happy with your services.
A customer management relationship system comes with additional features, such as email marketing and automation capabilities, that you can use to nurture your customers and boost brand engagement.
Some of the best crm software options include:
Running a help desk or ticketing system allows you to keep track of customer inquiries and requests in one central place. This will make it easier to quickly respond to customers and ensure they are getting the help they need in a timely manner.
Furthermore, it allows you to keep track of the more common questions, so you can provide proactive customer support in this sense. This helps you provide your customers with a great customer experience—and thus, make it more likely you increase customer retention too.
Some well-known help desk tools include:
And of course, Service Provider Pro has its own helpdesk module that you can use to keep track of all your communication.
Data analytics allows you to monitor customer feedback and better understand customer behavior. This will help you identify the areas that need improvement, so you can make changes and ensure your customers are happy. Additionally, it can help you spot customer segments with a higher likelihood to churn.
Some of the most widely known data analytics tools include:
Social media monitoring
Social media monitoring tools (also called social listening tools) monitor what customers say about your brand on social media channels. These tools allow you to track customer feedback, complaints, and questions, so you can respond promptly and provide a great customer experience.
Adding qualitative data extracted from social media mentions and interactions to your customer analytics can also help you better understand customer sentiment and identify areas that need improvement.
Some popular social media listening tools include:
Referral automation software helps you quickly and efficiently manage customer referrals. This will allow you to track who is referring customers to you, reward them with discounts or special offers, and use their public endorsements to attract new customers.
Some great referral automation software options include:
Service Provider Pro also has a built-in affiliate managemeny system that you can use to keep an eye of customers your partners have referred to you.
Incentivize customers not to cancel
There are many reasons that may make customers cancel. To reduce the number of cancellations you receive, try to figure out what’s making customers cancel and consider adding incentives to make them reconsider.
If customers cancel because their budgets are tight, offer them discounts or special offers. You can, for example, offer them your services at a discount for a number of months, or you can offer extra services for free, for a limited amount of time.
If customers cancel because they don’t feel their needs are met, reach out to them and ask what you can do to help them. Sometimes, a one-hour meeting can save a relationship with customers and can help you understand how you can better communicate with them and serve them better.
If customers cancel because of a lack of time to use the service, provide them with tutorials and educational material that will help them better navigate your products and services. Furthermore, using tools that are intuitive and easy-to-use can also help reduce friction, miscommunication.
Achieving a good customer retention rate is all about making sure your customers are happy and sometimes, giving them a discount or going the extra mile can help you achieve this. Use the right tools, incentivize customers not to cancel, and make sure your customer service is up to par.
Focus on creating genuine relationships
It’s easy to think of business relationships as purely transactional. Both you and your customers are in it for very specific benefits: they need your agency’s services, and you provide them for a price.
However, to retain customers, you need to go beyond the transactional and create genuine relationships. You are, after all, humans—and this means building real relationships with your customers will benefit everyone.
find more enjoyment in working with each other
have a better understanding of customer needs
build more loyalty to not just your services, but everything your agency encompasses
retain customers for longer
To ensure your customer relationships are healthy and fruitful, keep the following tips in mind:
be open and honest with your customers
listen to their feedback and be willing to make changes based on it
be proactive and show customers that you care about
set up regular catch-up meetings
actively try to build relationships with your customers
focus on creating experiences, not just transactions
be human—your customers are too
Be quick in your responses
Leaving your customers to wait for too long when you communicate with them, whether via email, chat or phone, can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. Everyone is busy and likes to have things quickly, so make sure your customer service team is quick in their response times.
To keep your customers happy, set the right expectations from the very beginning—provide your customers with response time estimates to make sure they know when to expect a reply.
Additionally, having a good customer service software in place will help your team quickly access customer records, so they can provide fast and accurate answers without leaving customers hanging.
Last, but not least, make sure you take (and apply) feedback from customers. This will help you improve your customer service and ensure your customers remain happy.
Measure and report results
If you want repeat customers and if you want them to be loyal to your business, you need to prove that what you’re doing is working. This means you need to communicate with your customers and define what success looks like for both of you, and how you plan on measuring it. Creating, delivering, and discussing reports regularly helps you ensure you and your customers are on the same page.
This type of approach can feed into your retention program data, so you can proactively come up with tactics that help you avoid customer churn and increase your customer lifetime value.
FAQs about customer retention strategies
What are customer retention strategies?
They are a plan of action that try to keep a large percentage of customers with the company. Some strategies involve keeping the customer base happy, others require the company to spend money on promotions.
What are keys to customer retention?
There is no secret ingredient to customer retention, which is why every business needs to track customer retention metrics and use the data to come up with the best strategies for them.
What is the best way to retain customers?
There is no best way to retain customers, but one of the top customer retention strategies is to make them loyal by providing great support, services, and asking for feedback regularly.
Improving customer retention is part art, part science. To keep your customers around for longer, you need to better understand their behaviors and needs. Both quantitative data (analytics, sales data, etc.) and qualitative data (social media mentions, customer feedback, surveys) can help you uncover customer trends or potential issues that may be festering in the background, so you can address them proactively—and keep your customers happier, for longer.
At the end of the day, you are likely in competition with a lot of other agencies—so go the extra mile to make sure your clients are happy with both your services and your relationship. Be clear about what you offer, measure your efforts, and always try to exceed customer expectations.
By putting the customer first, taking their feedback seriously, and using the right tools to make your job more efficient, you will be well on your way to building a successful customer retention strategy.