In the marketing world, we put the bulk of attention on getting new customers. Of course, that is important to keeping your business running. However, keeping your customers coming back deserves as much, if not more, attention, especially in a SaaS model where repeat customers are the base of your business. So, what can you do to retain more customers?
#1: Provide Unusually Great Customer Service
Did you know that when asked what makes them loyal to a particular brand, 72% said “customer service”? This is the easily most obvious suggestion, but what does solid customer service look like for an online business when a customer can’t pick up on body language and tone?
Based on research from Dimensional Research and Zendesk, the two main things that make a customer service interaction bad are the same ones that cause good interactions:
- Speed of resolution
- The customer having to explain their problem to more than one person
This means that:
- If you aren’t already measuring speed of problem resolution as one of your core customer service metrics, you should be (and be actively working on lowering it).
- If possible, customers shouldn’t have to deal with more than one representative to solve their problem.
- But, in the instance that a customer does need assistance from more than one person, they shouldn’t have to explain their problem again. The new customer service representative should be able to look at the previous conversation and start from where it was left off, without any repetition.
Hernan Charry, director of marketing at Split One Technologies, credits their customer service as the reason that 48% of their 2013 revenue came from repeat clients. When starting with a new customer, the project is broken down into stages with goals for both the internal team (deliverables) and the customer’s experience (leads and revenue generated from the website) attached to each stage.
The Split One team does their best to make sure that not only is the customer’s experience excellent during the first stage, but that their goals are met as a result of working together, and in between stages of the project, Hernan often calls the client to check in on how their business is doing. The high-touch service leads to not only a large amount of repeat customers, but also to 36% of new clients being referred directly by a current or previous client.
#2: Create Your Sales Process With Repeat Customers In Mind
You can automate this to some extent by giving customers a small discount after buying to incentivize them coming back. Another option is a discount/rebate on their next purchase for sharing about their current purchase, as SocialRebate lets you do.
Loyalty programs are similar to this idea, but they have their pros and cons. Research has shown that retailers with loyalty programs are 88% more profitable than those without, but critics argue that loyalty programs only attract people who are loyal because they’re getting a discount. And a different study has shown that companies that spend more on loyalty programs grow at about the same rate or slightly slower than companies without. Either way, most of the currently available data is for retail industries, so if you do this for your business, make sure to test your results before and after.
And of course, if your sales process is high-touch, make sure that your service doesn’t stop after the sale. You need to have at least one check-in after a potential customer becomes a client to make sure they’re actually learning how to use your product and that they don’t feel as though they’ve been left high and dry as soon as your company received their money.
An example of a QuoteRoller proposal made with a free custom template included as part of the trial period
Josh Gillespie, product specialist at QuoteRoller and PandaDoc, says that having high-touch service during the trial period has shown measurable results for them. The service has a two week free trial, and during those two weeks, the sales team goes all in to help onboard the client and help them achieve revenue as a result of using QuoteRoller. As a new measure, they decided to offer custom template design as part of their free trial. Since introducing the custom templates, they’ve seen a 40% increase in subscriptions.
#3: Keep Up With Your Current Customers
You can’t have repeat customers if your customers have forgotten all about you, so you need to make sure you’re keeping up with your current customers — without being obnoxious. Using social media marketing comes into play here, of course, but you also want to be keeping up with your customers via email and sending them information that’s interesting to them.
ConcertFix, a site dedicated to helping people keep up with concert news and purchase tickets to concerts, recently debuted a new tool called the ConcertTracker. It automatically sends users news on new concerts in their area from artists they’ve chosen to follow, so it’s providing engaging and useful information and keeping ConcertFix top of mind for customers. Since debuting the new feature, there’s been an almost 10% increase in repeat customers.
A thank you card from GreenPal
You can also go the high touch route here. Bryan Clayton, CEO at GreenPal (best described as Uber for lawn mowing), recently implemented a “thank you” card campaign to reduce churn. After their third transaction, customers receive a handwritten card to thank them for being a customer. It’s still too early in the campaign for statistically concrete results, but there’s been a measurable decrease in churn, and a lot of customers have reached out to express gratitude for the thank you card.
The example of QuoteRoller above touched on another aspect of keeping up with your customers — customer success. If you’re making sure that your customers are successful (whether via valuable industry information or helping them use your product more effectively), they’re more likely to stick around because your value is obvious to them.
Planning Pod, a SaaS startup that offers event management software, does this via how-to videos at their Youtube channel. The video demos walk users step-by-step through all of the tool’s features and how to use them, decreasing the learning curve significantly. Jeff Kear, the owner/founder, notes that when his team made the videos a very visible part of the support pages, they increased customer retention by 14%.
Conclusion — the three questions to answer today to get more repeat customers:
- What can I do to decrease my customer service team’s response time and problem resolution time?
- What can I do during the sales or trial process to increase the customer’s engagement with my product — and actually get them to use it?
- How can I make my current customers more successful? What information can I provide to help them get their return on investment from my product?