By Patti Myers
Here’s a mind-boggling statistic: 76 percent of companies agree that customer lifetime value is an important metric, but only 42 percent of companies can accurately measure the lifetime value of their customers. That is not only a disconnect, but a costly one.
As marketers, we know there is an inherent value to retaining customers. Without accurately capturing and storing customer data, it’s hard to know not only where we are in terms of customer retention success, but also what it’s worth to our business's bottom line.
If you’re ready to start bolstering your customer retention strategy, the good news is that you likely already use one of the most powerful customer retention tools: your customer relationship management system, or CRM. We’re breaking down seven ways your CRM is ready to get to work improving both customer experience and your retention goals.
1. It’s All in the Data
A lot of what we’ll cover in this article will revolve around leveraging data in your CRM, so ensuring the hygiene of your data is imperative. If you’re one of the 42 percent of companies that aren’t confident you can accurately measure the lifetime value of your customers, this is the place to start before you dive into more complex customer retention strategies.
When evaluating your data, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do we have processes or automation in place (that are adopted!) that ensures our customer and company records are up to date?
- Who is responsible for ensuring data is updated or responsible for cross-checking automation?
- How much of our contact data is updated automatically versus manually?
- What checkpoints (such as quarterly checks, a churn process, or a customer service touch-base) do we have in place to make sure that a contact record is up to date?
Once you’re confident that your data is clean, personalization is a great way to show your customers that they’re more than just a number or a dollar sign. In fact, 79 percent of consumers agree that the more personalization tactics a brand uses, the more loyal they are to that brand.
Personalization can be as simple as using a property token to address customers by name in your email marketing or it can be leveraged in other ways, like acknowledging your customer’s birthday with a special discount.
3. Sending the Right Message at the Right Time Using Segmentation
As any inbound marketer will tell you, the key to successful lead nurturing is creating contextual content—in other words, delivering the right message at the right time. The same is the case for successful customer delight!
In addition to personalization, you can leverage the customer data you have to deliver contextual messages to your customers. Have a client in the manufacturing industry, but just released an e-book for SaaS clients? Using segmentation to avoid sending irrelevant information to your customers is a simple way to be sure you’re sending the right message to the right people.
4. Automated Check-Ins
When’s the last time you checked in with your customers to make sure they’re happy with your products or services? Your CRM can track the last time you checked in with your customer. (Double bonus: Use these check-ins to ensure that contact or company record’s data is accurate and up to date!)
If you are using an automation tool connected to your CRM, take the next step and set up automated checkpoints so that your account manager or customer success team can reach out every few months to make sure that your customers are happy and thriving! Reaching out before a problem arises and being proactive can help customers feel satisfied—and improve retention.
5. Customer Loyalty Programs
Your CRM is also a great tool for tracking important information like specific actions that your company may want a customer to take. For example, if you have a loyalty program where after a customer purchases five items, they get a sixth free, your CRM can track and store that data, ensuring your customer loyalty program is seamless—and rewarding. This encourages loyalty and increases the lifetime value of your customers.
6. Improved Customer Service
A bad customer service experience sticks with you. In fact, 58 percent of consumers will switch companies solely because of poor customer service. That’s a gamble no company can afford to take.
So how can your CRM improve customer service? Using the data you have gathered can help you create a more personalized customer service experience.
For example, if your customer asks for help with their most recent order, consider what their experience potentially looks like: a rep who views their most recent order in the CRM, and immediately recalls the order date and products or services purchased? Or a customer service representative who has to ask the customer to relay all of the information that should be in your CRM before they can start addressing the issue?
A good CRM helps you provide not only better quality customer service, but also faster customer service.
7. Tracking and Analyzing Churn Risk
When customers churn or stop purchasing from you, it’s disappointing, but it’s also an opportunity to learn about customer pain points that you can leverage to prevent other customers from churning. Your CRM can be one of your best customer retention tools by tracking the reasons that you lost a particular customer.
Build custom properties to track the churn date, a reason for the churn, and whether it was preventable or unpreventable. Create a monthly or quarterly cadence to sit down and analyze customers who have preventably churned and determine if there are any trends in your churn reasons.
Using this data, you can not only find product or service offering gaps, but you can also determine what other customers might be at the highest risk of churn. For example, if your customers tend to churn seasonally, can you create a campaign to deliver value and reinvest them in your business before they make that decision? Are all of your customers churning after a certain number of months? What common denominators can you find to bolster your retention in the future?
Your CRM Can Be Your Best Customer Retention Tool
Customer retention is not only great for your business, but by leveraging your CRM in your customer retention efforts, you are also empowering your business with enhanced data and future opportunities.
Ready to take the next step and create a unified customer journey from prospect to renewal? Check out SmartBug Media®’s on-demand webinar and learn about customer success trends, why customer-centricity is a key growth driver, and more! Watch the webinar on demand now.