If you have been working in the industry long enough, you will have come to the realisation that retaining customers is often more difficult, and some might argue, more imperative than the acquisition new ones. If your customers are not renewing contracts with you, no longer requesting your services or are switching to one of your competitors, then it means your are experiencing customer churn and it stands to reason that something happened – or didn’t happen – to trigger this change.
The percentage of customers that stop using your services during a specific time frame, is known as customer churn. Churn rate is calculated by dividing the number of customers you lost during a time frame, by the number of customers with which you began the time period. You want your companies churn rate to be as low as possible to indicate maximum customer retention.
Many factors contribute to Customer Churn, but it’s in your best interest to prevent it as much as possible. Proactively strategising to retain your customers is called Churn Prevention. In simple terms, it is the investigation into the underlying reasons for why customers are leaving, and formulating a plan to combat these reasons, so that they can be resolved before the customer even thinks of leaving your services.
Here are 5 ways to prevent Customer Churn:
Provide outstanding customer services and support
According to a study by Oracle, 89% of customers will take their business from one company to another due to poor customer experience from the original company. If customers feel they are not being acknowledge or heard, they will seek assistance elsewhere.
Pre-empt any dissatisfaction by communicating with your customers regularly. Don’t wait for them to have to bring a complaint to your attention.
Go the extra mile
Provide your customers with a value-added experience, by showing them that they matter more than just the money they pay you. Your customers need to know that they would not get the same value from another company. Sending them specials on services that would interest them, or encouraging them to be part of your brand, by signing up to newsletters, or sending them relevant blogs, will illustrate to them that they are relevant and valued by your company.
Make it personal
Similarly to the previous point, providing personalised service is a sure fire way of gaining rapport with your customers and letting them know they are not just one of many. Granted, its generally not realistic to reach out to hundreds of customers individually, but you can group your customers by certain demographics or interests, in order to make communication with them far more personal, in the form of emails of appreciation or promotional newsletters.
If customers are receiving great service and feel special and appreciated by your company, then there leaves little reason to switch over to your competitors.
Get to know your former customers
Prevention is better than cure, so an effective way to understand what might drive your customers into the arms of your competitors, is by collecting feedback from those who already did leave. Send out a survey to former customers asking why they left using your companies services. Most often than not, they will be for similar reasons, especially if you have a high churn rate.
Most importantly, once you have identified reasons, you need to act on implementing positive change straight away. Be it slow customers service or poor communication, negative feedback from customers must be used to make your company better.
Make your best customer relationships better
If you are attentive, you might start noticing when customers are on the verge of churning and feel tempted to use all your resources to try salvage the relationship and give them incentives to stay. Of course you must try retain them, but don’t do it to the detriment of your best and most loyal customers. It’s easy to get complacent about the customers who never complain or seem like they will always be there, but those are the very customers your need to continue to nurture and remain loyal to in return.
At Image Matters, we view ourselves as an extension of our customers’ brands and encourage them to do the same. Therefore, as much as we strive to take on new projects and customers we really value our long term customers who have been with us through thick and thin!