Marketing

Published June 10th 2018

Why Customer Retention Should Always Be on Your Mind

Enticing a new customer to make their first purchase will never fail to give marketers a buzz - but this doesn’t mean it should be your sole focus.

Marketing strategies are often top heavy. Lots of time and effort goes in to attracting and converting first-time buyers. Meanwhile customer retention ends up on the backburner.

In our digital world, consumers are polyamorous when it comes to brand loyalty. Whether it’s via their inbox, on social channels, or in their search results, your customers are constantly being tempted by your competitors.

So what are you doing to retain your customers and stop them from straying? If the answer is not immediately coming to mind, then you should keep reading.

In this article, we explain why customer retention matters and explore how to make it a priority. We also discuss the importance of post-purchase customer experience, why customer lifetime value is the marketing metric to prioritise, and why re-engagement campaigns should form part of your strategy.

Why does customer retention matter?

Attracting new customers is expensive. In fact, it costs 5 to 25 times more than retaining existing ones.

Customers are not only cheaper to retain than attract, retained customers are also easier to sell to. On average, you have a 5 to 20 percent chance of selling to new customers, compared to 60 to 70 percent for existing customers.

So focusing on customer retention is a smart way to boost your bottom line. As much as 80 percent of your future profits will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers. And increasing retention rates by just 5 percent can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent.

What’s more, having a strong customer retention strategy is the first step in turning loyal customers into brand advocates. Amplifying the voices of brand advocates via social media and your website is a powerful way to attract new customers.

Building an outstanding post-purchase customer experience

Building a highly personalised customer experience is an effective way to ease a new customer along to conversion. But customer experience is about more than getting customers over the line. Done right, it is also a smart way to retain them.

The journey a customer takes after their first purchase is crucial if you want to retain them. Focusing your attention on the post-purchase customer experience is a smart way to enhance this journey.

Your aim is to positively influence post-purchase behaviour. This is the way a customer thinks, feels, and acts after they have bought from you. And it affects whether they buy from you again.

Customers often feel anxious after they have made a purchase. They may be considering if their money was well-spent. If they see attractive offers from competitors, they may regret their decision to buy. This is called buyer’s remorse.

Creating a post-purchase customer experience that reduces buyer’s remorse and encourages positive brand sentiment is the first step in increasing retention.

A good post-purchase customer experience is designed to:

  • reduce buyer’s remorse
  • encourage a customer to feel good about their purchase
  • build a stronger connection with your brand
  • encourage repeat purchase
  • encourage the customer to speak positively about your brand to others.

The sorts of tactics that you might use to create a positive post-purchase experience are:

  • advising about refund policy and returns process
  • sending a thank you email
  • asking for a review
  • sending a how-to guide
  • recommending complementary products
  • giving product care tips
  • encouraging the sharing of user-generated content
  • sending a replenishment reminder

Why prioritise customer lifetime value?

Fine-tuning your customer’s post-purchase experience to increase customer retention also increases customer lifetime value.

Customer lifetime value is a smart marketing metric to prioritise if you want to boost revenue. It considers the total value each customer represents to your business over the lifetime of their journey with your brand.

So tweaking your strategy to get the maximum value out of each existing customer makes business sense. It is more easily achieved than attracting new customers to spend with you, thanks to the power of marketing automation. For example, cross-selling and upselling with personalised product recommendations at key points in the customer journey pumps up customer lifetime value, automatically.

The importance of re-engagement

Another important consideration in your customer retention strategy is re-engagement.

One of the main ways brands miss out on repeat custom is by allowing customers to lapse. Creating re-engagement campaigns is a powerful way to combat this.

These can be triggered by inactivity from a customer for a certain period of time. Messaging should be tailored to remind customers what they are missing, giving them key reasons to re-engage with your brand.

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Takeaway

Enticing a new customer to make their first purchase will never fail to give marketers a buzz. But this doesn’t mean it should be their sole focus. Increasing customer retention is a smart way to see profits soar.

When we talk about customer experience, the assumption is often that this is designed to ease a customer to conversion. While this is an aim, it is not the only one. Post-purchase customer experience is just as (if not more) important than pre-purchase.

Smart marketers keep customer retention front of mind. The most effective marketing strategies pay special attention to the post-purchase journey and consider how to boost customer lifetime value.

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