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16 October 2018

9 Customer Retention Strategies That Work

What is Customer Retention?

Customer retention rate is how a company manages to maintain its paying customers over a period of time. Managing your customer retention rate is a greatly important part of making your business sustainable. Picture your business as a colander, a low retention rate is like filling it with water. Sure, there’s plenty of water (customers) going through, but none are retaining due to the holes in the bottom! Use these strategies to ensure your retention strategies are keeping your customers around for the long haul!

1. What Do You Stand For/What’s Your Mission?

Who are you? Customers will probably ignore your business if your company doesn’t stand for anything! It’s important to establish your mission and standpoint for your potential customer base. Consumers who share a strong relationship with a brand nearly always have shared values as one of the main reasons. However, it’s important to realize the potential backlash this can cause if the issue you are taking a stand on has a polarizing effect on society. If you are going to take a stand, be sure you are ready to potentially lose some customers, while gaining new ones who support your stand. The takeaway from this is finding something people care about and positioning your brand around it.

2. Talk that Talk – Words They Love To Hear

We all have buzz words that prick up our ears and certainly make our eyes widen. Selling the right way is an important process of creating customer loyalty. Never falsely assume because you’ve had one successful sale with a customer, that they will return. Not surprisingly, there are simple words that have major effects over customers to make them return.


Not surprisingly – people love getting something for nothing. It’s been used for decades in every industry, despite it’s consistency – our preference for it is hardwired in our brains. However – when utilising the word ‘free’ in your business, it’s important to avoid false promises. Turning your customer basis to bargainer’s rather than customers who seek your value can be harmful to your brand. Don’t attach ‘free’ to everything in sight, this can make your products seem worthless!


Solving their problem not tomorrow, not soon but NOW. Again, our brains are amazing units – we love chasing instant rewards (do the Monopoly stickers from McDonald’s captivate anyone as much as me?). Activity occurs in our mid-brain when we think about an instant-reward, getting us in the perfect position to buy. More words like ‘instant’, ‘fast’ or ‘immediately’ are likely to turn that brain activity on.

I know what you’re thinking – not all businesses can provide instant gratification and solve problems fast. Therefore, even adding in words like ‘quickly’ or acronyms like ‘ASAP’ can be the small push you need to close the sale.


An opportunity to save money? You’ll have their attention. Potential customers want to hear about how you can save them money. Offer additional savings to returning customers;

  • Save 30% on any additional products you purchase
  • Save up to 30% when signing up for our e-newsletter

Enjoy 20% off - customer retention strategy

Want more buzzwords that improve your sales?

3. Change From Selling to Educating

Shift your frame from a selling perspective to an educative one. Even though your customer has made a purchase – don’t stop trying to close the deal. With more options than ever before, your customer needs to see the value in your product/service to keep them coming back, or renewing their subscription etc. Research shows customers enjoy receiving helpful recommendations on new information and products. Again, the last thing you want to do is leave a customer in the freshly purchased stage – take a look at our marketing funnel here to show you exactly where your customers should be in the buying process.

4. It’s the Thought That Counts

Freely handing out discounts and freebies is a dangerous road. If not tread carefully it can lead to a loss of sales and even bankruptcy. Instead, focus on providing reciprocity through thoughtful, small gestures. Studies show as little as 10c of a discount can enthuse customers and encourage them to stick around. When providing freebies, always make sure;

  •  Will giving away this freebie threaten your profitability?
  • Is there something valuable you will get in return?
  • Will this help raise your company’s profile?
  • Is it the right thing to do?

5. Manners Matter – Power of Thank-You

It’s rare but so well received, thank-you notes are a delightful throwback. Make your business stand out and offer this highly personalised way of communicating with your customers. Make your customers feel special and cared for. This small task can catapult your relationship building quick smart and are a perfect high-impact customer retention strategy. Get creative! don’t just send a generic thank-you email, think outside the box! What can your business be known for? In Apple stores they give a round of applause to anyone who purchases a Macbook, Iphone or Ipad (one of their big ticket items). While this makes the customer feel important, it may feel a little embarrassing (as a result Apple started asking the customer if they mind the round of applause in their honour).

6. Up Close & Personal

With the new wave of technology hitting stores like self-service scanners, it’s important to remember people still like dealing with people. Show your care and personality by adding a human touch. To begin an approach like this, identify your audience personas and communicate with them on their preferred channel. It could be Twitter, Snapchat or even email – whatever is drawing their attention. Encourage your customers to speak directly with you through that channel. Remind them to seek out this channel during and after the buying experience. Finally, don’t forget to add personality! There are too many canned responses out there that we’ve read dozens of times before.

tesco twitter

7. Slow Down & Provide Quality

Do you want fast service or quality? Most businesses will attempt but fail at providing both. This isn’t to say you have to be slow! When it comes to successful customer service, data shows the quality matters more than speed. Customers are nine times more likely to be engaged with a brand when the service was perceived as “willing, courteous and helpful” rather than speedy. Picture yourself in a drive-thru, you receive your food at lightning speed! Upon opening it, you realise they not only got your order completely wrong! Imagine if they’d taken an extra minute to check your order, you’d be more likely to return.

8. Your Ideal Customer Is VIP

I love going to the movies, what I love even more is the reward points I receive on my Cinebuzz rewards card! Research on retention programs show people love being VIP or “gold” members. Make your customers feel important and special, create membership, reward programs where applicable. Anything that encourages them to spend more money with you to receive these rewards, the better (Qantas Frequent Flyer, MasterCards etc.) Here’s the twist though – the sense of self importance mainly works when people know there is a class below them.

9. Social Proof/Testimonials

Customers are more likely to trust opinions of family, friends and other consumers more than branded content and ads. Using the awesome power of testimonials, show prospective customers the value of your products from happy purchasers! Convince existing customers to return or upgrade their products, check out the secret combination to effective video testimonials here.

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