Customer retention

25 Customer Retention Strategies That Work

September 6, 2023

Did you know the average retention rate in the technology and SaaS sector is just 77%? That means a lot of customers are leaving and not coming back. This can really hurt a company's growth and success.

Keeping your customers happy and returning for more is important for any business. Keeping your existing customers happy means you can make more money, spend less on getting new customers and create a loyal customer base that will keep coming back and recommending you to others.

The key? Customer-driven retention strategies that work, are scalable and can be refined for your specific segments. 

We know that sounds like a tall order. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Let’s learn more about the exact strategies you’ll need to consider as you map your course to customer retention success. 

What Is Customer Retention?

Building strong customer relationships is key to maintaining their loyalty and attracting new ones. This means staying focused on both retaining your current customers while also working to expand your customer base. 

In order to excel, businesses need to have a good understanding of their customers' habits and preferences, particularly those who are loyal to them. This requires identifying different customer segments and considering their unique pain points.  

If you want to keep your customers happy and coming back for more, you need to have a solid customer retention plan in place. That means looking at your data, figuring out who your customers are and keeping up with what's happening in your market. By doing all of this, you can really get to know your customers and make sure you're giving them what they want.

Here’s the general flow of how things go with a strong customer retention strategy. 

Customer Satisfaction 

Keeping your customers happy is priority number one. You can start by making sure they're satisfied with your services. Giving your customers the chance to share their thoughts can give you useful insights into what they like and what could be improved. 

By taking their feedback to heart, you can build stronger relationships with your customers. This will help you keep them coming back for more, increasing your profits in the long run.

Customer Loyalty 

You should put programs in place to keep your customers coming back for more, ideally tailoring each connection point to their specific needs and expectations. It's not just about making the sale, it's about building long-term relationships.

Reducing Customer Defection 

As you do steps one and two above, you also have a “safety net” in place that actively reduces defection. This can be drop-in cancellation flows with incentives to stay, strategic email campaigns or other customer retention examples that float your boat. 

Rinse and repeat and you’ve got yourself a strategy. 

Importance of High-Quality Customer Retention Services 

You already know retention directly impacts your bottom line as much as customer acquisition. That’s why constantly refining your customer retention strategy is needed, allowing you to provide the highest caliber of service that will eventually boost your customer retention rate over time. 

Here are a few other perks of a high-quality customer retention strategy. 

Boosting Sales Performance 

Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Your brand can get so much more than direct client referrals with a well-rounded suite of customer retention strategies in place. 

With the proper channels optimized to customer expectations, you can expect to receive social media referrals, live testimonials and other forms of social proof. You will also have a heightened brand perception overall, which leads to higher sales performance, conversion rates, and…. 

Increasing Profitability (Overall) 

You can only get so far by grinding, marketing and refining your systems and processes. You have to have the element of social appreciation, industry authority and overall awareness to truly grow — and that’s best done through your clients' input. 

By retaining consumers, you not only get higher sales performance. You’ll have the authority to put your marketing mostly on autopilot and let your brand experience speak for itself. 

Escalating Customer Lifespan 

Last (but certainly not least), you’ll have a rapidly escalating customer lifespan which boosts your overall customer lifetime value (CLV) — allowing you to grow and scale faster than you otherwise would. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your business to others, which can lead to more sales and success in the long run.

These three perks show us that customer retention strategies start positive feedback loops of growth and change. They also show us that, with little up-front investment, you can propel your business to a place of popularity, authority and scalability. 

25 Effective Customer Retention Strategies 

Not ready to invest yet? No problem. We’ll get you teed up for success. 

Let’s take a look at 25 (FREE) customer retention strategies you can begin using today. 

Adopt Customer Service Tools 

There are plenty of free customer service tools to consider adding to your suite as you scale. While they may not be as comprehensive as paid tool suites (such as HubSpot), they can give you a foundation to use as you determine what works and what doesn’t. 

Some top examples of free or low-cost customer service tools for rapidly scaling include ThriveDesk, Honeybook and Zendesk (to name a few!). 

Apologize When You Make Mistakes 

Accidents happen — be it in business or life. A brand that apologizes for mistakes, learns and pivots will be remembered for its agility and commitment to customer retention and customer feedback. Defensive brands won’t. 

Never be afraid to change things that aren’t working for your clientele. Your customer base is the most important variable of your business. 

Inspire With a Mission 

Your brand mission should compel your customers to take action and engage. If it doesn’t, consider redefining it. If it does, you’re already ahead of the game. 

Empower Customers With Convenience 

Did you know 52% of customers report that their purchasing decisions are influenced by the convenience of the product or service they invest in? This means your steps have to be simple enough to seamlessly onboard new customers while being comprehensive enough to keep new and existing ones. 

Remember, customer feedback is key. Consider collecting some about the convenience associated with your tool or service. 

Leverage Personalization 

People don’t want to be sold to.  They want to feel cared for and validated in their preferences. 

Retaining customers often comes down to personalized approaches that resonate with their spectrum of changing needs. Your service offering, messaging and marketing should reflect this value. 

Speak to Your Customers 

It’s cool to keep it casual. Three out of four customers report that there is no such thing as being “too personalized,” “invasive” or conversational — and some of the most successful companies in SaaS (i.e., HubSpot) have found major success with keeping tones cool and crisp. 

Create a Divide Between You and Your Competitors 

You can do this in many ways — via customer experience, excellent customer service, customer surveys, customer retention software and more. You can even use strategic marketing campaigns if they do not directly call out a brand. Instead, focus on what makes your brand better, and run with that. 

Use Subscriptions to Bolster the Experience 

Personalized upsells and enhancements can support a better overall customer experience as you evolve your brand to suit their current needs. You can market these using direct human outreach, marketing strategies and influencer marketing — choosing representatives in a personalized way for members of all segments. 

Use Experiences to Elicit Positive Feelings 

Any time you can elevate your offering into a fully built-out experience, you open the possibility of deeper customer relationships and a higher customer retention rate as a result. Automated customer retention strategies (such as digital marketing campaigns) can make this easy. 

Capitalize on Social Proof 

Social proof is one of the most valuable forms of currency, as it can be used at every point in the customer success pathway. You can use social proof in your marketing campaigns, customer retention programs and customer surveys — reinforcing the belief that your client is in the right place for their needs. You can easily get social proof when you collect customer feedback via customer surveys, allowing them to reflect on their experience. 

Educate Your Customers 

Thought leadership content, “freebies” and informative resources are all great ways to reinforce your brand’s authority and boost customer retention. Don’t be afraid to educate in an engaging, accessible way. 

Surprise and Delight 

An unexpected twist or addition can spice up a marketing campaign and be powerful enough to bolster your retention AND acquisition rates. So don't be afraid to try something new and think outside the box.

Offer Support (on the Right Platforms) 

Communication is important — and rather than sticking to the “expected” platforms, you can show commitment to and awareness of your customers' needs by showing up where they tend to be. For example, a tool geared toward devs could have a forum on GitHub. 

Thank Your Customers 

Your customers are why you exist, and gratitude is paramount to building great customer relationships. Don’t be afraid to authentically thank them in ways they can appreciate! This can look like special sales, drops or add-ons for loyal customers, as well as messaging that reflects your gratitude. 

Provide Incentives (Before a Customer Terminates Membership) 

All too often, incentives are kept to the drop-out sequences just before off-boarding. It doesn’t have to be that way! Profitable customer retention programs can be bolstered by strategically placing incentives to surprise and delight your consumers at every step of the customer journey. 

Build Trust With Your Consumers 

Longevity in the industry, social proof and accurate, knowledgeable thought leadership content are often the best ways to do this. 

Form a Community Around Your Product or Service 

Social interaction is a powerful way to connect with your audience. Creating a community opens up new opportunities for excellent customer service, connection for new customers and previous clients, engagement and more. You can also use it as an avenue to retrain customers through your brand’s evolution through social proof, posts and threads. 

Become Part of a Customer’s Lifestyle 

If you’ve done any product-market research, you’re probably well on your way to creating strong customer relationships with your brand service and product suite. Ultimately, you want to take every opportunity to allow your products to become enmeshed in your customer’s lifestyles, boosting your profitability and brand perception across the industry. 

Establish Loyalty With a One-of-a-Kind Product 

Individuality is key to standing out and making an impression on your users. We’d also extend this strategy to taking on a one-of-a-kind marketing approach and brand voice, as experiences are some of the most powerful things you can sell or associate with. 

Offer a Product or Service That Solves a Problem (But Not Every Problem) 

You shouldn’t (and can’t) sell to everyone. Knowing who you’re selling to (and making each touchpoint a knock-it-out-of-the-park experience) is key to setting yourself apart in the market. It’ll also make you appear more effortlessly authentic, which is always a good thing. 

Keep Things Interesting 

While this is entirely subjective, you can apply this strategy just about anywhere. Whether you’re shaking it up with a new marketing campaign or preparing for your biggest launch, don’t let familiarity become a trap. Your customers love to be surprised (so long as it is in a way that aligns with them!). 

Use Gamification Strategies 

Games are always great for engaging with your customers and providing value. This strategy has become so popular that the industry is expected to grow by 30.1% by 2024.

Try a Referral Program 

You could be missing out if you’re not using a referral program in your business. While the global average referral rate is about 2.35% in any given referral program, that’s 2.35% more prospects than you would have had — and you can exponentially increase the success of your outreach using strategic marketing techniques to market the program overall. 

(In short? It’s an evergreen way to grow and scale quickly, offering you (close to) limited potential.) 

Jump on New Social Platforms 

While some social media pros would tell you to play it conservatively when it comes to “jumping on the trend,” you may benefit from quickly hopping on new platforms that arise. You never know where your customers are or will be — and doing this can give you the illusion of omnipresence. 

Invest In High-Quality Customer Service 

Customer service can make or break your brand’s identity, and it’s an area that you should never cut corners on if you can avoid it. These valued team members are your brand’s voice to disgruntled customers, so training and investment (of both time and fiscal resources) are a must! 

The Future of Customer Retention Services 

When it comes to keeping your customers happy, you've got a few important goals to keep in mind: you want to make sure they stick around, stay engaged and build up your brand's reputation with your target audience. 

The first step in achieving these goals is to learn how to increase customer retention. This will give you the foundation you need to create or improve your current strategy. Some options to consider are referral programs, gamification strategies, add-on subscriptions and personalized communication. 

You might also want to think about creating an easy cancellation process that saves your customers from leaving altogether. If that sounds like something you're interested in, you should check out ProsperStack.

Our churn analysis platform is designed to pay for itself — giving you everything you need for subscriber retention (done right!). 

We’re everything you need to retain customers and boost your profitability. We offer an extensive suite of integration options, hundreds of incentive options and high-quality support that helps you exactly when you need it. 

Connect with us today to learn more!

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