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Any startup is interested in making the user both happy and satisfied with its product. In this article, we will try to figure out how to retain a client.
We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
No business will exist without clients, even the innovative ones. The conclusion is obvious: any startup is interested in making the user both happy and satisfied with its product, and in addition, building a long-term relationship with them. Why consider a long term? Regular customers make purchases over and over again and thus become an inexhaustible source of profit for a startup, and, usually, they tend to recommend the product to their friends. In this article, we will try to figure out how not to lose a client.
The average company loses from 10% to 25% of users per annum. With this, many startups are constantly investing in attracting new leads but it is more important and profitable to focus on how not to lose a client. This approach is reinforced by the fact that today it is much more expensive to acquire a new user than to maintain a relationship with an existing one.
Let’s examine the reasons why business loses clients and what should be done to retain them.
It sounds a bit pretentious, but we live in the era of personalization, and that’s what helps many companies not to lose their audience. Every year, people increasingly dislike being treated like nameless and faceless consumers who are needed only for the business to make a profit. Clients prefer to be treated as individuals with unique needs and specific interests.
What should be done in order not to lose the client for this reason?
First of all, treat them like people, not like wallets or statistics. Show your humanity, it builds trust. Admit your flaws, openly apologize for your mistakes and correct them.
Secondly, it is better to personalize relationships with your audience. The easiest and most reliable way to do this is to enter all the client working data in the CRM system (we will elaborate more about which CRM systems are most in demand in 2021 at the end of the article). A birthday discount, a selection of products suitable for the age, the field of activity and marital status: all this will become the basis for the client to stay with you.
Most likely, it is impossible to minimize the loss of clients here since over time, their customer preferences and interests change. Don't give up, though, there are a number of steps you can take to keep the maximum of your client base and their loyalty.
What to do to retain the client?
Must have is a decent or even impeccable quality of the product. So, if you create a completely new product for the market, think right away about how to make it as solid and reliable as possible. If the product is not up to the mark, there is no point in chasing popularity with the target audience.
Another important point to keep your products interesting for the buyer is trying to be aware of the trends in your market segment and offer new products and services, working on the new designs, and improving your image through useful initiatives for the community to which your clients belong.
Another thing that will help you avoid losing your audience is interacting with the customer at every stage of the purchase journey.
Understanding the client’s way will help you know what value or benefit you can offer them at every stage of interaction with you as a seller. It will also become clear to you at what stage of the client’s journey customers begin to lose interest in the purchase. Here to help you have special software for mapping the user path. This will allow you to directly interact with client’s at different stages of their purchase and see their experience in real-time. More information on what a client’s journey is, how to present it, and what it does for a business, you can read in our article.
This is not about being rude or ignoring buyers when they ask for advice. It is about communicating with different client segments in different ways, taking into account their preferences. For example, 60% of people aged 55+ prefer face-to-face communication, while millennials love text messaging and email communication. Some clients agree and are even interested in taking surveys and learning about new products and services on social media. For others, it is important to receive all information about the purchase, as well as a copy of the invoice by email.
What to do to retain the client?
In order not to lose a client due to incorrect communication, at first, it’s better to study your audience and divide it into several segments based on age, social status, type of employment, and other criteria that are important to you; then develop an approach and determine the most convenient channels for communication with different clients.
Be in the same place as your clients are and speak the same language with them. If your clients are active users of social networks, it is important not only to post regular posts on these channels but also to quickly respond to messages from the clients. If clients come through the website, be prepared to respond to them in real-time in a live chat. If clients need advice, be prepared to contact them by phone or video chat.
You should not immediately reduce the price of all goods, hoping that in this way you will not only lose regular customers but also acquire new ones. If you know for sure that the client is ready to make a choice in favour of a competitor because of the price, find out the conditions for purchasing an alternative product. In practice, it may turn out that the price of a similar product is veiled. For example, a product is sold as part of a promotion or it has paid delivery and basic configuration, while you have free delivery and a more complete package.
How not to lose the audience?
Introduce the practice of personal discounts for regular clients, offer them additional services for free, for example, customization, consultation or delivery.
In addition, you will demonstrate that you value your loyal clients by periodically providing them with additional discounts or implementing client programs.
For example, the merchant ignored the client, didn’t advise him when he asked, or (oh, my Lord!) was completely rude and the client left, leaving a long angry review on Google. Yes, there is an option that this client cannot be returned, but it is possible to minimize the consequences of the harm done.
What to do?
Be sure to apologize and if the complaint was left in open sources, answer it there so that other potential clients can see that you are sorry about what happened, and be sure to explain the reasons. Communicate with the client in person by phone or email, let someone from the company/department management do it. Even if this client left, most likely the situation will be smoothed out.
Here are the two most common ways to find out exactly why you lost a client:
1. Ask the client directly why they refused to use your product
Don't miss the opportunity to get clear feedback from clients who don't want to stay with you. They have no reason to restrain themselves, most likely they will honestly and expressively explain what went wrong.
For example, Groove, which develops a customer service platform for small businesses, has begun sending customers, who didn’t want to use the platform anymore, e-mails asking what prompted them to abandon the product. 20% of customers responded to emails: they talked about errors in the platform's operation that the developers did not know about and UX flaws. This helped the company adjust the customer experience and reduce customer loss. In such letters, you don’t need to beg the former client to return or apologize, a simple request for information on why the product did not fit is enough.
2. Conduct a survey among the employees asking why their clients leave
To get the most accurate information about why customers are leaving and how team members think they can be returned, you have to ensure anonymity: don’t ask to sign a questionnaire or create a survey in Google forms.
Improve the service
If the team does everything to make the client happy, they will most likely come back. If sellers/managers aren’t afraid of losing a client: they are too slow, don’t smile, make mistakes when consulting/communicating, it is unlikely that the client will use the services of the company again. Complaints or negative reviews are a good signal that you have a service gap.
Offer discounts and presents
The client can be returned by motivating them with a good discount or a gift. Launching loyalty cards or a system of points can be one way to achieve this, it will allow users to receive a discount or gift after a certain number of purchases or after making purchases for a certain amount.
For a startup whose product is quite expensive, it might be a working option with a discount on their next purchase or a promotional code that they can share with friends.
Create a loyalty club with privileges for the members
Create a club for clients, where members will be available to have higher discounts, the possibility of faster delivery, significant discounts on service, etc. Depending on what services are provided, you can even enter a membership fee. This is a fairly reliable way to avoid losing clients, especially if the privileges from the membership will solve the client’s painful problems.
Inform about future events and offers
This will encourage clients to come back to you under the influence of the announcement of the promotions. The same thing with the promotion of new products: announce the release, introduce a pre-order, so this will generate interest and retain customers.
Keep the social media updated
This is one of the most convenient tools for maintaining relationships with regular clients. Many subscribe to the accounts of companies, trying to be aware of stocks and news. Therefore, in order not to lose your audience, make sure that there is always up-to-date information in your channels.
Social networks are a perfect mechanism for interaction, since in the brands’ social networks clients often come with questions/complaints, so it is important to respond promptly so that people feel your support.
Through social networks, you can implement many challenges for clients, for example, motivate them to share their stories related to your product and give the authors of the best stories a memorable prize.
Create the mailout
It is an easy and convenient way to keep clients updated on company promotions and news. To create a database of email addresses, ask customers if they are interested in such a service and, if so, ask them to leave an email. You will reach a better effect by the development of your own app, which will allow regular customers to always be aware of updates, promotions, loyalty programs.
Answer the feedback
Whether the review was positive or negative, don’t leave it unanswered; this will help you not to lose the most caring part of your clients. In general, the reaction to feedback for a startup is another must-have: by talking about you, people become brand ambassadors, albeit not the kindest ones, but thanks to them others will learn about you and, possibly, may want to try your product.
Always work on unique selling proposition (USP)
Remember that you are not the only one in the market, and customers for some reason may use similar products of competitors; therefore, in order not to lose existing clients, it is better to constantly work on your unique selling proposition. Don’t try to excessively reduce the price, because this can negatively affect the sustainability of your startup and doesn’t always help to bring clients back. Another thing is to be one step ahead of the competition. Keep track of what is happening in your market segment in different regions of the world, what options and trends appear and don’t hesitate to implement the most interesting things in your own country. A startup is not only an innovative product but also a guarantee that, while staying with you, the client will receive one of the most technologically advanced and modern solutions to his problem.
CRM-systems are customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which is software that helps businesses to organize data for each customer. Through CRMs, the company receives information about how, when and for what amount a customer made purchases from you, how customers behave, what they need from you. Such software allows you to track the tasks that need to be completed so that clients are happy and come back to you.
The review of the most demanded CRM systems in 2021:
Salesforce is software that allows you to organize the work of a company in several directions at once, such as marketing, sales, IT. The software works in the cloud and is fully customizable for the needs of a particular business.
Freshworks is a solution for small and medium-sized businesses, customized according to the needs of a particular company.
Pipedrive is a customer service software for small businesses, allows you to track emails, work with leads, and it offers a good program for basic sales management.
HubSpot is a free CRM system that allows you to manage millions of contacts through marketing, sales and customer service workflows.
Bitrix24 CRM is software with the help of which you can manage almost all the company areas, including interactions with customers, internal and external communication processes.