Why do you lose customers? The #1 reason that customers leave you is because they think that you don't care about them and their success, according to a study by the Rockefeller Foundation. Over 65% percent of the survey respondents gave this as the primary reason customers take their business elsewhere.
As Smashing Magazine recently pointed out, it is important to note that price and quality are not among the survey results. Unlike some of the reasons for customer churn like dissatisfaction with customer service, customer's perceived lack of consideration permeates the entire organization from executives and account managers to product development and support staff.
Here are 5 steps to help your organization break this mold and increase customer retention:
Step #1) Get to Know Your Customers Betters
Interview and survey customers to obtain detailed information about why they bought your product, their personal and company goals (both short term and long term), and their communication preferences. Use this data to categorize your customers to segment communication and social interactions. For instance, an webinar invitation to a customer looking to increase sales will be different than your communication to executive whose primary goal is to control costs.
Step #2) Monitor Inside and Outside Your Online Customer Community
Keep tabs on each custom or customer segment's activity in your private customer community, on their website, and on public social networks. This will help you address customer concerns and provide resources to support their initiatives before they approach you, as well as become aware and prepare more effectively for changes in their business.
Step #3) Facilitate Discussion and Connections
Once you have internalized the problems your customers are trying to solve, you can start and facilitate online discussions in your customer community to bring other employees, customers, and partners in to help. Your customers will not be able to find this kind of value outside of your customer community. Knowing your customer's goals also allows you to facilitate connections to partners and other customers that your customers will find valuable.
Step #4) Proactively Provides Helpful Content & Resources
Create insightful content and helpful resources that speak directly to your individual customers' roles and goals. Make your online customer community the hub of information for your customer's functional and industry learning.
Step #5) Build Feedback Loops
Get holistic feedback from customers. Routinely check-in and make sure they know that you want any and all types of feedback. The more you know about your customers' big picture and their day-to-day challenges, the better prepared you will be to keep them as customers.
While it used to take an army to carry out these 5 steps, customer communication technology, such as online customer communities, make it painless and highly cost effective to bring employees, customers, and partners together to make your customers more successful - extending each customer's lifespan with your organization.