The customer experience journey
From the moment a person hears about your brand, he embarks on a customer experience journey. If the journey is positive, he might buy your product or services, and then you want to delight him to retain him as a customer. Customer retention refers to the activities your company does to keep their current customers. It reflects “the state of mind that customers have about a company and its products or services when their expectations have been met or exceeded. This state reflects the lifetime of the product or service experience.” Since you’re not in the customer’s mind, you need to perform research to make sure your customers are happy with your products and aren’t going to switch to one of your competitor’s. Qualtrics Predict iQ can actually analyse your research and help you predict which customers are happy and which are about to churn. This process will help you identify areas of dissatisfaction among customers and put a plan in place to retain them. Before you can start predicting customer churn and improving retention rates, you need to measure retention factors with surveys.
Customer retention strategies
Effective customer retention strategies must focus on measuring and achieving the following objectives:
- Maximise customer satisfaction for current customers
- Identify dissatisfied customers before they leave through a customer retention program
- Measure why current customers leave
Customer retention requires attention to customer details. Establishing personal relationships is difficult, especially as businesses grow. We are all aware of businesses that have lost their “personal touch” and seemingly no longer know either your name or your needs.
Effective customer retention management can help you build your business without losing the friendly face on your business. As business evolves, the customer retention target is continually moving and customer retention surveys can be good for the following:
- Discovering the defects
- In-time identification of dissatisfied customers
- Employee involvement
- Benchmarking of satisfaction and customer retention—loss levels
- Planning of customer retention solutions
- Establishment of standards for excellence
- Process management and improvement
- Stretch objectives for continued satisfaction and improvement
Why customers leave
Typical reasons for customers leaving include:
- Poor service
- Lack of personalised service
- Cost / value breakdown
- Lost customers (contact information outdated)
- Competitor superiority
- No longer in the market (doesn’t need)
Customer retention survey best practices
The best approach to customer retention is to monitor customer satisfaction and build customer relationships.
Customer retention by its very nature is individualised and will vary by the kind of product or service provided, the types of customers served, the number of customers served, the longevity and frequency of customer/supplier interactions, and how you intend to grow your business.
Customer retention approaches
Here are three very different approaches to customer retention that produce meaningful and useful findings:
Post purchase evaluation
Satisfaction feedback is obtained from the individual customer at the time of product or service delivery (or shortly afterward). This type of satisfaction survey is typically used as part of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) Retention System and focuses on maintaining a long-term relationship with the individual customer.
Periodic satisfaction surveys
Satisfaction feedback is obtained from groups of customers at periodic intervals to provide an occasional snapshot of customer experiences and expectations. This type of survey monitors the general “health” of the company and products and can be used to provide tracking benchmarks.
Continuous satisfaction tracking
Satisfaction feedback is obtained from the individual customer at the time of product or service delivery (or shortly afterward) and then periodically thereafter. Customer retention scores based on the satisfaction tracking surveys will provide flags and a management tracking tool to assure quality is at high levels over time.
Customer Retention provides an understanding of the customer’s expectations and satisfaction. Satisfaction surveys typically require multiple questions that address different dimensions of the satisfaction concept. Satisfaction measurement includes measures of overall satisfaction, satisfaction with individual product and service attributes, and satisfaction with the benefits of purchase. Retention measurement is like peeling away layers of an onion— each layer reveals yet another deeper layer, closer to the core.
At a minimum, customer retention surveys should address:
- Service concerns that seem to cause customers to leave
- An evaluation of the competitiveness of current pricing
- An evaluation of advertising campaigns, features, and benefits promised and delivered
- An evaluation of competitor advertising campaign
- Implement an “exit interview” to determine why the customer is leaving or has left
- Develop a customer retention problem escalation program that has the power to present incentives, counter-offers, or resolves all problems
Each of these methods will increase retention through customer intercept, development of measures to key in on customer problems, and measures of the degree of success.