It is every productized service owner’s dream to master the art of customer retention. Once you’ve onboarded a new customer, how can you ensure that they never leave and continue to use your service long into the future?
Customer retention and churn rate shouldn’t be left up to chance. If you are not actively nurturing your existing customer base and providing them with consistent value, they may consider abandoning you. Losing a customer is never a fun experience. In some cases, the unexpected event can leave you scratching your head, wondering where you went wrong.
When you have been providing a customer with a service for a considerable amount of time, their decision to finally pull the plug is unlikely to be because of a single incident. Usually, long-term customers that decide to call it quits will have experienced multiple instances of micro-aggression. These are small, negative events that ultimately lead to churn.
I believe that customer retention is directly linked to customer success. A productized service that can consistently help people solve a particular problem is likely to have a sustainable value proposition that can last for the long-term. If you provide customers with continued value, you will be able to reduce churn and increase customer retention.
In the short term, customer retention is fantastic for your MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue). However, the importance of maintaining a customer base for a period of time extends beyond this. As part of your growth marketing strategy, you need to build an army of brand advocates for your productized service, who will provide you with testimonials and case studies.
If you look at customer retention through the lens of the customer journey, it really pays to nurture, support, and protect your customer base. The longer you can keep a buyer or client, the more likely they are to become an advocate for your productized service. Social proof is one of the most effective forms of growth marketing, which is why you need customers that will one day be prepared to champion your service.
In this article, we are going to explore several ideas on how you can increase customer retention for your productized service. These will be concepts that you can easily develop and implement into your business to strengthen your ability to keep customers engaged with your productized service.
Schedule A Catch-Up Call
As part of your routine, schedule bi-weekly or monthly calls with your customers to see how you can help them to get increased value from your productized service. Increasing the amount of value that a customer can get from your service is vital for customer retention. When the value proposition of your service starts to diminish, your customers may question the need to continue with your service.
Going out of your way to call a customer will show them that you are committed to their success. After all, customer success is often the driving force behind retention. If your services can consistently deliver exceptional results for your clients, they are unlikely to leave you any time soon. Also, a catch-up call can add a personal touch to your customer service.
With customer communication often taking place behind a screen, customer catchup-calls can help to facilitate the conversations that often go unsaid via email. This is the opportunity for you to explain your ideas to customers and see where they need your assistance, sharing strategies with them on how they can further capitalize on the value your service provides.
Send Direct Mail Surprises
Who doesn’t love an unexpected gift in the post? If you can get this right, it has the potential to make your customer’s day and put a beaming smile on their face. In recent months, I have been using Handwrytten, a service that helps you to scale your handwritten outreach, producing direct mail postcards and letters with custom copy for a personal touch.
Handwrytten also allows you to choose from a range of original card designs for almost every occasion. I highly recommend that you create a calendar for the dates of your customer’s birthdays. You can then send out a handwritten birthday card with a gift voucher attached. This will certainly catch at least a few of your customers off-guard. You simply cannot put a price on these special moments.
Offer Loyalty Incentives
As time goes on, you could consider the possibility of designing loyalty incentives to improve customer retention. By offering rewards to your customers, you are showing that you appreciate their business. In the future, this loyalty will be returned further down the line, when your customers become brand advocates. It’s a transactional cycle that is key to the long-term growth of your business.
So, what kind of loyalty incentives and programs could work well for your productized service? You could use gamification techniques to encourage customers to refer your business to their friends. The power of social proof should never be underestimated. However, getting customers to voluntarily create it can be challenging, especially when you’re still trying to build a long-term relationship. For this reason, you can incentivize referrals with rewards.
The more referrals your customers generate, the more rewards they will receive. When you offer these incentives exclusively to your customer base, it gives them yet another reason to continue being a paying customer of your service. After all, who doesn’t enjoy receiving benefits and rewards for simply referring friends to a business?
Leverage Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Customer satisfaction surveys are the most effective way to immediately flag specific issues that a customer is having with your service. This will enable you to quickly address these issues and continue on your journey of customer retention. As we said earlier, customer success is a crucial component of retention. If your customers are not completely satisfied with your service, it will only be a matter of time before they quit and look elsewhere.
When a customer expresses discontent with your productized service, you need to resolve the issue immediately to prevent an increase in your churn rate. As a service provider, you are always going to experience ‘difficult’ customers with potentially demanding expectations. Regardless of a customer’s character, you should always strive to deliver exceptional service, because there’s always a chance that they might recommend you to a friend.
Satisfaction surveys enable your customers to rate and assess various aspects of your productized service. It also allows customers to voice their opinions on your business, making them feel as though you value their experiences and insights. Upon collecting these surveys, you will be able to identify common areas of improvement.
Overdeliver & Exceed Expectations
I understand that this is often easier said than done. Still, you should always try to overdeliver and exceed customer expectations. Your productized service is designed to help a customer solve a very specific problem. From the initial onboarding phase, you need to show customers that you are prepared to do what is necessary to help them reach their goals.
Repeatedly under-delivering can manifest into a series of microaggressions, leading to frustration from the customer. Before long, the customer might start considering whether they should continue using your services or not. The pace at which this unfolds depends on the severity of the underperformance.
You can overdeliver and exceed expectations in a variety of ways. Whether that’s delivering a service ahead of schedule or enriching a service to increase the value proposition for your customer. It may not always be possible to go above and beyond for your customers on a regular basis. However, as time goes on, you should endeavor to do so as much as you can to boost customer satisfaction and retention.
Re-Engage Customers With Guides & Tutorials
Educate your customers with resources and materials on how they can extract maximum value out of your productized service offering. These could come in the form of guides and tutorials that enable your customers to make the most out of their service package or subscription. Your service is only worth the amount of value that your customers actually receive. If they are not getting this value, you need to give them pointers.
This educational content can be delivered to customers via a monthly email newsletter that consists of both written and visual content. You can also utilize the blog page on your website to post guides and tutorials on various aspects of your service as these may also be useful to potential customers, helping to build consumer confidence.
With the correct strategies in place, you can easily lower your churn rate and build an army of brand advocates for your productized service. Ultimately, it all comes down to maintaining and increasing the initial value proposition of your service throughout the customer journey. If you can do this, the sky's the limit for your productized service.