“Old friends and old wine are the best.”
This principle perfectly applies to sales. True, attracting a new customer is no simple task. Even if you have the most quality product or service in the market, there is always room for some marketing. And still, the probability of selling to an existing client reaches 60-70%, while the chance of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%. That’s why customer retention is king. Also, recent research indicates that 60% of loyal consumers will talk about their favourite brand with their friends and family, but 34% of them will never buy from a brand again if they have had a single negative experience. With this in mind, improving customer experience by utilising all available resources should be a priority. And that is where multichannel marketing will sure come in handy.
In this article, we take a look at the industry-specific techniques and instruments to discover how multichannel marketing can help with customer retention.
Observe your customers
Measure thrice, check twice, cut once. Before taking any actions aimed at customer retention, thorough audience analysis is needed. There is nothing more important than understanding your consumers before developing a retention strategy for them. To that end, a perfect decision will be creating a customer persona with detailed information on your client’s buying habits, preferences, behaviour etc. For instance, if you’re present on social media, you can try social listening for this purpose. Also, to plan better messaging campaigns, it is worth paying attention to what communication channels your audience prefer. This will help you reveal your customers’ needs, desires, and pain points.
Emulating the consumer’s journey is one of the most effective methods to understand their needs. You can start by exploring your website, make an order and ask for customer support. Going through the entire user experience cycle can help figure out your strength and bottlenecks. It will also give you a hint on whether it is time for some customer retention activities.
Long live multichannel!
Multichannel marketing is selling that occurs across more than one communication channel to reach consumers. Why does it prove effective in getting back the customers? Simply put, multichannel marketing means “selling everywhere“. That means it puts buyers in control and lets them decide whether to interact with your business online, via a phone call, through a text message, in a physical store or in some other way.
Even better, multichannel marketing gives you more control over your audience and adds more flavours to your communication. For example, you’re an online florist. You can sell not only through your main website but also advertise on Facebook, send promotional messages via SMS or OTTs like Viber and WhatsApp, or inform clients about the new goods via push notifications in your app. Multichannel marketing allows for a balanced combination of different channels to develop an efficient customer retention campaign.
Strategies that work
A theory doesn’t work without practice. Here are some helpful tips to make your customers seriously consider staying with your business for years to come.
1. Keep customers updated. It may sound a bit trite, but don’t let your loyal clients forget you – give them a feeling of being a part of your wider team. Regularly informing your subscribers of your new products, services, or industry insights would be a great idea. It works especially well with seasonal services and products. Let’s imagine you sell organic foods. Some fruits and vegetables are in stock only for a limited period: blueberries in June and potatoes in September. Your customers would be eager to know when they could get some vitamins. Use SMS and Viber campaigns to give the buyers what they want. For the most loyal ones, you may even try voice calls.
2. Amplify your loyalty programmes. Customer retention is all about loyalty. 80% of your incomes will come from just 20% of your customers, according to Kevin Kruse, author of “Great Leaders Have No Rules.” That’s the Pareto Principle in action. Another recent research by Bond states that the average consumer participates in at least 15 loyalty programmes but is active in less than 7. Mix these two facts together, and you will get a solid conclusion: having a loyalty programme is a must, but any moves would be in vain without proper communication. A balanced combination of push notifications, messengers and SMS will keep your customers updated on their loyalty programmes and make them scroll through your webpage way more often.
3. Don’t forget the transactional messaging such as timely reminders, shipping notifications, and other relevant alerts. These messages are sent in response to a customer’s interaction with your business (website), enabling cross-channel communication. For example, even a Viber account registration refers a user to verification through mobile networks – thus, to use OTTs, you must first use SMS. But transactional messaging is not limited to onboarding new customers. As mentioned before, there are dozens of use scenarios. You can apply it to track your passengers’ lost baggage as Delta Air Lines did. If your bag is lost, the app will advise you to contact the airline’s customer service directly from the plane and resolve the problem sooner. That makes passengers feel calmer and more confident.
4. Complement geofencing. Being where your customers are is one of the first things you can do to boost your business. For this, geofencing seems to be a perfect solution. Let say you are an owner of a small café in Kyiv. As it’s a large business city, your loyal customers often visit you on their way to work during a business week but never on weekends. How can you solve this problem? Geofencing allows for setting up an automated messaging campaign that targets the users passing within a certain radius. So the next time a client is near your café, you automatically send them a voucher for a free coffee. They may not consider visiting you on Sunday, but the well-timed coupon can tip the scales in your favour.
5. Deliver discount codes via SMS. Customers love feeling appreciated, and the best way to show that you value them is through special offers and discounts. For example, supermarkets often offer discounts on products their buyers frequently purchase. In any case, your client should clearly understand: they are getting a discount for being a loyal customer. To ensure the recipient will see the discount code, use SMS messages since they offer an 8x higher engagement rate than email. Besides, their open rate is even higher – 98%. These are crazy figures, aren’t they?
6. Consider gamification. We all – even the most serious ones – are children inside. That’s why gamification is a highly beneficial strategy. Of course, it’s not a panacea, but when combined with the right channels, gamification brings a lot to the table. And chatbots seem like perfect tools for getting the most out of it. In 2017, Marvel managed to use them to the fullest: the company has launched a chatbot version of one of its most popular and enduring characters – Spider-Man – to promote the launch of its summer crossover series. Thus, fans could interact with their beloved hero through Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM. Gamification goes well together with SMS and messengers, even without a chatbot. Quizzes, quests, easter eggs, and collector’s bonuses will draw customers’ attention to your business.
7. Use conversational commerce – a more recent form of e-commerce that allows clients to communicate with brands directly through chatbots, live chat agents and personalised push notifications. C-commerce covers most of the previous items like a common denominator. Despite a variety of channels available many people still prefer live conversation. When used for customer-business interactions, live chat has an 82% satisfaction rate. The same applies to voice calls. So, securing a balance between chatbots, SMS, RCS, OTTs, and voice calls is essential for a successful business. Never hesitate to provide your customers with a conversational experience when it is an option.
Multichannel marketing is the Gaius Julius Caesar of sales, being equally perfect for increasing traffic, attracting new customers, and retaining existing ones. What is crucial here is to cross the right Rubicon. Becoming food for fish or going ashore is not how you should finish. Balance is the king even here. As multichannel communications experts, we at GMS understand that customer retention is all about the right approach. Our multichannel CPaaS solution – is a single point of access for your marketing channels. Whether you want to build brand loyalty or send customers helpful information, you can communicate through push notifications, messengers, RCS and SMS, mixing and matching them as you please.
Don’t hesitate to contact our experts to learn more about the ways you can amplify your customer retention strategy via multichannel communications.