The most desirable customer in the world is your customer. While it’s no doubt a thrill to pursue and persuade a new customer to work with your enterprise, for software and subscription-based businesses, the real value lies in customer retention.
The modern subscription-based economy has empowered customers to think short-term, with promises of being able to opt-in, cancel anytime, and leave freely. But your customer retention strategies should be based on long-term thinking. It’s wise to focus on optimizing the customer journey and nurturing a feeling of constant, mutual growth and movement.
The best customer retention strategies build out from a common, cross-functional focus on the customer. It’s called customer-centricity, and it starts with creating a visual and centralized customer information that every member of your team can access. From there, your subscription business can begin a conversation with your customers in order to drive for the business results you promised your customer, and ultimately reduce your customer churn rate. The digital transformation of businesses has given us a wealth of new ways to directly engage with customers and keep the relationship fresh.
If this is starting to sound like relationship advice rather than business advice, that’s because it is. As you’ll discover below, the best customer retention strategies are based on building bonds.
The 5 Best Customer Retention Strategies for Subscription Businesses
We know you need practical, implementable retention strategies, so we’ve gathered up our favorites. These are the five best customer retention strategies for subscription businesses to help you make a practical start today:
- Make your customer data available to everybody
- Understand your KPIs
- Use the right platforms
- Thank your customers
- Don’t stop talking about tomorrow
On with the answers!
#1 Make Your Customer Data Available to Everybody
Retaining your customers depends almost entirely on always knowing exactly where they are within their journey. As such, it’s important that actionable and results-driven data is available even to employees outside of your customer-facing team. You need a system that allows your team frictionless access to customer information across any segment in the sales pipeline.
This freedom of access gives your staff a panoramic view of customer portfolios and helps you actively monitor all customer health signals, leading to more proactive engagement. What’s more, sharing customer data across your enterprise can bring additional benefits, like encouraging voluntary, cross-functional participation in customer-related causes.
Customer-centricity means putting your customers at the heart of everything you do, and it’s far easier to achieve when everyone has the same understanding of the customer.
#2 Understand Your KPIs
One of the ironies of customer success is that the answer to unlocking customer loyalty is often hidden in plain sight within existing data. The reasons why you lose some customers to churn, and why others retain your services, are already in your hands. You just have to track the right data and insights that are focused on results.
Usage and engagement rates are the strongest indicators of customer satisfaction and value, but there are other means of correctly charting the customer journey. Operational metrics, such as support requests and customer feedback, are also vital. It pays to keep accurate health reports of such data across the user, account, product, and transaction levels.
Once you’ve got the right data at your command, you can establish clear, predictive trend lines and start implementing proactive customer engagement.
#3 Use the Right Platforms
Your customers have their preferred ways of reaching out to you, which in turn gives you a clear path to accessing them. Put yourself in their shoes and try to open as many portals between them and your customer success team as possible. Be it social media, directly hosted forums, emails, or traditional call center access, always be available when your customer comes looking for answers.
The bottom line is that once you understand how your customer likes to communicate, then you can establish exactly how best to listen.
#4 Thank Your Customers
We began by comparing your customer relationship to that of a more human variety. What we want to create is a bond, something more memorable than a simple Thank You for Your Purchase statement. So, wherever possible, find ways to celebrate your customer. This could mean acknowledging anniversaries, suggesting further actions based on purchases or interactions, or following up on customer service requests after the incident has been closed.
You can use all manner of automated services fed directly from your CRM—just keep it brief and rewarding. In a world of spam and cold-calling, too much attention can be aggravating.
#5 Don’t Stop Talking About Tomorrow
Momentum. There’s nothing like it to foster excitement within a customer and inspire interest in a business. Include your customers in all your successes and milestones, all your visions, and, most importantly, your wisdom and advice. You know your enterprise is aware of the most up-to-date trends in your industry and the pain points your customers are currently experiencing, but they won’t know you have that knowledge unless you tell them. As a subscription-based business, it’s crucial you let your customers know you have a long-term view of their business needs, and that you can support them through the years to come.
The subscription economy has encouraged customers to think in a non-committal, short-term way when it comes to services and products they subscribe to. It’s up to your customer success team to demonstrate that you’re the partner they need in order to reach their long-term business goals.
Leveraging Customer Retention Strategies
The best customer retention strategies for subscription businesses build an ongoing, two-way conversation between you and your customers. They begin with maximizing what you know about your customers by accurately tracking their journey through your system, and they’re maintained by empowering all members of your customer success team to access and engage with that information. At the end of the day, it’s all about establishing a long lasting, mutually beneficial bond with your customers.
At Totango, we can get your day-to-day customer success operations up and running in weeks not months, so you can quickly focus your team on their newfound philosophy of placing the customer experience at the center of every task they undertake. Request a demo to explore Spark and start thinking customer first.