25 Examples of Customer Retention Strategies

Staying competitive in the current business landscape is a challenging task. Consumers are now constantly bombarded with personalized ads telling how brands can take care of their pain points.

Consumers, on the other hand, also have a lot of options when it comes to spending their money. But they will commit to the brand that can convince them the best.

If we see, getting a new customer is a difficult task. But retaining the old ones is comparatively easy – especially with the help of CRM software.

Businesses now have better access to customer data such as demographics and purchasing habits. With customer retention strategies in place and using CRM software, brands can tune their business and marketing to retain customers.

CRM customer retention strategies brand examples

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Why is customer retention essential in today’s time?

While customer retention helps keep your revenue stream intact, new customer acquisition helps achieve your expansion goals. Therefore, to sustain the competition, you must devise strategies to prevent losing customers and acquire new ones.

According to commonbox.io, around 44% of companies focus on customer acquisition, while 18% solely focus on customer retention. The remaining 40% has both customer retention and acquisition strategies in place.

Repeat customers make a significant part of any business. Consumers who have made a purchase are more likely to make subsequent purchases if they had a satisfactory experience. This benefit is non-existent with new customers as they are more likely to abandon their shopping cart. This issue persists with big brands too. Adobe has reported 75.5% of shopping cart abandonment. Some reasons behind this can be the pricing, need, trust, or availability of payment options.

But on the positive side, a person who has purchased from you before is more likely to buy again. Plus, they can spend more. Word-of-mouth and loyalty can also bring in new customers. For instance, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%, vs. 5 – 7% for a new customer. Because if a customer is happy with your service, he will be willing to invest more in your product. In other words, the chances of cross-selling or upselling are more. Ultimately, you would receive more ROI from an existing customer as you’ll need not spend on marketing again for existing customers.

How CRM helps in customer retention?

CRMs provide you with the tools needed to retain your customers.

A CRM platform contains a lot of information about customers and their interaction with your business. It includes conversations, past activities as well as purchases. It helps you with:

  • Customer data (identity, behavioral, and qualification data)
  • Email campaigns
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Social media responses
  • Customer segmentation for more targeted outreach
  • Provide personalized offers and promotions
  • Notify customers about order updates or a product launch
  • Manage customer support follow-ups
  • Purchase history for customer loyalty programs

Now let’s look at how brands have been using CRM to provide exceptional customer experience and execute their customer retention strategies.

25 Examples customer retention strategies (using CRM) from leading brands

#1 Make use of customer service tools.

The small and medium-sized businesses generally have a small customer service team. It makes servicing customer requests quite laborious. A CRM helps improve the efficiency of customer support teams without having to hire new people. A great example is how Santa Cruz Bicycles provided support to their riders.

The aggregated data from the CRM also helps in product improvement.

Similarly, Decathlon uses CRM to book workshop appointments for customer support. This way, they know every granular details of their customer experience.

Decathlon - Make use of customer service tools

#2 Apologize for your mistakes

Companies will inevitably make errors, but that does not mean that customers will end their relationship with the company. Instead, 96% of the customers, according to a survey by HubSpot, said that they would continue engaging with the company if they apologized and rectified themselves.

HubSpot themselves publicly apologized for an outage in 2018 and explained how they would prevent the situation from happening in the future.

Hubspot - apologize for mistakes

#3 Use experimental marketing

Refreshing your product is a great way to spark interest in the minds of your existing customers. Brands like McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Coca-Cola changed their packaging over the years. Moreover, they also provide experiences to elicit positive feelings about their product.

McDonald’s have their happy meal program. Coca-Cola’s Share-a-Coke campaign is another example. These campaigns also work as free marketing as people share their purchases online, encouraging others to try out.

Share a coke - Use experimental marketing

To track campaigns, lead sources, and other KPIs, CRM is a great aid.

#4 Make use of subscriptions

Incorporating a subscription model into your business is a great way to keep existing customers engaged. However, have a good idea of what your existing consumers want. For instance, Amazon has its Prime subscription program where consumers can access fast delivery, music and movie streaming, and more.

Amazon - Make use of subscriptions

A lot of e-commerce retailers have introduced such a subscription model. Food delivery services now waive off the delivery charges for subscribers.

#5 Make your brand unique

There will be hefty competition if people can compare your brand with another brand. But you can always highlight to your consumers how your products are different. A great example, in this case, is Apple and how they transformed their products from simple consumer electronics to more of a lifestyle product.

You can leverage your customer data using CRM, look at what your customers love about your brand, and try to use those points to stand out from the crowd.

#6 Gamification and referral programs

Gamification is a great way to keep users engaged. This method is something Amazon India does as well with their daily quizzes and Spin-to-Win games. Gamification keeps consumers browsing products for more details as they play the games.

Referral programs leverage social proof for marketing. Uber started operating in India using referral programs where consumers would receive discounted or free rides.

Uber - Gamification and Referral Programs

You can also use a CRM to manage referral coupons and codes for your business.

#7 Speak to your customers

When brands reach out for a one-on-one conversation, it shows the consumers that brands care about their opinions. An example of such a CRM customer retention strategy is Decathlon. They respond to every negative review on their website, apologize and try to rectify the issue. One-on-one conversations can be powerful when you are running an online business.

You can use your CRM to set up KPIs and see how these communications with your consumers help generate revenue.

#8 Offer personalized product/services

Customer data collection also enables personalization. Personalization allows brands to address consumers directly as individuals and not as a crowd.

For instance, you can use CRMs to send personalized mailers to consumers. They can also have one-on-one interactions on social media. Brands like Tesco, Amazon, Spotify, Xbox, Starbucks, and more provide highly personalized customer support on social media. It is possible because they have access to the customer interaction history.

#9 Offer convenience

CRM coupled with ERP can help businesses provide convenience to consumers.

For example, Starbucks has a feature within its app that allows consumers to pay for the coffee even before they arrive at the store.

Starbucks - Offer convenience

Brands like Dominos and Zomato have also adopted this feature, allowing consumers to pay for orders beforehand. Another example is Decathlon. It lets customers pay for the products and then pick the items from the store in a couple of hours.

#10 Give consumers a reason – “why you?”

Show your consumers what you stand for. Consumers often back brands that have altruistic or environmental goals. It makes consumers feel that they are a part of something bigger. For example, Toms donates a pair of shoes to people in need for every pair purchased. Brands like Pela, Thinx, Yes Straws make green products. They also donate to NGOs that take care of the environment. Since the customer plays a role in the contribution, convey the same in the purchase they make. You can also track their contributions over time and let them know the impact they have made. Look at this example from Quickride, a ride sharing app in India.

Quickride - contribution to the environment

#11 Keep things interesting

You can use software tools to understand how frequently customer visits your store. Based on that, you can keep changing your inventory, or you can start a new promotion. For example, Five Below saw that their customers visited their stores approximately once every 99 days. Based on this info, they restock and redecorate at least once every 99 days. It gives customers a novel and FOMO experience. It is also an example of how a CRM customer retention strategy can be data-driven.

Five Below - CRM customer retention strategy

#12 Offer products that solve a single most-difficult problem

You need to understand the reason why your leads are turning into customers and invest heavily in that. For instance, Canva, the graphic design platform, has become so well-known simply because they made the design easy. People no longer have to go through hours of tutorials to design something using Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.

Listen to customer feedback and integrate those in your product and service continuously as your business moves forward. Started off as a SaaS design tool, Canva now offers a range of services like social media post scheduling, video making and editing, and more to retain users.

Canva - Solve customer problems

#13 Design unique accessories

Another way to make your customers stay is to design a product that keeps your customer coming back to you. An example would be Airwick Mist Diffuser. Here, the diffuser works with only refills from Airwick and nothing else.

Glade, Bath & Body Works, and other brands have also designed their scent plug-ins in such a way that you cannot switch to a competing product.

#14 Integrate with the customers’ lifestyle

A great way to keep a customer is to become a part of their lifestyle. It is much easier to keep an old customer if they use the product or the service as a part of their daily life. Take for example, the payment apps on our smartphones. Cash App, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and others have their unique quirks. People using one app tend to stick to it.

Just make sure that you support the services that your customers use frequently.

Apple - Integrate with the customers' lifestyle

#15 Create a community for your product

When you offer a product or a service, you should also create a platform where users can talk to each other. Not only is this a great way to collect user feedback, but it can also help you serve customers better. A great example is Flo, an app for women’s health. While there are tons of apps that help track cycles, Flo allows users to engage with each other and even chat anonymously. It helps address the isolation that a lot of people feel before they get expert medical advice.

#16 Establish a relationship of trust

Transparent marketing is the only most essential element for building trust. Trust is now the new currency when it comes to marketing. Furthermore, brands should also provide something that the customers value.

For example, the brand Minimalist reveals exactly what its product contains. Classy Curlies sells DIY kits and provides customers with blogs on how to use them. By showing your products in action, you can build trust for your products.

#17 Give your customers a reason to stay

Know why your customers are leaving and try to communicate with them. An exit survey is a great way to understand what made them churn.

An example of how to communicate with a customer who is about to leave is that of Adobe. Adobe Creative Cloud offers 2 months of free subscription (and other free services) for those who plan to cancel their subscription mid-way. By giving extra care to customers who want to leave, you can make them stay.

Adobe - Give your customers a reason to stay

#18 Thank your customers

Customers are more likely to stay when you improve their shopping experience. You can go overboard to thank new customers when they make a purchase. The clothing brand Zappos provides sends gifts to customers to show how much they are appreciated. Brands like Chewy, Epic Bars, and ZULZ Bag Co send handwritten thank-you notes. You can provide gifts, samples, even discount coupons. Wool and the Gang share their customers’ projects on Instagram, making them feel like they are in the spotlight.

#19 Offer omnichannel interactions

Offering good customer support is not enough. Brands need to support their customers via channels of their choice. You can even use other tools to get the job done. For example, Slack, a workplace communication tool, often lets people know about their outages on Twitter. Bicycle maintenance brand Looplube uses social media platforms and messaging apps such as Instagram or WhatsApp for training, sales, and support despite having their website. Brands must spend some time in customer’s shoes and understand where they go looking for information.

#20 Use the element of surprise

Surprise your customers by sending them gifts, handwritten notes, or free samples. Use the customer data to market new products and services to old customers. For example, Chewy sends handwritten notes and other similar gifts to their customers to surprise them.

Chewy - surprise your customers

#21 Educate your customers

When it comes to retaining your customers, do not just sell but educate them too. You can offer onboarding tips, provide one-on-one training sessions, provide extensive training videos, and more. For example, the bicycle retailer Bumsonthesaddle hosts training sessions, workshops, and more. Eventually, these training sessions help them to sell bike tools and accessories.

When trying new products, consumers are more likely to trust people they know – their friends and relatives. You can share testimonials, celebrity endorsements, business credentials, and more.

Consumers trust user reviews extensively. However, word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing strategies that allow brands to use current customers to get new ones.

Bumsonthesaddle - Educate your customers

#22 Leverage Social Proof

When trying new products, consumers are more likely to trust people they know – their friends and relatives. You can share testimonials, celebrity endorsements, business credentials, and more.

Consumers trust user reviews extensively. However, word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing strategies that allow brands to use current customers to get new ones.

#23 Collect extensive feedbacks

Feedbacks allow consumers to expose potential problems with the brand. A customer may be unhappy with the purchase procedure even if they like the product. Or a customer dislikes the shipping procedure, but the brand uses third-party shipping, and there is no way to improve it.

Surveys allow customers to express their opinions. The shorter the survey, the more feedback you can collect. If you want comprehensive feedback, you can even give incentives to customers, such as discounts or vouchers.

For example, Best Buy gives points for writing surveys, which users can redeem at the store. Starbucks launched My Starbucks Idea back in 2008 to improve its services.

#24 Make returns easy

For SMBs, processing returns can be difficult and may even incur losses. However, to ensure that customers stay happy, you need to make returns and refunds easy.

For example, flower and gifts retailer Ferns N Petals instantly provides a refund or replacement if the product is unsatisfactory. Ikea has a 365-day no-nonsense return policy. Casper takes it a step further and donates returned items to charity. When you create a return policy for your website, be clear, concise, and use simple language. The Bonobos return policy page is a great example.

#25 Reward loyal customers

A great way to keep customers coming back is by creating loyalty programs. You can use a points system that The North Face uses. Alternatively, you can implement a VIP membership program like Barnes & Noble that offers discounts every time you shop. You can even have a tier system that e.l.f. Cosmetics use. It is also a way to incorporate gamification into the rewards program.

The north face rewards

Conclusion

Keeping your old customers is not only easier, but it is also more profitable than solely focusing on new customers. These twenty-five customer retention strategies can help you tune your marketing campaigns and use your existing business tools more effectively.

LeadSquared is a leading CRM software trusted by over 1000+ brands worldwide. If you are looking for sales and marketing automation along with all the essential CRM features, LeadSquared is the way to go.

For more information, please feel free to contact us at marketing@leadsquared.com

Nidhi Agarwal

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