While growing your customer base is most certainly important, so is retaining the customers you already have. Loyal customers can and will allow your business to thrive for years to come by way of dedicated purchases and a positive influence on other potential buyers.
Why customer retention is important
In order to fully understand how to retain existing customers, you must first understand why retention is important. There are many ways in which a business benefits from having lifelong customers.
The longer customers stay with a specific brand, the easier it is for the brand to become established and top of mind. The most well-known brands will attract new customers easier than will those brands that are lesser known and without brand advocates.
Word of mouth referrals
Customers that are pleased with your product or services will instinctively refer your business to friends and family. Word of mouth is a very effective marketing tool that can help to grow your customer base exponentially without costing you a penny.
Decrease in marketing costs
It has been said that acquiring new customers will cost a business 6 to 7 times more than simply retaining existing customers.
Retaining customers offers many other inherent benefits. Because of the many ways that customer retention helps a business, it should be a priority.
Online tools that aid in customer retention
Once you make a comittment to retain existing customers, you have already made the first essential step towards success. Here are 8 useful apps and tools that will help to turn new customers into lifelong brand advocates.
Batchbook is a cloud-based CRM tool designed for small businesses. It was built with a light squad of employees in mind. Batchbook allows employees to log into the platform and handle issues or customer complaints, regardless of their location. The software not only helps with customer service, but also with managing company contacts and sales by integrating networks and generating leads. A strong CRM tool can help with every step of the customer journey from acquiring customers to retaining them.
Salesforce is a CRM tool that is admired and utilized by many businesses, large and small. Their customer relationship management tool is robust, yet simple, in that it allows businesses to handle each aspect of customer relationships, from sales and customer service to marketing, communities, apps, analytics and more. Users can also administer live web chats, handle email, manage social networks and update calendars, along with a wide variety of other customer-centric activities, all from one centralized dashboard.
Nimble, a high-end CRM system combined with the power of social media, is a great tool for small businesses to integrate their social media, calendar, contacts list, customer emails, messages and special offers into one easily accessible portal. Nimble is a great upgrade for those who are already somewhat responsive to their customers, but looking to enhance customer experience.
Zen desk customer service and support ticket software a simple solution that empowersr customers to help themselves. Like most CRM services, Zendesk combines all of the communications of a business – social media, email, etc. – into one convenient location. The platform also enables businesses to establish a 24/7 customer support center through their website. By creating a self-service community portal, customers can interact with each other to find quick solutions to their problems.
Mhelpdesk field service software helps teams get organized and win more jobs. This tool is a must-have for companies that have employees in the field. Their field management solution will organize and manage service requests, billing, reports and customer relationships.
Dialpad is a secure, enterprise cloud phone system that offers business VoIP, toll free numbers, and cloud PBX & integrations with Google Apps for Work & Office 365. While designed for enterprise customers, it can also be leveraged by fast-growth small businesses. Dialpad offers a suite of features, including an auto-attendant system to improve call experience. Customers are welcomed with personalized greetings, and guided by way of a virtual assistant to ensure professional and efficient customer call center relations.
Insightly is a powerful and affordable online customer relationship and project management tool. They offer everything from quick search for contacts, to file sharing and a calendar of events. Insightly offers small businesses one portal through which all of the companys’ online touchpoints can be accessed. Easily share files, keep track of new leads and contacts and benefit from an automated address book that updates itself.
Sprout Social is a social media management tool that coordinates every aspect of a company’s online presence. It tracks open interactions with other social media users, as well as social media followers. Additionally, it creates a dashboard by which companies can view their entire social media presence in one convenient place. It organizes useful statistics and tasks into helpful to-do lists which helps businesses stay on top of customer interactions.
What online tools and apps do you use to help maintain customer relationships and retain valuable business? Please share. I’d would love to hear from you!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sheza Gary, a NY-based Project Strategist since 2009, has been involved with launching startups and tech companies for 5+ years. Sheza has a keen interest in sharing her own experiences with business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. She loves public speaking. Connect with @shezagary on Twitter.
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