Customer retention is one of the hardest and most important things to get right in business. New customers are exciting. They cause sales bells to ring. But your existing customers, the ones who have made the decision to stick by you, need some careful attention too.

  1. The Useful Reminder – Be careful not to make your reminders a negative experience by adding any pressure or pinning any blame on the consumer. “Up for renewal” might be a better approach. The most important part of the useful reminder email is that it is USEFUL. Emails reminding customers to come back to the website or shop again without any behavioral or environmental trigger are no better than blanket mass emails. Email me about yet another sale when I’m not ready to buy, and you will likely be ignored. Remind me that I’m about to run out of toilet paper and give me a coupon, and I’ll be right over.
  2. The Sincere Thank You – Customers have a tremendous number of options when it comes to selecting the companies with which they want to do business. According to a much-cited report by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, acquiring a new customer can cost six to seven times more than retaining an existing customer. Showing the customer you’re glad to have them is not a new practice. More and more, however, “customer appreciation days” won’t cut it. Keep customers engaged by periodically sending them personalized emails that reflect their experiences with your brand and the channels they most often use. Thank them on days that are specific to them — a one year anniversary as a customer, a birthday — or surprise them with a targeted thank you and offer when they are least expecting it.
  3. The Social Media High-Five – Sites using social tools to build community among users have one of the most effective tools available for keeping users engaged. It’s nearly impossible to ignore that “you’ve been tagged” notification. But even the most active of social media pages can’t keep up retention without the use of targeted emails. As you assess your site, think of ways to integrate social features and provide email updates that will keep your audience interested and coming back.