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How to Reduce Churn and Keep Your Customers Engaged

Updated

Continue to excite and delight your customers—no matter where they are.

We get it, it feels good to get new customers. To hit that monthly sales quota or monthly user milestone. But excitement aside, your existing customers are the biggest investment your company can make. 

Why? According to Forrester, it’s 5 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it does to keep an existing one. And the Harvard Business School claims that on average, a 5% increase in customer retention rates results in a 25 to 95% increase in profit.  

So even a small effort in customer retention pays off in spades.

Because you’re not just saving the cost of replacing your customers: You’re making additional money that can be spent to improve your product, development, marketing and sales pipeline even further. All things that increase the quality of your product and please your customers. 

Those existing customers become even more likely to stick around—and their word of mouth and reviews, along with that improved marketing, makes it even easier to earn new customers, too.

So it’s never been more important to (literally) invest in your customers, through your online events, community, customer support and more. Don’t just keep your customers, but turn them into brand advocates with our best practices: 

Understand How Companies Lose Customers 

Nobody wakes up in the morning wondering, "Gee, how am I going to alienate my customers today?” Instead, customer retention problems stem from things you don’t do—the things that are easy to push to “tomorrow” when you have five deadlines to hit by EOW. So before we tell you how to retain your customers, you need to know how companies lose them in the first place.  

1. Forgetting about their existing customers

Remember those sitcom husbands who, once they got married, went on cruise control, showing effort only when their partner was pissed? When it’s Homer Simpson or Al Bundy, it was almost endearing. 

But when you commit to pay for a service and all of a sudden, you don’t know how to onboard and nobody’s answering your emails, it’s infuriating. And there’s no marriage license in your case, so you’re leaving.

And that’s a huge problem. Because at any time, 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. So if you’re prioritizing new business at the expense of customer marketing, your customer retention will suffer, and soon enough, your revenue will too. 

Example: Any company that leans solely on chat bots and automatic responses to resolve customer service issues. You know who you are. 

2. Failing to respond to changing customer needs and shifts in the marketplace.

We all know those brands that still start seemingly every email with, ”In these unprecedented times,” then using the pandemic to shill a completely unrelated product. And we all roll our eyes. 

What was seen as empathetic in April 2020 reads as repetitive at best, cynical at worst in April 2021. And now that your followers can shade your posts in their Instagram stories, missing these shifts in sentiment can cost you both existing and future customers. 

3. Not creating a sense of affinity for your brand.

OK, what does that mean? The most durable brands don’t just give people a product. People align with—or aspire to—the underlying values they represent. And by virtue of associating with that brand, they create with a group of people who share those ideals. 

Especially in a world where people trust brands more than politicians and the media, this gives people an intangible sense of community to rally around. The presence, size and volume of that community also validates each person’s identity: When you interact with a ton of people who do life the same way you do, you feel like you’re doing the right thing. And you feel heard on a deeper, more personal level. 

Who wouldn’t stick with a brand that makes them feel that way? 

Example: Peloton’s live streamed classes have given ambitious, fitness-minded remote workers a sense of community and competition that keeps them coming back to 5am rides in their living rooms. 

Learn How To Keep Your Customers Engaged

Now that you know how companies lose customers, let’s learn how to keep the love flowing. To keep your customers invested, you need to do three things:    

  1. Create value: Through your content and customer support infrastructure, help your users achieve the goals your marketing promises. 
  2. Stay relevant: Consistently produce content so that you can respond to your customers’ current needs and anticipate shifts before they rock your business. 
  3. Foster community: “Community” is quickly becoming an abused buzzword. But basically, it’s a strategy to engage your audience in an active, non-intrusive conversation. 

That conversation can happen in a lot of different ways: online events, webinars, social media, in-person events and even in empathetic email marketing. 

All of that can create community—the network that validates and inspires your customers on an emotional level. This sets your company apart from the competition in a way that’s really hard to shake—and proves much more durable over the long term. 

1. Create value: Use webinars to make your customers more successful

These days, creating the product is step one. Technologies are advancing more quickly than we can learn them, and we have less time than ever to learn entirely new technologies.  

As a result, customers also expect us to share the playbook for using the tools we make for them—and to help them to achieve all the outcomes we promise. 

So host a series of educational webinars that run through complicated processes, step-by-step. Coordinate with your customer support team to collect the most common questions and address them head-on in your presentation.

This way, your customers will be able to resolve minor snags on their own, saving time for both them and your support team. They’ll be happier with you, and your service and product teams will be able to resolve the truly major issues more quickly. Once you’ve amassed a library of good onboarding content, create a training series and upload it to your media hub to monetize these webinars. 

Also empower your support team to contribute new content ideas and updates informed by their interactions with customers. (Also consider checking your support team’s Slack channel to catch any themes or consistent pain points among your audience.) 

Success Story: Oracle's Service Cloud team transformed customer support from reactive to proactive using webinars designed to anticipate issues before they happen.

2. Stay relevant: Give customers a reason to stay engaged & share your content

Complacency kills. From Sony to Motorola to Microsoft and Skype, we’ve seen huge household names lose out to up-and-comers because they couldn’t pace with their customers’ changing needs. 

But when you’re spending 40+ hours per week talking to the same 10 coworkers about the same product, it’s easy to lose sight of the customer outside your walls. When you’re sprinting to release this new feature or put out that fire, It’s even easier to lose sight of the technological shifts that could threaten your competitiveness. 

Content creation is a great way to break through your echo chamber and respark the connection with your audience.

Whether you host webinars, podcasts or live Q&As, regularly creating online events for your audience challenges you to stay relevant and respond to the world around you (if you don’t, your stats and/or your comments will reflect that very quickly). Well-produced webinars and videos give your customers a great reason to keep in touch and even share your content, growing your brand even faster. 

Through this regular communication, you can anticipate audience needs and send them to product, glean pain points and relay them to support, observe what messaging they respond to and send over to sales. This kickstarts several virtuous cycles of information fueling future growth, all of which benefits your product and keeps customers engaged.  

Success Story: Northwestern created a webinar series that's helped thousands of alumni navigate their careers, while staying connected with the university. This strengthens Northwestern’s value proposition of preparing students to compete in a modern global workforce, while also providing a tangible service for alums and non-alums alike.

3. Foster community: Give your customers something to rally behind.

Have you ever used a Lululemon bag as a lunch box? Argued about Apple v. Android on a first date? Marketed yourself as a Google or McKinsey alum in your Linkedin headline? 

Then you understand that the best companies encourage their customers to identify with their brand on a personal level. When people choose a brand, they’re also aligning themselves with a set of ideals and a group of people who share those ideals.  

That personal connection contributes to customer retention over years and even decades, all of which benefits your brand. Most brands won’t inspire the convicted following of an Apple or Android, but you can lay the foundation for communities through your online events and network. That includes: 

  1. Co-Present with Guests: The more your audience trusts you, the more likely they’ll stick around in the long term. So use your online events to introduce your customers and leads to the people they trust most: their peers.

    Consumers are 92% more likely to trust their peers over advertising when it comes to purchasing decisions, so hosting a customer panel will go a long way toward establishing credibility with your audience. 

    Invite customers to join a panel of guest presenters, giving them the satisfaction of being thought leaders among their peers and giving the conversation broader perspectives. This can yield some insights your five marketing teammates wouldn’t have considered in the boardroom, and contribute to your customer retention strategy. 
  2. Host a Public Chat: The easiest way to create community is by opening up the chat and letting attendees participate in a live chat room. Besides keeping your audience more connected with each other, you can also use the most common questions to inform future educational webinars/sessions or product updates. 

    Pro tip:
    Plant a few of your employees in the crowd to start the conversation if it starts a little slow. 
  1. Conduct a Q&A: During your webinars, open up the Q&A to allow attendees to submit questions. Attendees can upvote questions to send the best questions to the top, giving it the feel of a Reddit AMA. 

    Why spend money on a focus group when you can ask your customers and leads what they need from you in real-time? 
  1. Promote Employee Advocacy: Imagine if each of your team members was regularly sharing your company’s content and mission with their networks. Besides the sheer increase in traffic, your community would get to know the people, personalities and talents that make your brand.

    And they’d be able to relate. When they can relate to the people behind your brand, customers see your company as a group of people doing their best, not a faceless entity that’s trying to extract money from them.

    So have people guest-star on onboarding videos, online events and podcasts, or contribute a blog post. But we’re all busy, so sharing on linkedin is a great value-add too.
  2. Consider creating a VIP segment: No matter your take on special snowflakes and participation trophies, we all like to feel appreciated. That’s doubly true if you spend thousands of dollars with a company, trusting them with your business, developing relationships with your long-time contacts and referring their friends and colleagues to your company.

    Dare I say, we like feeling special. And when customers don’t feel appreciated, they leave. According to LinkedIn, 68% of customers will leave your company if they believe you don’t care about them.

    Key here is believe. The objective nature of your relationship doesn’t matter as much as your customer’s perception of it. Once they begin to feel ignored, they’ll switch.

    So create a VIP customer including your most loyal and/or high-revenue customer, as well as brand advocates that can act as brand evangelists on LinkedIn and other platforms. 

    In return for their continued engagement, give them exclusive access to VIP networking experiences in online events, free or discounted subscriptions to content hubs, physical swag, discounted services and more. Put work into this relationship and you’ll have a group of ultra-enthusiastic brand advocates on your side (and in your revenue stream) for years. 

Want to learn more about how the world's most innovative companies are using online events to drive business results? BigMarker's Account Executives are here to help! Contact us at sales@bigmarker.com to schedule a demo and get started.

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