April 20, 2022
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a demo and get started.