Building a business from the ground up takes a ton of work, there’s no doubt about it. As you build your company, you’re going to build a steady customer base. But what happens when these consistent customers start to leave?
Customer attrition, or customer churn, is a term that describes the percentage of customers who stop using doing business with a company. It doesn’t matter what you sell, you should always have a general idea of your customer churn rate.
There are plenty of ways you can keep your churn rate down. It all starts with the customer experience. According to American Express, 33 percent of Americans said they would cut ties with a business if they had just one bad customer experience.
Create a Satisfaction Survey
One of the best ways to prevent customer churn is simple: figure out what people think of your brand. Part of the customer experience is the ability to give feedback. When someone makes a purchase, make sure you have your email list set up to send them a customer satisfaction survey.
If you offer a monthly service you can send out a customer satisfaction survey every few months in order to see how your people feel about the way you’re doing business. It’s also extremely beneficial to send these surveys out to customers who cancel their service or leave negative feedback elsewhere.
Positive feedback helps you see what you’re doing well, but negative feedback can help you learn why your customer churn is high. As you look through feedback, try to identify trends and see where you can improve.
Here is a sample of a Walmart customer satisfaction survey. If the manager looks at a bunch of these surveys and sees that people are rating the product freshness 1-4, that could be a sign that they need to order less product so the stuff in stock is always fresh, which will lead to more customers coming back when they need to shop.
For example, if you notice that many people are leaving because prices are too high, maybe it’s time to go back and see if there is a way to restructure your business model. On the other hand, if you see that customers have decided to move on because they feel like they have received all of the benefits possible from your product, maybe it’s time to think about adding new items and services to your catalog.
Implement a Customer Loyalty Program
If you want to prevent customer churn, creating a loyalty program can help. Loyalty programs come in many different shapes and sizes. Some businesses offer points per dollar spent, which can be used towards the customer’s next purchase.
Other companies have either physical or virtual “stamp” cards that give the customer something for free after a certain number of purchases. These incentives will help keep customers coming back to you instead of going to a competitor.
As you can see here, McDonald’s offers a loyalty program for their coffee drinkers. Every time you go in to buy a coffee, the employee stamps the card. After 5 coffees, you get your 6th one free.
Not only do loyalty programs reduce churn, but they also increase profits. A study by Accenture found that adding a loyalty program can increase profits by 12-18 percent.
Improve Your Engagement
Due to social media and the general technology boom, customer engagement is more important than ever before. It’s now easier than ever for businesses and customers to communicate seamlessly.
When you stay engaged with your customers, you build a relationship with them. People are far less likely to leave a business if they feel like there is a personal connection.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can improve your relationship and engagement with your customers. It starts with creating an open line of communication on your website. Make sure you have an easy to understand contact page so customers can email you if they have any questions or concerns.
If they message you because something is wrong, apologize and make it right as soon as possible. While customers can leave after one bad experience, if you’re willing to make it right, they are far more likely to stick around and stay committed to you and the business.
There’s no doubt that customer churn is going to happen. It may have to do with affordability, a competitor being a better fit, or maybe the customer really has got all the use they can from your product.
Despite the inevitable customer dropoff, you can at least reduce the churn by using these tips to show customers why you’re committed to meeting their needs and improving. Never stop improving.