We all know it costs far more to recruit a new member or customer than it does to retain an existing one, so why do businesses often focus the majority of their marketing efforts on attracting new prospects? Developing a good, consistent pipeline of prospects is certainly important—but having strategies in place to keep your existing clients happy is essential.
With limited time and resources available to many businesses, member retention strategies must be targeted and smart to deliver the best returns. PaySmart’s Business Development Managers recently got their experienced heads together and came up with the following list of successful strategies for member and customer retention:
Show them the love
Make your existing customers feel valued. Hold customer appreciation days and offer them little add-on treats—perhaps a freebie, taste testing or merchandise. Add value to their membership or service by providing exclusive rights or discounts with partners etc. A little bit of love and attention can go a really long way.
Use data to your benefit
Introduce a Net Promoter Score to help you identify trends that may be causing members to cancel their memberships and to gauge the level of loyalty of your current customers.
Communication in the early days after signing a new client is critical. Put a process in place that you follow with all new sign-ups during their first 21 days. This may involve a combination of email, phone and face-to-face communication and it can have a big impact on the longevity of your customer relationships.
Don’t let anyone slip through the cracks
Create a system of customer communication that ensures no one feels forgotten, particularly for clients who haven’t engaged with you for a nominated period of time. In the fitness context, this may kick in when members don’t visit the gym for 2-3 weeks. It should trigger communication with that member—perhaps you could offer them a free PT session to get them back into the gym? Why is this so important? Read on…
Get them engaged
An engaged member is naturally more invested in the relationship while an uninterested member will quickly set their sights on something else. Carefully consider your engagement strategies for each campaign you run.
Ask them what they want
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Don’t second guess what your customers and members might want—ask them! Send a quick online survey or ask them questions when you see them—you may like to give them an incentive to respond. However, doing this as a ‘once off’ is not enough—you need to be taking the temperature of your customer base regularly and responding accordingly. Use the information you uncover to make your service better.
Recruit the right members in the first place
Work hard to really understand your organisational culture and therefore your target market and seek out these customers as a priority—you’ll be far more successful in retaining customers longer term if they were the right fit with your organisation in the first place.
Mix it up
Don’t become complacent and let your services stagnate. Track trends, seek feedback and keep your clients wondering what’s next by changing things up. Introduce a variety of different products/services and prevent your members from getting bored with their usual routines.
Demonstrate your value
Sometimes customers and members find it hard to see their results and when they don’t feel like they’re progressing, they may be tempted to give up or pull out. Remind them of their results and keep the encouragement up and motivation levels high.