Reducing customer churn (aka lost customers) is a top priority for companies operating in the business-to-business (B2B) space, especially because this metric has a direct impact on profits. According to Econsultancy's 2014 "Cross-Channel Marketing" report, 82 percent of companies agree that retention is cheaper than acquisition.
Despite the tremendous value enterprise leaders place on retention, the report also found the majority of marketers spend more of their time on acquisition. However, this approach is quite flawed. Instead, businesses should view the process as a three-pronged approach that depends on marketing, customer support and sales working together to drive long-term success. By focusing on the customer experience after a client has moved through the sales funnel, enterprises can reduce customer churn.
Here are four key strategies businesses can employ to improve customer retention:
1. Effective onboarding
The first step toward reducing churn is to align with client expectations during the onboarding process and ensure customers are fully aware of their solution's capabilities as well as their options for support and solutions. Typically, onboarding processes focus heavily on training and development, but business leaders should also take this time to understand the customer's goals and communicate steps to achieve those objectives, including best practices. By offering an exceptional customer experience from the start, companies can promote longevity in their business relationships. For SaaS companies, onboarding is even more essential.
"Companies foster reactive customer experiences by waiting for a client to contact their support team."
2. Proactive communication
Far too often, companies foster reactive customer experiences by waiting for a client to contact their support team before beginning a conversation. Instead, businesses should reach out to customers proactively and anticipate their needs. Take the time to analyze how a customer is using the product as well as their relationship with customer support. Reach out to clients regularly to give them tips and pointers on how to use software more effectively, and start conversations with customers who aren't using the tool as often as expected. Finally, implement an effective communication strategy for new features and updates.
3. Actionable research
Research is a crucial part of customer retention that can help reduce turnover dramatically. With the right online support software, businesses have access to valuable information about where customer relationships faltered and patterns that lead to attrition. For example, if multiple clients contacted customer support about a capability, a tool, or feature the product didn't offer, businesses can use this insight to improve their offering and maintain lasting relationships. Moreover, companies should conduct research to determine the strong points of their customer experiences that lead to retention.
4. Exemplary support
Lastly, top-notch customer service is essential to creating positive experiences that drive long-term relationships with clients. As research from Accenture revealed, 53 percent of U.S. consumers switched providers due to poor service in at least one industry, and 80 percent of this turnover could be avoided through better resolution. Companies that leverage advanced B2B customer service software are in a better position to give clients the resolutions they need quickly. Through a collaborative, interactive approach that gives customers access to multiple channels to receive support, businesses can reduce churn and provide exemplary customer service.
For more tips and tricks, download our white paper on Customer Service as a Growth Strategy: