Are you fully utilizing your resources when it comes to customer retention? As essential as email marketing is, it should never be the only tool in your toolbox.
Customer retention is part of what happens after the sale is closed: the customer success cycle. And successful customer retention can’t happen without… customer success. That means your customer success or support teams.
Here’s how success and marketing can work together to keep your customers, and turn them into your advocates.
THE CUSTOMER SUCCESS CYCLE
Marketers are accustomed to talking about their side of the funnel, where leads are turned into customers. The part of the funnel that we aren’t talking about is on the other side – the Customer Success Funnel.
This is what happens after you’ve converted a lead into a customer. It’s important because this is the part of the funnel where you keep the customers that it cost your company so much to attract.
Stage One: Implementation
This stage involves the customer first implementing your product or service. Depending on what you offer this stage can last a day or a couple weeks.
Stage Two: In Between Implementation and (spoiler) Advocacy
Regardless of whether you call it ‘Development’, ‘Performance’ or ‘Ramp-Up’, this stage of the customer success cycle is where most customers are hanging. By now your product or service should be a part of their regular or daily routine.
Stage Three: Advocacy
The last stage in the Customer Success Cycle is advocacy, where a customer is considered an advocate for your company. At this stage you may have published a case study or testimonial, and the customer is happy to shout your company’s praises any chance they get.
Customers are generally transitioned from the ‘implementation’ to the ‘advocate’ stages through a series of interactions that eventually lead to more customers. If the funnel cycle is completed, these ‘new’ customers are referrals from people that already know and love your company.
MAKING THE DREAM WORK: SUCCESS AND MARKETING
The customer success cycle is where customer retention happens. Your success team may be involved in regular check-ins with the key stakeholders with your customer’s office.
Like any relationship, your customer will likely spend some time in the first couple stages, “getting to know you”, before they may be ready to seal the deal and tell others about how great your company is.
As a marketer, you may have some insight into the process but generally this will be handled by your customer service or success teams.
Without customer success, it’s impossible to begin planning how you’re going to use email marketing in support of customer retention. Your success team has crucial information that you’ll need before you send current customers your email campaigns.
– Bugs your development team is working on
– Features your customers are begging for
– How recent bug fixes are impacting your customer base
– If there’s a major outage or technical issue that’s causing a disruption
– How customers feel about new products and services
How you handle this partnership may take on a certain structure, depending on your team and resources. If you’re not clear on how it all works together, don’t worry. We’re all still trying to figure it out.
RETAINING CUSTOMERS WITH SUCCESS
Start Building Trust: Keep Your Promises
Let customers know what they’re getting now that they’re paying for your service.
Are they assigned a representative to handle their account? Are there resources and promotions they have access to that aren’t available to anyone else? Can they get other perks, like discounts on complimentary products and services?
Hopefully they will have known about these extras throughout the sales process, now that they are a customer you can let them know exactly how to get and use those bonuses.
Track Customers With Success: Implementation > Advocacy
Work with your customer success and support teams to keep track of your customers who have implemented your product and are ready to move on to the next stage. They’ll be able to update your customer profiles just in case they’ve had technical issues or problems with the implemention.
This can help you avoid sending emails too early in the process, and losing the opportunity to turn that customer into an advocate.
Don’t forget to use this opportunity to discover what kinds of communications customers want from you. Use an on-page survey where customers can easily update their preferences, and of course, give them the option to not receive any communications at all.
Promote Your Advocate Program
Make it easy for all of your customers to let you know that they want to be your advocates. Even if they’re a new customer, you want them to know this option is available when they’re ready.
This could mean giving your success team the messages they can hand over to customers at the end of the implementation process, or after helping a customer with a technical issue.
Depending on what email you’re sending you can use a call-to-action that also points customers to your advocate program after they decide to take your relationship to the next level.
Not all of your customers are going to be advocates, and just because you have customers that agree to be your advocates, doesn’t mean they’ll be happy with your services forever.
By working with your success and support teams, you can build your customer retention program into something that truly builds a relationship with your best customers, and helps you find more potential leads.
Purchasing Maropost Marketing Cloud is the best start when trying to improve customer retention, thanks to its infinite features.