What Is Customer Retention?


Customer retention drives revenue at lower cost than acquisition. Find out why that's particularly important during times of uncertainty, and how automation can enhance your retention strategy by driving great CX.

What is customer retention?

Customer retention is the ability to retain, or keep, existing customers. It means tying them to your brand(s) and making sure they are so happy with your product or service that they wouldn’t dream of switching to a competitor. 

Investing in customer retention produces compounding returns: A mere 5% increase in customer retention can produce more than a 25% increase in profits, a report by consultants Bain & Company has found.

What’s at the core of all successful retention strategies?

All good customer retention strategies build a loyal customer base through a number of tactics, but at the core, they all revolve around one thing: The customer experience. This includes anything from their first point of contact with your brand to the way your business handles complaints. Customers having the best past customer experiences are likely to spend 140% more than those who had the poorest past experiences, according to the Harvard Business Review.

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The importance of CX for customer retention in uncertain times

True success comes from forging meaningful relationships with your clients. It's these relationships that keep them spending their money with you rather than your competitors. 

It’s important to remember that, even if you hit choppy waters. The worst thing you can do in times of uncertainty is to panic and start cutting corners in the wrong places. Instead, experts agree that focusing on great CX is the best, and cheapest, way of boosting retention: 92% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience, according to a Salesforce report.

Learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic underline the importance of great CX for customer satisfaction overall: A recent survey by Forbes shows that post-COVID-19, 59% of consumers will care even more about customer experience than they did in the “before times” when deciding which companies to support or buy from. 

How to retain customers through great CX with automation

So how do you turn your CX into a driver for customer retention? By making sure your existing customer base is receiving instant, round the clock support that’s personalized to their preferences and tailored to their needs.

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How can you use automation to improve your CX and retain customers?

  • Providing 24/7 support. Even when requests need to be escalated to an agent, customers receive an instant first response, and a virtual agent can collect info and auto-populate tickets upfront, providing context for a human agent to immediately follow up on
  • Meeting customers where they are with omnichannel, asynchronous support. We’ve entered the age of social messaging, and being able to pick up and continue a conversation across channels beyond phone, email and chat in a widget has become a staple of every digital-first customer experience
  • Personalizing conversations with an API or native integration to your CRM: Not only can automation make it faster and easier to verify users, you can also load past activity, create product suggestions using rich media, or build specific flows for registered users, VIPs, or subscribers. This makes it easy to prioritize and customize support for your existing customers

At the same time, automation maximizes efficiency, saving your business time and money, by:

  • Providing multilingual support: Without automation, our Swiss customer Jackpots.ch would have needed to triple their team to serve the 4 languages their support operates in
  • Deflecting from phone and other channels towards self-service options – which is what travel company Aurinkomatkat did using a virtual agent during Covid-19
  • Rapidly reducing backlogs – just ask our customer Pockit, who reduced theirs by 95% through automated ticketing

Focusing on customer retention to drive revenue is never a bad idea – especially when the going gets tough. With automation, you can balance great CX for your existing customers with maximum efficiency.

Drive revenue with customer retention

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