I have written several times on how crucial retention is to customer lifetime value and thus the survival of your business. I recently came across an article by Mike Bal in Entrepreneur magazine that does a great job of showing some tactics to improve retention through higher loyalty:
- Feature fans in your content. By putting your users in the game or on your fan page, they will become champions of your product. Take good content that they have shared and highlight it, let them know you appreciate their efforts.
- Give fans something they do not know they want. With your very engaged VIPs or fans, go to their Facebook page or Twitter account, see what they are interested in and give them a gift. For example, if they love guitar, give them a gift card for guitar accessories.
- Credit customers for feedback you use. Given that we are all constantly improving our products, when one of these improvements is based on customer feedback let the customers know. This could be from survey results, posts on your social media channel or direct communications with the customers.
- Upgrade customers. With your players or users that are actively and positively engaging with you and other users, give them an upgrade. This could be higher levels in a game or a bump in their loyalty status level.
- Be there for your customer. Make sure that people who have issues and discuss them on social media (whether your Twitter handle, Facebook page, etc.) get these issues addressed. Even if you have separate support channels, your social media team needs to be proactive in dealing with issues that are raised outside of traditional CS channels.
- Help users do something they love. Find out what customers really care about and then enable them to make a difference. It could be charitable, it could be family based or it could even be personal. The bottom line is you will increase brand loyalty if you empower your users to do something they love and care about.
- Give users something your competitors do not. This benefit to build loyalty can be features, services, resources, or whatever else your customers will place some value on. It could also be a Facebook page with player tips, a blog with useful content, etc.
- Be more convenient. This is crucial, people want things that are easy and simple (even if they hide complex capabilities). Different implementations of being more convenient would be making purchases (or returns) easier, simple log-in, accessing your service wherever they are, using your product in their preferred language, etc.
- Relieve some pain for your customer. Go beyond your actual product and give them something that makes their life easier on a regular basis. Understand your customer, figure out what would make their life easier, and build it. When you can pull this off right, you make your customer rely on you for more than just your product or service, and that makes you almost irreplaceable.
- Prioritize quality. It is not only about having a unique product but make sure it works perfectly. One of the biggest drivers of churn (the opposite of loyalty) is product performance. Make sure your product or game does what it is supposed to every time your user interfaces with it.
These ten tactics will help boost retention for any type of company, and by increasing retention you are increasing the value of your users. Many of them will also make them brand advocates, where they tell their friends about your product, further increasing their value to you. With loyal customers, who provide a steady source of revenue, you can also better manage cash flow (as they will provide constant revenue) and deal with situations when you are unable to acquire new users profitably.
- Retention is a core element of customer lifetime value and by building brand loyalty you are increasing long-term retention.
- A great way to increase loyalty is to integrate fans with your community and marketing efforts, e.g., put them in your content, call out positive contributions, use their ideas for product improvements.
- Help your customers love you by giving them something they don’t normally get, both inside your product and directly from you (such as gifts).