February 15, 2018 Katharine Opie

2 Strategies to Retain Customers and Acquire New Business

Strategies to Retain Customers and Acquire New Business


The fight between acquisition and retention has been a long fought one. Many businesses look for the right balance to reap all the benefits of retention while still aiming for total market dominance.

But, what about strategies that essentially kill two birds with one stone? Focusing on retention, while feeding ideas back to marketing on new lead generation methods?

We suggest two strategies that strike a balance just right between retention and acquisition.


1. Alignment between departments

We’ve spoken before about the relationship between sales and marketing, but this needs to be extended to the customer services team, technical support and so on.

Shep Hyken once said:

“Customer service opportunities are everywhere if you just pay attention. Observation is the key. Look, listen and you will notice opportunities to create customer amazement.” 

You obviously made a great first impression on your current customers, but this can’t fizzle out when the payments come in.

How does this help retention?

Consistency is key to retaining customers. An alignment between all functions will keep a consistent tone with your current customers; this will maintain expectations and encourage your clients to get in contact with questions or queries.

Detailed CRM notes will create a timeline of each client, include all the ups and downs and previous interests they’ve shown in other products/services.

Make sure each department has agreeable access to this information and that an audit trail is available to see who has dealt with what at any given time.

How does this help acquisition?

Now we have a detailed CRM full of notes on past interactions you’ll begin to get a feel as to whether the customer is a brand advocate, positive econ or negative econ (new blog coming on this!) and how the conversation may play out.

If you see they have had great experiences with you and that they’ve shown interest in other products and services now may be a great time to ask if it’s still something they’re considering. Alternatively, they may have other businesses that they’re happy to refer.

Referrals have higher conversion rates and higher lifetime value, yet many businesses do not have a formalised referral programme to scoop up the ‘quick wins’.

Aligned departments open a new wave of communication which should make room for referral leads to move freely to the right department.


2. Use Complaints as Free Research

There may seem something odd about this, but Bill Gates said:

“You learn the most from your unhappy customers.”

Ideally, you wouldn’t be having too many unhappy customers to be learning from but take it as an opportunity to gather comprehensive feedback on what is and isn’t working within the business. This doesn’t just mean your NPS score and a couple of other numbers, get down to the nitty-gritty.

How does this help retention?

It seems evident that rectifying a mistake would lead to an unhappy customer becoming not so unhappy.

But businesses who harness the ability to admit mistakes and work with customers to rectify the situation will develop more loyal customers.

Regular catch ups with clients will show them you care, especially after a complaint. Follow up with a courtesy call to make sure there is nothing else you can support them with and how they have found the product/service after the initial issue.

If you’re seeing a pattern of similar complaints it may be worth looking at the alignment between departments, this can often be seen with miscommunication between sales and customer services where prices, contract length and special offers haven’t been communicated properly.

How does this help acquisition?

The complaints you get from customers will provide you with feedback to help shape future marketing strategies.

Complaints need to be turned into data to be used by marketing. If there are certain areas which aren’t being effectively communicated, or if expectations aren’t being met this needs to be rectified before future customers decide on your products and services.

Market the improvements you’ve made based on these complaints, demonstrate your customer-centric values in your marketing activities by telling prospects how you work for your customers.

These strategies will by no means be implemented overnight and will take work from all departments to get right but will benefit both your retention and acquisition aims.


Customer Interviews by Sonnet:  Find out more

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