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A Better Approach to Customer Retention

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Welcome to part 1 of 6 for our How to Improve User Retention series. Each week, we’ll provide a new post with best practices, advice, and real examples on how to keep your customers happy, engaged, and buzzing about your product. We’ll chat about high level planning strategy, how to apply specific advice, and point you to some of the web’s best tools. Enjoy!

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A Better Approach to Customer Retention

  1. 1. F R A M E D DATA How to Improve User Retention – A Better Approach
  2. 2. How Do I Improve User Retention? How Do I Reduce Customer Churn?
  3. 3. Filtering out the noise. There’s a lot that you can do to improve user retention. Obvious as it is, the statement is significant. Especially when there exists an ocean of articles on retention. Every resource has their own n-step guide to improving user retention, with advice covering everything from product focus to customer onboarding. With so many good ideas floating around, even we were feeling overwhelmed. So we decided to take a different approach…
  4. 4. We want you to step back and map out a high level strategy to tackle customer retention. Instead of reading another shotgun approach laundry list, today is all about creating structure for measurable success. If you’re strapped for time, make sure to check out our full user retention mind map at the end!
  5. 5. Customer Support Customer Success Engagement Marketing User Retention Basics Product To begin organizing our thoughts, we’re big fans of using mind maps*. *Remember to check out our full mind map at the end of the slideshow!
  6. 6. Strategy #1: Product
  7. 7. Making something people want is at the heart of product development. It also includes setting, managing, and exceeding your customer’s expectations. Though we didn’t officially rank our categories, solving customer pain trumps all. A pain solving product does allow for higher tolerance when other portions of your business are lacking. Make something people want But be careful, you can only push the patience of your customers so long before they leave for greener pastures. As we know, grumpy customers are less likely to return once they’re out the door.
  8. 8. Ask Yourself: • Whose problems are we solving? • Are we delivering on our promises? If not, how can we improve? • Do we have the right price point for our product? • Are we reaching the right customers?
  9. 9. Take Action Today: Talk with your customers about their needs through customer surveys, social media, or sending personal emails with a Skype offer. Take that feedback and direct it back into product development. Warning: Be cautious of latching onto every piece of feedback from customers. As the founders of 37Signals famously wrote in their New York Times best selling book Rework, you need to “Say No by Default”. Meaning, don’t let your customer’s thoughts fall on deaf ears, but be aware of having a bad product market fit.
  10. 10. Your product needs to work. Once we’ve gotten past making sure we have something customers want comes the question of how well does it actually work? Making sure your product works well includes technical programming, user experience design (UI/UX), and a bit of customer onboarding to make sure customers know how to use your product properly.
  11. 11. Ask Yourself: • How well does my product work to accomplish my customer’s goals? • Technical problems: How fast does my app load? Is it full of bugs? • How’s our design? Is our app frustrating to navigate?
  12. 12. Take Action Today: Get feedback from your customers (notice a pattern here?) and find out what is frustrating. Nothing beats getting face to face with your customers. Your goal is to get yourself into the user’s shoes and find out where they stall. Suggestions: Contact three of your customers, ideally ones who have contacted your customer support, and schedule a call + screen share session. Have them walk through their process. You’ll be surprised by how easy it can be for them to get confused. Use services like Usertesting.com which allow you to enlist random users to visit your site and go through the user process. Though you can target specific demographics of users, keep in mind these users are accustomed to going through processes like yours.
  13. 13. Strategy #2: Engagement
  14. 14. Debunking myths about customer loyalty. 1. “Customers want to have relationships with brands.” The truth: 77 percent don’t. 2. “An increase in interactions is always the answer.” The truth: Your customers can suffer from information overload. 3. “Loyalty comes from regularly engaging with a brand.” The truth: Brand loyalty is built on shared values. Source: http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/05/three-myths-about-customer-eng/
  15. 15. Ask Yourself: • Is our blog helpful? Or does it feel like an extended sales page? • What do our users care about? • What topics are being discussed on social media? Though painful to hear, let’s be real. Your customers don’t actually want to hear from or about you all the time. Unless you’re Facebook or Twitter, your company is just another name on a long list of services to remember. The best way to avoid engagement fatigue is with strategic check-ins and a focus on providing valuable knowledge or info.
  16. 16. Take Action Today: Suggestions: • Review your Twitter stream and see if you’re adhering to 5-3-2. Ideally, you’ll want to share: 5 posts from others, 3 posts from you, and 2 posts about you. • Respond to unanswered questions on your blog. • Base your next three blog posts on topics found in your social media stream.
  17. 17. Strategy #3: Customer Support
  18. 18. Customer support is also known as customer service, customer happiness, and to a certain extent customer success. We like the idea of supporting our users, so we’ll run with that. In short, customer support is about being available to address customers’ questions, comments, and concerns about your product or service. The customer is always right.
  19. 19. Ask Yourself: • How fast are we returning customer inquiries? • Do we have established guidelines on how to interact with customers? Warning: On speed, be careful your customer support responses aren’t so quick that they seem impersonal. On the other hand, are your customers going through “15 Minutes of Hell” each time they call?
  20. 20. Take Action Today: Suggestions: • Review your customer service inquiries and update your FAQ. If your customers are confused, your documentation is probably lacking. • Work directly with customer support staff to set guidelines. Are they smiling on the phone? (It helps, trust us). • Even as the CEO, make it a point to answer customer inquiries each week.
  21. 21. Strategy #4: Customer Success
  22. 22. This relatively new term has been pioneered by the experts in the space, Gainsight, If you’re interested in learning more, they even host their own conference called Pulse which specifically teaches businesses how to build customer success teams. If Customer Support is “reactive”, Customer Success is “proactive”. Customer Support focuses on servicing your customers’ inquiries in a timely and helpful manner once they’ve reached out. Customer Success is about working alongside your customers to ensure they are accomplishing their goals.
  23. 23. Ask Yourself: • How good is our onboarding process? • Are we getting a lot of customer inquiries about our product and how to use it? • Alternatively, are we getting no inquiries? (Silence can be just as dangerous). The goal with customer success is to ensure users get the most from your product by being equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to meet their needs. This could include webinars, onboarding docs and modules, tutorial videos, and live support.
  24. 24. Take Action Today: Suggestions: • Make a screen cap video to walk your customers through your onboarding process. • If your product requires many steps, plan out what your 5-10 tutorial videos will cover. • Write a blog post on a feature that not many people know about. Once your customers have found success, make it a point to contact them and take notes. With their permission, turn this info into a case study to guide future customers. An added benefit of having a solid customer success plan is the opportunity to transform your customers into advocates.
  25. 25. Strategy #5: Marketing
  26. 26. Marketing Is About Providing Value, Not Selling Product. Engagement emails should focus on informing and educating. Want to announce a new feature? Make sure your customers know how the new feature can solve their problems. Ultimately, good marketing ensures your customers get what they want through the rest of your customer retention resources. “Marketing” includes tasteful email campaigns, well-timed push notifications and emails (with services like Mailgun, Mandrill, and Customer.io), inbound marketing (blog posts, content), and more.
  27. 27. Ask Yourself: • When’s the last time we sent an engagement email? • How sales-y is our ad copy and social stream? • Are we targeting the right customers to begin with? • Or are we trying too hard to sell the wrong market?
  28. 28. Take Action Today: Suggestions: • Plan out next month’s weekly email drip campaign. Don’t just talk about product. • Write a blog post about happenings in your industry. Challenge: make zero reference to your company. No sales. Bad marketing will get you tuned out
  29. 29. Putting it all together As you can see, there are A LOT of things you can do to move the needle on improving customer retention. While it’s important to be aware of the independent nature of these five Core Strategies, these aspects also operate as an interconnected ecosystem.
  30. 30. For Example: Customer feedback from marketing surveys, customer support inquiries, and one-on-one customer success sessions will make their way back into product development. Engaging with your users through social media will give insights into what’s important to them and provide inspiration for new marketing material: Informational blog posts, a new email drip series, etc.
  31. 31. If This Feels Daunting, Don’t Worry Rome wasn’t built in a day. Step back, review your resources, and see what strategies play to your current strengths.
  32. 32. User Retention Mind Map
  33. 33. H I @ F R A M E D DATA . C O MFramed Data

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