Strength in Numbers: What converts one to a lifetime customer?

According to a recent Gallup poll, customer satisfaction isn’t good enough to increase customer retention rates. Therefore, companies need to apply specific techniques in order to increase their understanding of customers, retention rates and the quality of the customer’s experience. Following these three tips will help to convert your temporary customers into loyal, lifetime consumers.

Data Mining and Analytics
Slashing prices and aggressive advertising are the typical tools that companies rely on to increase customer retention. However, this only temporarily satisfies customers, but doesn’t convert them into lifetime customers. Therefore, data mining and data analytics are needed to better understand different aspects of the customer experience. Customer relationship management (CRM) software and other databases are excellent sources of customer intelligence. Data analytics will provide trends and facts about customers that will increase understanding of customer needs, preferences and behavior. Research shows that customers in different industries have different expectations. Therefore, it is highly advised that companies survey long-term customers in order to better understand what keeps them coming back.

Complete Conversions
Most companies still believe that customers are merely potential monetary exchanges that involve rational logical and memories. However, people typically shop and make decisions with their emotional mind. In the end, emotions end up controlling consumer decisions over logic and facts. Loyal customers are willing to pay more for their preferred brand because of the strong feelings they have about the company and product or service. For example, a business that has a long history and strong attachments to the community will get customers from second and third generation families that introduce their children to the company and set the expectation that the company cares about them, so they care about the company. Therefore, marketing and advertising should focus emphasizing community connections. One of the best ways to facilitate this is to financially support school sports teams and community projects.

Meaningful Customer Service
Customer service reps are the face of the company. Therefore, a customer’s impression of the company is most likely based on their last interaction with a company employee. As a result, employee’s attitudes and behaviors will make or break customer retention rates. Companies must focus on delivering the highest standards of service, quality and sincere customer service. Employees should be expected to engage customers in polite and genuine conversations during the customer service experience. This will create opportunities for offering additional products or services. For example, home improvement employees that engage with customers will learn about different needs and desires that can be possibly met through current sales and discounts. The goal is to not only fix the customer’s current problem, but also help troubleshoot additional concerns and explore possible solutions.

To review, long-term customer retention rates can be improved through data mining and analytics, which will help the company understand the customer’s emotional decision making process. Additionally, focusing on meaningful service will create lifelong relationships.