03.23.20166 min read

True Life: I’m Addicted to Amazon (A Customer Retention Story)

I have a confession. I have placed 118 Amazon Prime orders in the last six months.

Now, judging by the amount of cardboard in my garage alone, I should have known I might have a “problem.” Everything I’ve purchased were things that I could easily buy across the street, from protein shakes to batteries, cheddar bunnies to hangers, and, of course, all the things I’ll need for my new baby that’s coming in a few weeks. But my “problem” is really the product of Amazon’s secret sauce and why they’ve been able to retain me (an admittedly extremely fickle shopper) as a loyal customer.

Amazon Prime

What goes into this “secret sauce” of customer retention? Is there a recipe for taking a business model and product from good, to one that customers can’t live without? As marketers, we know that we have to keep delivering value in the form of content, entertainment, education, and services well after the initial transaction in order to keep customers engaged and our brand top-of-mind. But customer retention goes past simply staying top-of-mind. It’s about understanding your customers deeply and ensuring that no matter where they are in their purchase cycle, you’ve got their back. This is what great companies have in common: a customer culture where everyone feels ownership of the customer experience—essentially living by the quote “customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.”

Today’s buyers are more likely to switch (brands, vendors, providers) than ever before, regardless of whether they’re a millennial or boomer. However, taking these steps towards building a customer culture in your company can make a big impact on your customer retention and grow your loyalty base:

Step 1: Develop a process

Do you have a process for dealing with the positive and negative responses you receive from customers? Step one to building a customer-centric culture is to get your house in order because if it’s messy, everyone on the Twitterverse will hear about it. OK, so maybe it’s not necessarily Twitter, but today’s customers are not shy about sharing both their positive and negative experiences with a brand. Your plan will be unique to your business, your product or service, and your support structure, but it’s critical that everyone in your organization fundamentally understands your policy and process for handling customer feedback.

Tweet

As you develop your customer response plan, keep these things in mind:

  • Take the time to listen to your audience
  • Address their issue with respect and timeliness, but appropriate humor also goes a long way (you are talking to a person after all)
  • Don’t shy away from responding where they are, especially in the social arena

Sainsbury

Step 2: Frame every interaction as an opportunity

Seize every interaction with your customers as an opportunity to make them happy. The top three reasons why customers switch brands are cheaper pricing, rude staff, and too many mistakes. This means that every touchpoint with your customer is important, especially when you consider the impact that retaining that customer can have on your business. The Pareto Principle states that 80 percent of revenue comes from 20 percent of your customers.

With this in mind, here are three things to remember as you work to create excellent customer interactions:

  • Offer promotions and discounts for your most loyal customers to keep happy customers, well, happy.
  • Build your customer culture and teams with people who share the same values. Fanatical care for the customer can be built into your culture, so think about the different ways you can build it into yours. In some cases, this means that everyone spends time working customer support as part of their training, while in others, customers are the heart of every story the brand tells.
  • Understanding your customers before they tell you something went wrong is critical. Having a centralized view of customers and coordinating their experiences allows you to avoid spamming them and lets you speak to them personally, with relevant messages.

Step 3: Nail your customer service

As the face of your company, your customer-facing teams are the front line in sometimes tense situations. Their response can make or break you in the eyes of your customer.

Arming your service team with the right tools to resolve issues can make a huge impact on your customer retention:

  • Create a channel for service teams to relay customer feedback. Obviously, poor product design or experience will create some unhappy customers, but having a feedback loop from your customer teams to the appropriate contact internally will allow you to actively address and log these issues.
  • Develop an arsenal of resolution tactics. A representative that can’t solve a problem can just make a bad situation worse, so make sure that your service teams have a robust arsenal of resolution tactics.
  • Be prompt. No one likes hold music, so don’t torture your customers with lengthy wait times. Your customers are people and most people don’t love wasting their time on hold, so make their service experience as seamless as possible.

Flute Solo

This article was written by Kristen Kaighn from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Created with Sketch.
Infusionsoft cornerstone spinner
close button

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

5 Reasons to Subscribe:

1. Weekly tips to dominate sales and marketing

At our core, we're focused on helping you become a sales and marketing machine. We tap into the genius of the best salesfolks and marketers out there to give you daily tips to grow your leads, make more sales, and keep more customers.

2. Expert small business resources that cost you zero dollars

Want to go deep? We have you covered with free guides, webinars, and tools on a range of topics from marketing automation, CRM, and digital marketing to building sales and marketing strategies from the ground up. All for free. All for you.

3. We're focused 100 percent on small business success

We exist for one reason: helping small businesses succeed. We give you the ideas and insights you need to blow the competition out of the water. We serve business owners who are hungry to put in the hard work to grow their business and own the market.

4. We do the work for you

Running a small business is a 110 percent endeavor. You don't have time to surf Internet for the best small business insights and ideas out there. We'll do that for you with the best original content from our team and from industry experts and small business owners.

5. But wait, there's more!

Small business success means more than just sales and marketing, so we also hit on a range of topics to help your small business thrive, including personal and business growth, customer service, and business management.

6. Righteous GIFs

OK, we said five reasons, but we like to overdeliver...and GIFs. We really like GIFs. You're bound to see some righteous ones.

GIF of Ferris Bueler principal's assistant

P.S. We'll never give out your information. We'll only use it to send you awesome content and resources, if you're cool with that.