One of the most critical challenges all businesses face in today’s world of growing service competition and increasing provider options is how to effectively engage and retain valued customers. Business models are evolving, new competitors crop up daily, and technology is changing the rules of engaging clients and customers. And Denver-area executives agree that in order to effectively engage customers and clients, the businesses need to get creative.
At the February 20, 2019, Webolutions Executive Roundtable, we brought in businesses and non-profit leaders to discuss the impacts of effective client/customer retention in order for them to better identify their audiences and journeys.
Keys to Customer Retention
Before businesses can start engaging clients, attendees said it’s vital for leaders to establish trust with customers. And trust starts internally with an engaged staff. Webolutions started the discussion with mentioning that in order to build leads and references, Denver companies and non-profits must grow their business within. “This has tremendous impacts on customer-client retention,” said one attendee, noting that when the staff conveys a sense of value in the office, that sense of value gets replicated in client engagement. “Make sure your team is educated.”
In addition conveying that sense of value, attendees also agreed that effective customer engagement is also about presenting a story transformation to the client. “When clients get better, sales grow,” said one executive. Webolutions brought up how the company implements strategies from the book Building a Story Brand for its businesses and clients. The key takeaway with applying these techniques to customer engagement? Denver leaders can get clear on their messaging and convey a successful client transformation.
Technology and the Changing Landscape of Consumer Behavior
So what are executives doing to implement these transformations? The short answer: Researching their audiences and embracing new technologies — carefully. Attendees agreed that researching the buyers’ journey and how they interact with businesses boosts engagement. One executive in the IT noted that it’s impossible to identify every single changing trend in technology and instead suggested that Denver leaders identify the most common disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, specific to their industry. Another Denver-area leader who works in the municipality industry noted that she has researched the evolution of consumer behavior and how interviewing local businesses face to face has allowed her to improve communication with her clients.
Discussion then flowed into the ideas that if leaders do not embrace these technologies, their businesses could be stranded. For example, Webolutions brought up how successful real estate agents are learning to embrace Zillow vs. agents who ignore the power and capability of this technology. With the ever-changing landscape technologies, including artificial intelligence and online advertising, Denver-area business are getting creative — and analytical — when it comes to client engagement.
Tracking Engagement and Retention
In a recent study, 58% of executives reported that they have no formal client engagement program, while 60% were unsure how many clients they’d lost within the past year. While tracking retention rate can get a bit tricky, Webolutions suggested the Customer Retention Rate (CRR) Formula to Denver-area leaders as a method to better identify how effective they are at keeping their customers during a specific period.
E = # of Customers at the End of the Period
N = # of Customers Acquired During the Period
S = # of Customers at the Start of the Period
In addition to this formula, non-profit executives have mentioned identifying their net promoter score as a way to measure how their messages are connecting with their audiences.
But tracking retention is only half the battle. When it comes to keeping these retention numbers up, Denver-area businesses have had to get creative with engaging their audiences. For example, one government official has used surveys via NextDoor and offered those who complete the survey a $10 gift card. Another executive have implemented a policy called “No Client Left Behind” where the staff gather for weekly meetings to brainstorm ways to keep all clients engaged and aligned
Whether it’s doing the math to identify customer retention or finding fresh, energetic ways to keep clients engaged, Webolutions concluded the discussion by saying that staff, clients and customers all need to buy into the retention experience. “We are all on this journey together.”