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Why conversational marketing is the key to customer retention

If customer retention is the cornerstone of any successful business, then customer churn is its Achilles' heel, and is particularly detrimental to B2B businesses.
Why conversational marketing is the key to customer retention

Rookies would mistakenly assume that business growth simply means acquiring new customers. But those in the know can attest that business growth rests on customer retention and upselling your customer base. Customer retention ensures a sustainable, recurring revenue stream by securing loyal customers that often attract additional clientele.

A company might be able to stay afloat with a stream of new customers and net-new sales, but true financial growth is about keeping your existing customer base happy and increasing their lifetime value as much as possible.

This means minimising customer churn at all costs.

Why do customers churn?

Unnecessary friction in your customers’ day-to-day experience with your business could easily discourage customers from renewing their contracts or subscriptions with you.

Customers churn because, more often than not, they’re treated differently once you’ve sealed the deal. Once they’ve bought into a contract or opted into a subscription, they are no longer receiving the VIP treatment they enjoyed at the outset, which means dealing with your business isn’t the streamlined user experience it once was. Therefore, when their contract or subscription draws to a close, they’re happy to take their business elsewhere.

This is why it’s crucial for B2B businesses to keep thinking of customers as potential prospects for eventual renewals or even cross-sells. With your existing customers at the centre of your marketing, sales and support strategies, you’re more likely to streamline their user experience beyond that initial point of sale to ensure retention and upsells.

Keep your existing customers happy

In addition to reducing friction in your customers’ user experience, it’s important to continue marketing to them about your full product suite - or any new developments - in the same way that you market to your prospects.

If your focus remains on extending your customers’ lifetime value with your company, you will ultimately boost your business’s overall profits through retention and upsales.

So how do you ensure your customers stay happy? You employ a customer success team that demonstrates all the desired attributes of a good sales rep, including attentiveness, helpfulness and accessibility.

At the heart of every successful brand are the people responsible for service delivery, which includes onboarding and upselling customers. Without a well-equipped customer success team, your customers won’t know the full potential of your service offering.

With this in mind, meeting quotas and checking all the right boxes needed to seal a deal is secondary to ensuring frictionless onboarding and streamlined communication between your team and your customers.

So how does this apply to conversational marketing?

Conversational marketing champions a seamless buying experience, coupled with speedy turnaround times that meet the demands of a fast-paced work environment. The sooner you provide an interested customer, buyer or prospect with the information they need – be it offering product information or scheduling a meeting with a relevant salesperson – the more successful that buying experience is likely to be for either party.

Similarly, addressing the issues of your existing customers should be a race against the clock, especially when it comes to B2B offerings. The longer your customers have to wait to have their questions and concerns addressed, the greater the impact could be on their business which, in turn, affects your bottom line.

If you’re a B2B business, it’s likely that your product or service is a crucial part of your customer’s business. Therefore, neglecting to streamline frictionless communication between your existing customers and your team will push customers straight into the arms of your competitors.

Here is where a chatbot can help.

Using chatbots to service existing customers

Chatbots needn’t be reserved for communicating with prospective customers, as they’re just as effective when it comes to retaining and upselling paying customers.

Programme your chatbots to address the concerns of existing customers quickly and easily to avoid escalated unhappiness. Use them to automate certain parts of the communication process so that customers can troubleshoot common issues without having to wait for feedback. Using bots to steer customers to existing blog posts or FAQs will also lessen the load on your customer success team, freeing them up to address more complicated issues.

Addressing your existing customers’ concerns in this way will not only help you improve your retention rate and avoid unnecessary escalations, but it will also free up your customer success team to take on more work as your business scales. Chatbots help you reserve the manpower needed for actual crises that can’t be addressed with an automated message, which means you use your team to their full potential.

Getting to know your customers

Over time, as you get to know your customer base, your chatbot can be programmed to suit their unique specific needs, offering suggestions that are personalised, smart, complex and tailored to them.

This circles back to treating your customers like prospects and your prospects like people. This mindset, combined with the automated power of a chatbot and the knowledge and expertise of a well-trained sales team, will result in a scalable, successful business on the road to true financial growth.

6 Nov 2020 11:50