Studies have shown that acquiring a new customer is 5–25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. Moreover, increasing customer retention by a mere 5% can increase profits by as much as 95%. Conclusion: focus on retaining your customers. But, like most things, this is easier said than done.


What are the four steps to increase customer retention with HubSpot?

  1. Create a customer journey map.
  2. Collect customer feedback.
  3. Help customers help themselves.
  4. Open up lines of communication.

We will look at each of these strategies as well as the HubSpot tools that will help you not only retain your customers, but also turn them into your best marketers.

Create a customer journey map

Do you know what your customers’ experience looks like today? Chances are, if your company doesn’t have a customer journey map, you don’t. Only when you understand the entirety of your customer experience will you start to notice where your points of force and friction are. In order to improve the customer experience, and therefore, improve customer retention, create a customer journey map to capitalize on points of force and mitigate points of friction.

If you’re new to customer journey mapping, gather colleagues from different departments, such as marketing, sales, customer service, and customer success, into a room. Start by identifying four key moments in your customer experience:

  • First impression. What is the first impression a customer has with your company? Is it when they book their first appointment? A phone call from their sales rep?
  • First value. When does a customer feel confident they will get what they expect from your company? Is this right when they buy? When they talk to an on-boarding specialist?
  • Intended value. When do customers feel satisfied they got what they expected from your company?
  • Extended value. When do customers feel they got more than they expected from your company?

Once you’ve identified these four key moments, create your customer journey map. Make sure you map out not only what your customer is doing, but also how they feel. For instance, while booking a meeting, are they upset that they have to wait an average of five days before talking to someone? By mapping what a customer is doing as well as what they’re feeling, you build empathy. What you previously thought was a moment of force, might actually be a moment of friction in your customers’ eyes. Acknowledging where your company falls short and actively trying to improve the customer experience is a great start to retaining more customers.

A sample customer journey map for a software company looks like this.

 

Customer journey map showing rows for doing and feeling and columns for first impression, first value, intended value, and extended value.

 

Creating your customer journey map is the first step before you dive into the tools you will use to retain customers.

Want to learn more about creating a customer journey map?

Check out this lesson from HubSpot Academy.

Collect customer feedback

Now that you’ve created a customer journey map, analyze that map to determine what’s working really well and what could be improved. If there are moments in your map where you don’t know what your customers are feeling, that’s a great place to ask for feedback.

There are three types of industry standard feedback questions:

  • Net Promoter Score
  • Customer Effort Score
  • Customer Satisfaction Survey

You can read more about them here.

If you determine that you can’t get the information you’re looking for based on industry standard surveys, create your own. Your survey should be short, easy to fill out, and unbiased.

Once you’ve collected your feedback, analyze it to determine what aspects of your product or service need improvement. Start by categorizing themes and patterns in your feedback. The easiest way to do this is in a three-column table. In the first column, record customer feedback verbatim. Fill the second column with the feedback theme — a general summary of the customer feedback. The third column is for the feedback type. In general, there are six types of feedback: functionality, feature request, usability, reliability, customer service, and pricing/billing. Depending on your industry, there may be others you'd like to include. By identifying feedback themes and types, you'll be able to categorize patterns of issues that impact the customer experience.​

 

A three-column table showing customer feedback, the feedback theme, and feedback type.

 

Next, prioritize high-impact changes. Analyzing the feedback themes and types, what's most important to your customers? You may want to map the feedback you received on a prioritization matrix. Low-cost, high-impact improvements should be made immediately. Improvements that are high-cost and high-impact should be considered next. Near-future improvements are those that are low-cost, low-impact, whereas high-cost, low-impact changes can wait for consideration in the distant future.​

A prioritization matrix with an X-axis of low and high cost and a y-axis of high and low impact. Each quadrant references when to do the items in it — from left to right, now, tomorrow, next week, and next quarter.

 

 

Once you have a plan on what to work on, follow up with your customers. It might not be possible to reach out to everyone who gave you feedback, so prioritize the people whose feedback you’re taking. The best way to make customers feel valued is by reaching out to them, ensuring them that their feedback was heard. Tell them about your plans and ask them if they’d be willing to give you advice or be beta testers. And, once the change has been implemented, make sure to reach out to let them know the good news. When your customers see you prioritizing their needs, they’re much more likely to stay with your company.

In HubSpot, you can collect customer feedback with Feedback Surveys.

Check out this HubSpot Academy lesson,

and get started with Feedback surveys in HubSpot.

Help your customers help themselves

76% of customers prefer using self-service options over speaking with an agent over the phone. If you want to retain customers, give them what they want: self-service. One of the most common self-service offerings is a knowledge base. A knowledge base is a collection of articles about a product or service. ​

The benefits of using a knowledge bases include:

  • Instant answers: no more spending what feels like hours waiting on hold.
  • Answering FAQs at scale: no more repeating your hours of operation for the 10th time.
  • Reducing support volume on repetitive questions: if customers can find answers online, they have no reason for one-on-one support.
  • Customer service agents are able to answer questions more efficiently: customers can be directed to prewritten resources as needed.

Another self-service option people find appealing is online education. Unlike a knowledge base, which is more of a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish a specific task, online education, like HubSpot Academy, provides information on overall strategy. If a knowledge base article tells you how to set up customer feedback, online education can tell you why feedback is important, when to send it out, how to analyze that feedback, and more. Many times, customers won’t expect such thorough self-service education from a company. When you exceed customers’ expectations, your customers will have a hard time leaving you.

In HubSpot, the Knowledge Base tool will get you started with providing a self-service model for your customers. You can embed videos to personalize content to them and keep them engaged.

Open up lines of communication

In an ideal world, customers can find all of their answers through a knowledge base or online education. Today, that’s not possible.

In order to support your customers as best you can, open up lines of communication: meet your customers where they are so they can get answers as quickly as possible. Common lines of communication for support include:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Live chat
  • Chatbots
  • Forms

Now, I know what you’re thinking: this is a tall order, especially if you don’t have a big support team. But, if you’re going to make it easy for your customers to reach out to you, our Conversations tool can make it easy for you to reach back out to your customers.

Conversations is a universal inbox that streamlines your emails, live chats, form submissions, and chatbot inquiries in one place. You can easily prioritize, reassign, and respond so that the right people are answering the right messages, and your customers feel supported along the way. Our Conversations inbox looks like this.

Screenshot of a Conversations inbox in HubSpot.

 

You can learn more about Conversations here.

These four steps will help you empathize, prioritize, and act to ensure you are doing everything you can to delight your customers, and therefore, improve your customer retention. In HubSpot, you have the tools to work retain your customer and turn them into your best marketers.

 

 

Originally published May 25, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated May 25 2020