After converting a prospect to a consumer, too many salespeople think that the hard work is over. It’s time to move on to the next opportunity. Abandoning a new customer is a costly oversight. Sixty-one percent of small and mid-sized businesses report that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers rather than new business. It’s more expensive to find new customers, and ignoring the future revenue potential of an existing customer is unwise. There are distinct advantages to strengthening relationships with current customers. A 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent. Existing customers are: 

  • Prime candidates for upwelling and cross-selling opportunities;
  • Less focused on price than new customers;
  • Already confident and trusting in your ability to solve their problems; and
  • Often willing to become brand ambassadors. 

These benefits will ring true for your customers only if you have a consistently high level of customer service and if you have made relationship building a priority. Research conducted by Google and CEB found that building strong relationships with your customers brings a high return: Customers that are emotionally connected to a brand are twice as likely to purchase a product or service and four times as likely to defend their purchase decisions.

A New Way of Looking at the Data

Where do you start? With its pipeline focus, customer relationship management (CRM) systems are set up to move prospects from “lead” to “close.” A simple dashboard adjustment can help you use the customer intelligence you’ve already gathered to automate and synchronize every facet of customer interaction. By recording your customers’ product likes and dislikes; their spending patterns; and their location, age, and gender, CRM software enables you to build up a detailed picture of their tastes, needs, and buying habits that can assist you throughout the customer’s lifetime and build customer loyalty, with relevant and timely outreach.

Here are six ways you can use CRM data to drive customer retention: 

  • Gain strategic insights. Current customers can give you valuable feedback on customer service, quality, and product specifications. The information gathered can help you improve future customer outcomes; it shows your current customers that you care enough to learn and improve.
  • Make customer loyalty automatic. CRM can help you set up a “welcome to the family” letter within 24 hours of purchase, automatic notices for renewals or maintenance, and triggers to follow up for future sales opportunities. Knowing more about your customers helps you tailor your approach to each customer and target them with relevant, timely information.
  • Reclaim abandoned carts. Use CRM to find out which products your customers have clicked on, pages they’ve visited, and items they’ve left in shopping carts. Linking this information to your customers’ profiles and accounts brings new insights that can help you identify ways to convert their interest into an actual purchase.
  • Reward your customers. Use your CRM application to find out which customers are responsible for the greatest revenue. Identifying these accounts can also help you develop strategies for cross-selling and ensure that your VIP customers remain VIP customers. Another strategic advantage is the ability to know how to allocate your resources of dollars and time to reach customer segments for each specific campaign goal.
  • View customer service as a sales tool. Encouraging customers to cross-sell and upsell is less about marketing than about the quality of the customer experience. Seventy-one percent of dissatisfied consumers tend to leave for good. Your CRM system can help you keep track of customer support calls so that you can monitor resolution times. Are you doing all you can to resolve customer issues quickly and completely? Keeping customer service issues visible through CRM has the additional benefit of keeping everyone in the organization aware of service issues so that they can minimize them in the future.§  Stop customer churn. With its ability to track customer purchases, service calls, and engagement, CRM can track trends and alert you to signs of a customer’s departure while you still have time to reengage that customer.

The Bottom Line

Most importantly, customer-retention CRM keeps you connected and engaged with a treasured resource: your customer. CRM lets you record product likes and dislikes, spending patterns and location, age, and gender. This same information is invaluable in building a sales pipeline but can also be beneficial to helping you stay in touch with and keep your customer happy through each stage of the customer’s lifetime.