How to Increase B2B Retention in 3 Easy Steps
Behind every successful retention story lies a business adept at the art of engagement. See how I used smart technology to boost my newsletters, surveys, social media interactions, and company reviews, to maximize engagement and send my company's retention soaring.
Behind every successful retention story lies a business adept at the art of engagement. In today's B2B market, it's not enough to offer a product and hope that customers will commit to it. It's important to focus on engaging customers so that you know their specific needs, goals and level of satisfaction. If there's a gap between the type of content and communication you’re offering and what your customers actually want, targeted and thoughtful engagement can bridge that gap, which makes a big difference in your ability to keep retention high.
In the B2C space, customer churn is always an issue. For example, in the retail world, lots of market research is done to keep on top of changing trends, which hopefully mitigates against the high turnover of often fickle consumers. In the B2B space, it works differently. Customers are typically lost to known competitors, in two main ways:
● a competitor will offer a similar product at a discount
● or, they'll offer a service that meets customer needs better.
Most companies try to solve their engagement problems by encouraging customers to invest in their product, claiming that it will generate a greater ROI than other products. With so many businesses insisting that their product is the best, what makes the difference in the kind of engagement that leads to retention? The answer: building relationships.
1. Use Newsletters to Build a Community
You want your customers to feel that they're part of a community. However, building a customer community in which they feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts, needs and successes isn’t easy. They need to be engaged.
The first road-block to successful engagement is knowing whether or not your customers are actually receiving your messages. Let's say, like many companies, you've got a wonderful newsletter, full of tips and tricks that customers can leverage. How do you know if your customers are reading it? What if your newsletters are getting lost in the black hole of so many spam folders?
The truth is, it's easy to ignore a newsletter, but what if you could give your customers a friendly and supportive nudge? Influitive helps you engage in a conversation that creates value for the customer, while helping you get a clear understanding of where your marketing efforts are working, and where they fall short.
Here’s how it works: By creating "challenges" you can incentivize specific actions that will boost engagement. For example, you can use challenges to identify who is actually receiving and reading your newsletters. By sending personalized messages that customers can respond to with just a couple of clicks, you gain higher visibility into who's actually receiving your message.
Once you have that information, you can create groups, addressing specific customer needs, based on their feedback. This method of developing effective communication, engagement and retention strategies is a win-win, where you get valuable information that teaches you what's important to your customers, and they get content that is customized to their specific needs—content they actually asked for! Plus, they earn points towards great perks and rewards, like gift cards.
2. Maintain Open Lines of Communication
Once you know your message is received, it’s important to keep that conversation going. Influitive's tools encourage customers to continue to engage in useful dialog. Here are two of the tools I like best:
Customers can address their specific needs by participating in surveys that help them give you the most valuable and relevant info. Surveys use specific, targeted questions that are answered using a multiple-choice format. This makes it easy for your customers to respond. It also simplifies listening to your customers, since multiple choice questions help you quantify answers more precisely. When customers can communicate to you exactly what they want, you can have the right resources available for them quickly, either by offering those resources directly, or by acting as the point-person who facilities that transfer of information.
Everyone loves a quiz—I know I do. That’s why I use them to engage customers directly inside our newsletter. While most company newsletters are more like a bullhorn than two-way communication, quizzes embedded directly into our Contact At Once! newsletter allows us to turn this channel into a conversation.
3. Set Goals & Track Engagement
Influitive also helps you track online reviews that earn customers points. What's more, customers can choose where to leave reviews, based on where they think they'll have the biggest impact. Mobilizing happy customers is a powerful method for spreading the good word about your business, and with Influitive it's easy to let your customer's voice be heard.
Perhaps the most powerful metric we can use to encourage and track engagement is social media. Since Influitive gives you high visibility into these numbers, you have the opportunity to teach customers how to use social media more effectively.
For example, you can launch campaigns asking customers to share specific pages on social media that will encourage instant traffic. Once the campaign is underway, you can teach your customers how to track this data with tracking links so they can better understand how and where to bolster engagement.
To achieve engagement and retention success, you must define what success means to you and your organization. Influitive allows you to set goals, so you can monitor your progress. You can get creative with engagement, encouraging your customers to feel empowered and take control, while feeling secure in the fact that you've got experts to turn to when you need help. Influitive gives you the data that allows you to understand which questions to ask. It all comes down to learning and implementing that learning.
When I started last year, one of my first tasks was to make sure my company won the DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Award—an award we'd won for the past five years in a row. I really wanted to prove my worth and yet, I was new, with lots to learn, and we were neck and neck with a competitor. Could I bring this award home for my team? Thanks to Influitive we were able use the expert framework and challenges system and win that award, keeping us at the top of our industry. For the sixth year in a row, Contact At Once! became the highest rated chat and text provider in the automotive industry. This year, I've already launched our campaign for lucky number seven. I'm confident in our ability to win yet again because I'm using Influitive to keep us on top.