5 tips to attract and retain loyal customers

This is a guest post from Eric Fergusson, head of retail services eCommera

The benefits of attracting and retaining loyal customers are clear, particularly given the relatively low cost of converting existing customers compared with new customers. But retaining customers is easier said than done, considering the myriad reasons a customer might not return to a retailer for a second purchase.

Here we give you five tips to help refine your customer retention strategy, and get customers coming back for more.

1. Retarget customers with personalised communications

If you haven’t already, introduce an eCRM programme targeting all omni-channel customers. Using explicit and implicit behaviours, backed by consumer understanding, you can create tailored messages to encourage loyalty and repeat purchase.

These activities can also be wrapped up into a loyalty programme, as long as the personalised element doesn’t become lost in a one-size-fits-all loyalty points scheme.

2. Deliver on promise

This is the most difficult, but most important point to implement.

A small difference in delivery on promise can have a huge impact on a customer throughout their lifetime. For instance, a customer of a retailer that has a 98% delivery on promise rate has a 10% chance of having experienced a late or incomplete delivery before the sixth purchase. In contrast, by the same time, a customer of a retailer with a 90% delivery on promise rate already has a 4 in 10 chance of having had a poor customer experience.

There are three key processes you need to have in place to ensure maximum delivery on promise, which make up our final three tips on improving your customer retention strategy.

3. Establish and regularly monitor customer service KPIs

In order to better understand your levels of customer service and identify opportunities for improvement, KPIs should be measured and reviewed on a weekly basis. Some KPIs you should be monitoring include:

- Delivery on promise rate (on time and in full)
- % of orders prepared within correct timelines
- % of orders delivered within correct timelines
- Cancelled order value
- Failed order value
- Late to ship order value

Call centre:
- Abandoned calls %
- % calls answered within 60 seconds

- Proportion of reserve & collect items prepared within correct timelines
- Proportion of ship from store orders prepared within correct timelines
- Proportion of ship from store orders delivered within correct timelines
- etc.

4. Implement a single view of stock (if you don’t already have one)

Many retailers are still operating in silos. The scenario of a customer arriving at a store - high-street or online - to find a product isn’t in stock there and then being told to check or travel to proximal stores is still too frequent. That’s a bad experience and that customer is just as likely to go to a competitor as they are to make it to another one of your stores. That’s why high-street and omni-channel retailers alike are looking to achieve a single view of stock.

Achieving a real-time, single view of inventory will place you ahead of the curve and prepare your organisation to save every sale. Because that sale could be the one that puts that customer into the ‘loyalty’ box as opposed to the ‘lapsed’.

5. Invest in a single view of the order

Similarly, a single end-to-end view of the order is an imperative. Don’t send your customers to your delivery partner’s website; it breaks the experience chain. You should own the end-to-end experience to build loyalty and trust – not pass your customers off to a third party whom they have not chosen to engage with.

There are many steps you can take to improve your customer retention strategy and get more loyal customers. But starting with these simple tips will set you on the right track towards agile commerce and a bright digital future.