We actively promote retention techniques for any brand looking to be successful. The fact that 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of the existing customers is key. Brands need to take steps now to work towards keeping customers happy & loyal! -Sailthru

I’ve had a few issues with my mobile phone provider recently, so I called their Contact Centre the other day to try and get things sorted out. It was nothing big, but during the conversation I was feeling a bit exasperated with being left on hold and bounced around from person to person. So naturally, I did what most unhappy customers do; I threatened to leave.

In my mind, they wouldn’t react. And why would they? I’m one person, so what’s £40 a month to them? Nothing, surely?

Surprise, surprise; as soon as the words came out of my mouth, everything was different. I was bombarded with offers and promises of excellent customer service for the rest of my life if I stayed with them.

This got me thinking, brands are always so quick to react to the threat of losing customers, but how many can you say are proactive in their approach to retaining customers? I certainly can’t name many!

Customer Retention is the number of customer relationships a business is able to keep hold of on a long-term basis.

A lot of companies choose to approach Customer Retention by trying to get as many new customers in as possible to replace the ones they’ve lost, without doing anything to try and save their at-risk relationships.

This would be fine if it was just as easy to find new customers as it is to lose existing customers.

So instead of reacting to losing customers by swamping them with offers, discounts and promotions, brands need to take a much more proactive approach.

And here’s how you do it.

1. You need to keep your customers in the loop, in the easiest and most convenient way for them.

Communicating with customers can go such a long way to improving their overall Customer Experience. It doesn’t need to be anything big; try sending them a confirmation, reminder or an update on their order via SMS. That way, they’ll have all the information they need, before they have to chase you for it.

Not only does this drastically improve their Customer Experience, but it also frees up resource in your Contact Centre, where handling low value queries is so common, as well as reducing Customer Effort.

And what does an effortless Customer Experience result in? Happy, loyal customers! Win.

2. Avoid customer defection by capturing customer feedback in real-time, immediately after service delivery.

Do you know why your most unhappy customers choose to leave you? Well you never will if you don’t ask! Imagine if they all left because they didn’t like the way your customer service advisors spoke to them. Wouldn’t you want to know so you could take a proactive approach to sorting out the problem? It’s not always going to be that straightforward, but if your customers tell you there’s a problem in an area of your business, then it’s good to have that knowledge.

The best way of finding out why your customers are leaving is to ask them what they thought of their experience, straight after their interaction with you – not 2 weeks later.

I can’t remember how I felt this time two days ago, so there’s no chance that I’d be able to give accurate feedback on an experience I had that amount of time ago. So ask for customer feedback in the moment, in your customers’ own words. That way they’ll be much more likely to tell you exactly how they feel about your brand and services.

From there, you can sort your happy customers from your unhappy customers, giving you the opportunity to save at-risk relationships and improve your overall Customer Retention.

3. Don’t just ask your customers for feedback, act on it!

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re not being listened to, so once you’ve asked your customers for feedback, make sure you acknowledge their response and do something about it! What better way to make your customers feel valued than by taking on board what they’ve said and improving your business processes because of it.

This article was written by Nigel Shanahan from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.