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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina

Customer Journey Part 3: Customer Retention

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

In the first blog in this customer journey series, I shared why I believe getting your customer journey right is the main hack/secret/superpower to being able to select the right marketing tactics for your audience.


In the second, I talked specifically about the first part of the journey – customer acquisition – the bit that salespeople love. This time we’re going to be moving into the commonly neglected part of the customer journey – customer retention!


Once again, we’re going to keep it simple and work with three key stages:

  • Adopter: Your customer has bought something. They might not yet be 100% certain that they did the right thing.

    • You want them to feel really good about the investment they’ve made.

  • Loyalist: They are a loyal customer. They feel good about buying from you and are open to evolving the relationship.

    • You want to encourage them to buy again or buy more – it’s time to up-sell or cross-sell.

  • Advocate: They love you; they love your offering and wouldn’t buy anywhere else.

    • You want to encourage them to spread the word about you and help you find more loyal customers.

Here are the stages in a handy table:


Customer retention

Adopter

Loyalist

Advocate

Your customer has bought something. They might not yet be 100% certain that they did the right thing.

They are a loyal customer. They feel good about buying from you and are open to evolving the relationship

They love you; they love your offering and wouldn’t buy anywhere else.

You want them to feel really good about the investment they’ve made.

You want to encourage them to buy again or buy more – it’s time to up-sell or cross-sell.

You want to encourage them to spread the word about you and help you find more loyal customers.

As always, these stages are not necessarily linear – you can encourage a new client to spread the word about you and some people never get to the advocate stage – just work with what you’ve got!


Now, let’s look at each of these stages in detail:


Adopter

The adopter stage is the new customer. They’ve parted with their money and want to see some value in return. And you want to deliver this value, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because you know that keeping customers is a lot cheaper/easier than just looking for new ones.


Obviously, a large part of making the customer happy at this stage is delivering what you promised – and doing it excellently. Whether that’s a service or a product, you want your offering to live up to the hype. If you don’t do that, there is no way that customer is going to stick around and potentially be worth more to you. So do you, and be awesome at it.


But on top of that, there is a role for marketing to play in reassuring the customer that they’ve done the right thing. This is not the moment to up-sell or cross-sell them – they’re too wary at the moment and aren’t sure about you yet.


Where they are: Your customer has bought something. They might not yet be 100% certain that they did the right thing.


What you need to do: You want to make them feel really good about the investment they’ve made.


Types of marketing activity & content:

  • Personal thank-yous and gifts. If it’s appropriate in your business, make your clients feel loved by giving them a personalized gift or note. This could include:

    • Thank you gift or card for engaging you

    • Cards/emails/gifts on their birthday, major holidays, major company milestones

  • Help them keep learning about the service you’re offering and why it’s valuable:

    • Regular newsletter

    • Exclusive educational content for loyal customers such as e-books, webinars, special online events, etc.

  • Make sure your customers know they’re being heard and you care about them

    • Customer satisfaction surveys


Loyalist

At this point, the relationship with your customer is relatively stable. You have proven your value and they are comfortable working with you. This isn’t the moment to rest on your laurels because customers want you to continuously demonstrate value if they’re going to pay you – and so they should.


But this is also the moment when you can think about growing your relationship. This could look like up-selling a service package to a larger one, cross-selling a different product or service, or growing the scope of what you’re doing.


Where they are: They are a loyal customer. They feel good about buying from you and are open to evolving the relationship


What you need to do: You want to encourage them to buy again or buy more – it’s time to upsell or cross-sell


Types of marketing activity & content:

  • Get to know your customers even better and find out what other pain points you can help with

    • Conduct surveys (incentivized with a prize) to glean this information

    • Regular check-ins to make sure they feel seen and understood

  • Personalized offers – if they’ve been on a set package, can you develop a personalized offer for them that would cost more but deliver more specific value?

  • Make sure customers are aware of the other things you offer. You could do this through:

    • Newsletter, social media, or emails about specific offerings.

    • Run remarketing advertising campaigns on social media so that your customers are exposed to other offerings.

  • Beyond the marketing team, make sure everyone who comes into contact with a customer knows about the company’s other offerings and is also able to cross-sell or up-sell. Your customer service reps or account managers are as critical to representing your brand as your adverts.

Advocate

By this time, your customer loves you. They are very happy with you and every time you bring out something new, they want in. It’s a solid relationship that works for both sides. So how can they help you further? Well, they can help you get other customers. Some people will refer you naturally, but some need to be asked.


Where they are: They love you; they love your offering and wouldn’t buy anywhere else.


What you need to do: You want to encourage them to spread the word about you and help you find more loyal followers


Types of marketing activity & content:

  • Ask them to say nice things about you

    • Develop case studies, source testimonials, and reviews from happy clients

  • Ask them to refer you on

    • Ask them to spread the word about you – you could offer a referral bonus for customers that buy or come on board.

There you have it - an in-depth look at the most important stages of the customer journey. What do you think? Let me know!


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