Acquiring new customers is an important part and huge focus for most businesses. But retaining existing customers is equally important. According to the Harvard Business Review, a five percent increase in customer retention can increase business profits by 25 percent. That’s a return to pay attention to.
But the value of increasing customer retention goes well beyond keeping your most loyal and satisfied customers placated. It means new opportunities for upselling and cross selling products to an already engaged audience and reducing painful costs associated with attrition. Plus, it’s an opportunity to create a pool of advocates who will support your products and services with their own social and professional networks.
So how does an online community and your SugarCRM translate into increased customer retention?
1. Help Customers Help Themselves
According to Forrester Research, 80 percent of businesses think they deliver ‘superior customer service’ while only eight percent of customers agree. Clearly there’s a gap between perception and reality.
An online community has the potential to decrease that gap and keep customers from fleeing. How? An online community allows customers to ask questions and receive crowdsourced answers from fellow customers, any time of day, anywhere in the world. Customers can post questions to your forum and/or search the library or previous discussions to find helpful information. This streamlines problem solving for many customers and reduces recidivism for your customer success team who now have more time to work on harder problems.
2. Let Customers Network
Giving your customers a space to talk about solving specific problems is critical, but giving them a way to actually connect and talk to each other is also valuable. Your online community allows this authentic connection to happen through user groups, mentoring, ambassador programs or any other number of ways. When your customers foster deep connections with each other and with your organization, the online community becomes about something bigger than just your organization—it truly goes from being simply a platform to an actual community.
3. Create a Cohesive Customer Experience
Customers crave a cohesive experience when they interact with companies. In fact, according to research done by Google, 62 percent of customers expect brands to deliver a consistent experience. But what does that mean? This same research showed that only 42 percent of customers think most brands do, actually, provide consistent experiences. Clearly there is a gap between what customers want and what they receive.
This is where you have the chance to really impress customers and give them what so few other companies can. Use your community data, combined with data from SugarCRM and your marketing automation platform, to create an accurate, 360-degree view of all your customers. Instead of having some data in one spot, and more data in another spot, by integrating all your data into one place, like SugarCRM, you can work towards providing that seamless, cohesive customer experience people want.
Customer Retention Helps the Entire Organization
Increasing customer retention doesn’t just bring more value to your online community—it has the potential to bring more value to all parts of your organization—from customer satisfaction to business growth. Spend time making your community the best that it can be—and your entire organization will thank you.