customer retention

There’s no question that 2020 was a monumentally disruptive year for almost every business on the planet, but there were also a few silver linings. One of the most notable of these is the rise of remote work, a trend that was already gaining momentum before the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to work from home.

While there have been challenges in adapting to these “flex-work” models — particularly for sales teams — most of these have turned out to be quite manageable. Selling remotely over a video conference might not be quite as natural as an in-person meeting, but it’s close. While some may have struggled in the earlier months of 2020 to embrace video conferencing, it’s now become a regular occurrence.

What does this mean for customer relationships?

It’s good news, particularly for customer retention. Winning new customers isn’t easy, and as a result many sales teams are increasingly focused on building stronger relationships with their current customers. The new challenge these companies face is crafting a plan for improving customer retention that leverages the remote sales tools they already have.

To do this effectively, it helps to rethink some of the traditional ideas about interacting with established customers. In this post, we’re going to take a look at five basic customer retention concepts.

Video conferencing is more effective than you may realize.

People all over the world spent much of 2020 getting acclimated to virtual meetings. It’s no longer strange or awkward to have a video conference — with family or coworkers — it’s just the way things are done now. And because work-from-home flexibility is now being treated as a major job perk, video conferencing probably isn’t going away any time soon.

This is great news for building customer relationships. Instead of having to drive across town — or even fly across the country — for a high-stakes, face-to-face meeting with a customer, your sales teams can now just send them an invite for a quick video call. These calls can be far more casual, serving to “check in” with the customer on a more frequent basis, and helping to improve retention along the way. Better yet, it takes a few minutes to sign in and get to the heart of a customer issue, instead of having to add travel time to the mix.

Customer engagement is easier using remote-work technology.

One of the real benefits to cloud-based technology is that it simplifies customer interactions. Everything the sales team needs is right at their fingertips. Every resource, record, and customer note is readily available, allowing reps to respond to customer questions or problems immediately.

This creates an incredible opportunity for customer engagement and retention, as remote-work ready systems are excellent for quickly responding to customer needs. Is the customer having a problem with their product, but the rep doesn’t know the answer? It’s not hard to find the product specialist, see if they are available, and then simply add them to the video conference. This kind of responsiveness simply wasn’t possible before the development of remote-work tools.

Focus on delivering a great customer experience.

Competition for customers is fierce, making it that much more difficult to keep your current customers. One of the best ways to improve your overall customer experience is to invest in the right technology.

For example, this is an excellent time to update and streamline your CRM. It enables your remote sales teams to benefit from a more intuitive user experience (UX). If your sales teams have always struggled to master your company’s CRM, this is also the perfect moment to improve their skills using gamification-based training tools (like our Splash and Flare Gamification plugins). These updates allow your team to spend less time struggling with the CRM. It then creates a better customer experience in the process.

Ask for feedback from your customers.

Most businesses have switched up their strategies, tried new ideas and technologies, and even pivoted to entirely new markets. Chances are that at least some of your customers have made major changes post-COVID, too. They have had to learn some major lessons along the way. They may also have new and changing needs.

Sales calls provide the perfect opportunity to talk about these big changes. A product or service that was perfectly suited for a customer in early 2020 might not be a great fit for that same customer in 2021 or beyond. To keep these customers, it’s essential to understand their current situation and future needs. The best way to gather that data is to unleash the power of your sales teams. Use these conversations to build stronger connections and rapport.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when making changes, but it’s important. To succeed in this rapidly changing business world, you’re going to need the right technology and expertise. We can help. Contact Faye today for a free consultation.