6 Rising Customer Retention Trends to Follow in 2019

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, has made it critical to follow customer retention trends. Since customers now have an ongoing “right to erasure,” it’s increasingly important to keep them engaged. Otherwise, they could request to have their personal data deleted, with obvious consequences.

As context, many marketers saw a startling reduction in their marketing lists after the GDPR deadline in 2018. Their attempts to retain consumers with re-permission campaigns were largely ineffective, and now, they have to rebuild their databases. Unfortunately, the GDPR has left them with fewer options.

In short, the pressures of compliance and the difficulties of lead generation have made it challenging to move forward. You need to remain mindful of the GDPR as you refine former practices, expanding on your previous strategies with new techniques for customer retention. It presents a significant obstacle.

Fortunately, you have a diverse variety of methods to maintain your marketing database post-GDPR. As long as you stay current with this year’s trends in customer retention, you’ll learn from the success of other professionals in retail and business. Their insights have considerable value for your own organization.

With that in mind, here are six rising customer retention trends to follow in 2019.

1. Proactive approach to customer service

According to the Harvard Business Review, the most important factor in customer loyalty is a reduction in customer effort. When you help them save time and energy, they’ll appreciate your proactive approach and reward you with continued business. The retailer Debenhams serves as a fitting example of this strategy.

Debenhams’s  website provides a generous amount of information to address the most common questions. In the delivery of this in-depth content, it can fully inform a customer before they decide to make a purchase. It’s a simple technique to pre-empt feedback and provide solutions far in advance of a potential issue.

2. Support from a managed service provider

Around one third of consumers will consider another company after a single encounter with poor customer service. You have many ways to prevent this type of problem, and a managed service provider, or MSP, is one of the leading solutions. They’re a form of support for your customer retention strategies and activities.

An MSP can provide customized telecommunications and messaging services. These include call overflow support, call screening and routing, dispatch services with live operators, and full- or part-time virtual receptionists. They enable your clients to enjoy a positive customer service experience.

3. AI solutions for real-time personalization

Customers are far more demanding of companies than they were in the past. They want a brand to recognize them when they visit a website, anticipate their needs and interact with them via cloud-connected products. Research has shown that about 80 percent of consumers want brands to get to know them better.

Companies have started to acknowledge this trend with AI solutions that personalize the customer experience. They’ve applied AI to dynamically alter their website interface, deliver predictive product recommendations, optimize pricing in real-time to suit visitors and even customize their video content.

4. A shift in marketing outreach methods

On the subject of personalizing your content, you can apply many of the same insights to your marketing outreach. Then again, research suggests that the most common strategies for personalization are no longer as effective. Only 8 percent of consumers are likely to engage with marketing efforts that address them by name.

However, almost half of consumers are likely to engage with retailers that send relevant offers. Batch and blast campaigns are ineffective and even counterintuitive to building loyalty. Instead, it’s best to focus on messaging that aligns with the customer’s interests in a timely manner.

5. Greater adoption of chatbot technology

Estimates have shown that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. A large majority of organizations will depend on chatbots, delegating the duties of a human representative to a digital counterpart. They have proven value in many industries.

Beyond retail, the real estate, financial and health care sectors have all integrated this technology to assist with customer service. Today’s customers want the flexibility to contact a company 24 hours a day, and, with access to chatbots, they have that convenience. These systems may soon become an expected feature.

6. Augmented and virtual reality integration

The growing popularity of AR and VR represents a valuable opportunity for retailers and other organizations. When they enable a customer to experience a product before purchase, they reduce the likelihood of returns, and, by extension, the resource costs to fulfill them.

Consider the IKEA Place app. IKEA’s app uses AR to overlay its products on the customer’s smartphone camera. This feature allows them to visualize how the products will fit into their environment, and whether they should buy the desk, chair or similar item they’re viewing. Naturally, the customer is more satisfied with their final decision.

Move forward with confidence

You understand the value in an effective strategy for customer retention. It has clear benefits for your bottom line, and the data provides support for the necessity of maintaining your marketing list. Some estimates show that the acquisition of customers is 25 times more expensive than retaining them.

With that in mind, review the customer retention trends above and see how you might accommodate them in your current practices. Whether you invest in a managed service provider, AI solutions or another strategy on this list, you can feel confident in the future of your business.

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