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5 customer retention challenges facing every business marketer

Sophia King
By Sophia King — May 19, 2020 -

In last week’s blog, we explained why customer retention is so important. But as every product and marketing professional knows all too well, encouraging customers to return is easier said than done.

Here are five challenges businesses face when looking to drive value from their existing customer bases. 

It's not a business priority

70% of companies know it’s cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new ones. Yet, 44% still prioritise customer acquisition

This focus on acquiring new customers is all well and good – until existing customers start to churn or shop elsewhere. 

You know that colleague who’s only nice when they want something? Who breeze through the pleasantries before asking for a teeny tiny favour for a deadline that was, well, yesterday? That’s how your brand risks seeming if you only engage with existing customers when trying to upsell or renew subscriptions.  

After weeks, months or even years of neglect, these customers are entirely disengaged. Your sudden attention only highlights how much you've ignored them until now. It’s too late: you’ve lost them to the competition, and they're unlikely to return.

New customers are treated better

Do you entice new customers in with a generous discount or exciting incentive? A 25% off welcome discount or exclusive free gift with their first order? 

We understand why so many brands do this. It draws people in and gets them buying for the first time. But how many of these customers return? Chances are, not enough.

More often than not, customers will claim the deal, enjoy the product and/or service, then scour the internet for a similar offer next time. Even if they really loved your brand, they're unlikely to pay full price when they know first-hand they can get similar for less.

That’s not the only way new customer offers can backfire.

Imagine you’re a loyal customer of a particular brand. You've shopped there for years, told your friends all about it, and happily pay full price every time. 

Then you see new customers get 20% off. You’ve never had 20% off, and that makes you feel resentful. So resentful, in fact, that for the first time ever, you go to a competitor’s site.

A business model focussed on driving revenue through new customers can get very expensive, very quickly.

Saying the right thing (at the right time)

We’ve all been there. We get a message from a brand and it’s totally irrelevant. 

It could be an email promoting a product you’ve already bought; a notification urging you to upgrade a subscription you cancelled weeks ago; a post-purchase overlay offering you a discount on a hotel stay you’ve already paid full price for.

At best, it’s annoying. At worst, it can actively deter customers from returning.

But saying the right thing to customers relies on having the right data and resources –something that many businesses simply don’t have. (That's where the Mention Me platform offers a solution.)

Blindly sending out mass communications in the hope that some land is a risky strategy. One that will probably result in spending even more on acquiring new customers to make up for all the existing ones going elsewhere.

Understanding customers

Do your products and services make customers happy? Could you make them even happier? 

Continuously evolving your offering for customers is crucial to long-term loyalty. If you don’t adapt, your competitors will. 

But knowing what customers want isn’t always easy. Surveys go unanswered, reviews aren’t always representative, and customers can be reduced to faceless transactions and email addresses. That doesn’t give you a lot to go on.

We know it can be hard work to understand what your customers want and then make it happen. But the results will speak for themselves.

Using the right tools

Effectively engaging with your customers relies on having the right tools.

Tools that automate your processes so you can focus on making your customers happy. Serving highly targeted, personalised messages is an effective way of doing this.

Instead of relying on endless email campaigns that don’t quite deliver, interact with customers in meaningful ways throughout their online journey. Encourage Betty the big spender to shop again; Ben the bargain hunter to introduce friends for 10% off; Freddy the frequent shopper to give NPS feedback.

Different messages united in their objectives: to increase customer engagement, lifetime value and overall revenue. 

Is now a good time to mention that Mention Me can do that for you, all with minimal tech work?

So there you have it: five customer retention challenges.

Ready to solve them? Check out our final blog in the series on five customer retention strategies, guaranteed to keep your customers coming back and growing your business. 



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