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Customer retention management is the process of organizing and overseeing all of a company's efforts to keep current customers. This can include managing loyalty programs, developing customer satisfaction programs and overseeing customer communications, such as interactions on social media sites and email communications. Experts agree that customer retention management is important to companies because keeping existing customers is easier and less costly than attracting new ones.
A number of factors go into customer retention management. One is quality control, both of products and services, and of customer relationships. This means ensuring that problems with products and services are rare and that, when they do occur, they are resolved quickly and completely. It also means training a customer service staff to be responsive to issues and empowering them to provide solutions. Help desk and customer service supervisors are often an important component of a business' customer retention management efforts.
Another way that businesses retain customers is by building loyalty programs. Such programs include frequent buyer discounts, points programs and members-only specials. Developing and managing these programs can be a complex job. Even in the case of simple programs, such as punch cards, someone must still advertise the program, communicate changes and benefits to customers and track reward distribution. Used effectively, customer loyalty programs can go a long way toward increasing customer retention.
Communicating with customers is another important part of customer retention management. Customers may be more likely to remain loyal to companies with which they feel a personal relationship. This can be accomplished through regular, consistent and targeted electronic and print communications. This might mean organizing email notifications of sales or specials that are of special interest to certain customers. It might also mean managing social media campaigns, including messages, contests and promotions.
Managing customer retention efforts is rarely confined to a single individual or department, though there may be a person or team responsible for tracking and implementing such efforts. The most effective programs typically involve all areas of the company and include employees at all customer touch points. It is important that both high-level executives and field personnel are committed to increasing customer loyalty.
Businesses that work to develop effective customer retention programs and then expend effort to manage those programs are likely to form more positive relationships with customers; customers are likely to become loyal to the company and are less likely to give business to a competitor. They are also more likely to refer friends to the business.
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