As a business owner, the only thing better than converting a new customer is getting them to stick around.
But making this happen isn’t exactly easy — and it requires a strategic and systematic approach to get it right.
To be sure, technology is a core piece of the puzzle here: If you’re looking to ramp up your customer retention efforts, you absolutely need to have the right tools on-hand.
Which is what we’ll be focusing on today.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Why customer retention is essential to business success
- The types of internal and customer-facing tools that aid retention efforts
- The key features of these tools that aid these efforts
- The pros and cons of the best customer retention tools on the market today
Let’s dive in.
Why is Customer Retention Essential to Business Success?
On just the surface, it’s pretty obvious that getting a customer to buy from you twice is better than getting them to buy from you once.
But there’s much more to it than that.
And once you understand the true value of customer retention, you’ll understand why investing in the right tools is non-negotiable.
Simply put, retaining customers is much more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
(Note: Many of the other reasons we’ll discuss here tie back into these lower costs.)
Because your returning customers have more experience with your products, services, and overall brand, you won’t need to start from scratch with them. Rather, you can pick up where you left off — and use everything you’ve learned about them to provide more relevant experiences and targeted offers.
Ideally, your returning customers will have a highly positive disposition toward your brand, as well. For these individuals, it will take even less time, money, and energy for your team to sell to them with each return visit.
Repeat customers also spend more per transaction than first-time customers — making each return visit even more valuable to your business.
(In fact, studies show that return customers spend up to 67% more than first-time customers per transaction.)
And, again, it’s just easier to get your returning customers to spend more on your brand — whether via upselling, cross-selling, or a combination of both.
Since they’ll have found success with your lower-priced offerings, they’ll be primed and ready to see what else you have in store for them.
3. Value of Feedback
When it comes to collecting feedback, your long-time customers offer two key benefits:
For one, they’re more likely to offer feedback and/or respond to feedback requests in the first place. This is especially true if your audience knows you’ll actually use their feedback to improve your products, services, and overall experience.
Secondly, your long-time customers are likely to:
- Be highly engaged with your brand
- Be highly knowledgeable about your products and services
- Have realistic expectations regarding potential product/service improvements
In other words, they’re equipped to provide the most valuable feedback you can possibly collect from any of your audience members. So, the longer you keep your customers around, the more valuable their feedback will become over time.
4. Loyalty Turns to Advocacy
According to a 2022 report from Clarus Commerce, nearly half of all consumers talk to others about their favorite brands.
This means you essentially have a 50/50 shot of getting some free marketing via word-of-mouth from your best customers. And, as we said above, these individuals can use their in-depth knowledge of your brand to provide targeted and informative recommendations to specific people in their network.
5. Stable Revenue Base
A solid base of loyal customers provides predictable and stable revenue, which is crucial for long-term planning and investment.
You can also reverse-engineer your long-time customers’ journeys with your company to understand just what’s kept them around for so long. From there, you can…
- Continue improving your products and services where it matters most
- Add new products or services to complement your current offerings
- Identify new audiences that are likely to become long-time customers
With all this in place, your already stable revenue base will continue to grow larger and stronger by the day.
Key Features of Customer Retention Tools
Customer retention doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Rather, it occurs as the product of your team doing a bunch of things just right throughout your customer’s journey with your brand.
To make this happen, you’ll need a well-rounded tech stack that includes:
- A customer relationship management system
- Tools for communicating with your customers
- Loyalty program software
- Customer support and self-service software
- Reporting and analytics tools
That said, it’s crucial that the tools in your tech stack provide the following retention-focused features.
1. Data Collection and Analysis
As mentioned above, the key to retaining more customers is understanding what makes your current customers stick around.
(And, what’s unfortunately causing your churning customers to leave your brand behind.)
To figure all this out, you need data — and the tools to help you make sense of it all with the click of a button.
As you look at the various customer retention tools on the market, be sure to focus on those that offer comprehensive, AI-powered reporting and analytics. The tool should offer robust data collection capabilities, aggregating information from various sources like transaction history, customer interactions, and feedback. Advanced analysis features, including predictive analytics, can help identify trends, customer lifetime value, and potential churn risks.
2. Optimized (and Automated) Communication
Your retention tools should facilitate automated, yet personalized, communication based on customer behavior and preferences.
Automation of routine communications, like transaction confirmations or reminders, frees up time for more personalized customer engagements. Tools should allow for person-to-person communication on whichever channel is most appropriate and convenient.
3. Integration Capabilities
Seamless integration with CRM systems, email platforms, social media, and other essential business tools ensures a consistent and comprehensive view of each customer.
As we’ll discuss, many retention-focused tools actually sit on-top of these other more foundational tools. To this end, ensuring seamless integration with third-party apps and tools is essential.
4. User-Friendly Interface
Your customer retention tools should offer an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface for both your team and your customers.
Ideally, these tools will include interactive guides and experiences for onboarding and advanced use. Additional resources (e.g., instruction manuals, knowledge bases) ensure your team and customers know how to best navigate the tool for their purposes.
Another thing to consider here is accessibility: The retention tools you adopt should offer various ways to utilize them depending on the user’s abilities and preferences.
5. Customization Options
Customization is vital to your customer retention efforts.
So it’s just as vital that your retention tools offer customization options to fit the specific needs of your customers and your business.
Depending on the tool, you’ll want to be able to customize:
- Your branding and messaging
- Your customer journey map
- Your internal workflows
Also, consider the amount of technical knowledge needed to make the necessary customizations.
Customer retention tools should be able to scale with the business, handling an increasing volume of customers and data without a drop in performance.
Moreover, they should scale in terms of functionality with your and your customers’ growing needs. Beyond the current tiers of service, look to the provider’s track record of improving their software based on feedback and industry trends to ensure they’ll continue providing value for years to come.
14 Tools to Help You Improve Customer Retention Rates
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the key tools you can use to improve your customer retention rates.
1. HubSpot Service Hub
HubSpot Service Hub is a comprehensive customer service and support platform that integrates various customer service data and channels.
Service Hub is designed to scale support through automation and self-service, aiming to enhance customer experiences and help you grow your customer base. The tool is part of the broader HubSpot CRM platform, a comprehensive solution for teams looking to enhance their customer relationships.
HubSpot Service Hub for Customer Retention
HubSpot Service Hub centralizes customer communications and service data, allowing teams to improve response times and personalization efforts — boosting both customer satisfaction and loyalty in turn.
HubSpot Service Hub Pros
- Service ticket organization
- Engagement and communication tracking
- Automation (especially re: task management)
HubSpot Service Hub Cons
- Potentially too costly for small companies
- Can be complex for non-tech teams
2. Salesforce Service Cloud
Salesforce Service Cloud is a leading AI-powered platform for customer service, designed to bring efficiency and cost reduction across various service touchpoints.
Salesforce integrates AI and data on a single platform, enabling companies to offer personalized experiences across multiple channels and improve self-service. The platform is geared towards boosting team productivity and operational efficiency through AI and data-driven insights.
Salesforce Service Cloud for Customer Retention
Salesforce Service Cloud delivers personalized customer experiences by providing tailored services across various channels, significantly increasing customer satisfaction.
Additionally, Salesforce Service Cloud is adept at ensuring efficient case resolution. It streamlines customer service processes and incorporates automation, leading to faster and more effective support. This not only rapidly addresses customer issues, enhancing their experience, but also boosts the productivity of support teams.
Salesforce Service Cloud Pros
- Chatbot and instant messaging
- User-friendly interface
- Automations and integrations
Salesforce Service Cloud Cons
- A complex tool that non-technical teams might have difficulty with
- The cost of advanced service tiers is out of range for small businesses
Zendesk Support Suite is a comprehensive customer support solution designed to facilitate seamless and efficient interactions across various channels, including email, chat, voice, and social messaging apps.
Zendesk offers a unified agent workspace, enabling teams to provide faster and more personalized customer experiences. As a service-first CRM company, Zendesk focuses on fostering better customer relationships for businesses of all sizes and industries.
Zendesk for Customer Retention
Zendesk enhances customer retention primarily through its efficient ticketing system, which streamlines handling customer queries and issues.
Its Knowledge Base and FAQ sections provide valuable self-service resources for customers, reducing the support team's load.
Additionally, Zendesk's features improve team collaboration, ensuring quicker and more effective resolution of customer issues, thereby enhancing overall service quality.
- Efficient ticketing system
- Intuitive, configurable interface
- Comprehensive training materials
- Initial learning curve when onboarding
- Some integrations can be glitchy
Freshdesk's customer support software is a popular Zendesk alternative that's designed to help businesses manage and resolve customer inquiries efficiently.
Freshdesk centralizes requests from various channels like email, web, phone, chat, messaging, and social media into a unified ticketing system. Freshdesk stands out for its strong automation, AI capabilities, and ease of use, making it a popular choice for businesses of various sizes.
Freshdesk for Customer Retention
Freshdesk plays a crucial role in customer retention by offering streamlined customer support, where efficient ticket management and resolution processes lead to quicker service, thus boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The tool’s omnichannel support and customization options enable personalized customer interactions, fostering a stronger, more personal connection. And, by empowering customers with self-service options through comprehensive knowledge bases, Freshdesk enhances the customer experience and simultaneously reduces the support team's workload.
- User-friendly interface and ease-of-adoption
- Efficient ticket management system
- Streamlined integrations
- Mobile app limitations
- Potentially too complex for small businesses
- Relative cost increase with scaling
5. Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk is a versatile online customer service help desk system that enhances customer satisfaction and streamlines service agent operations.
Zoho Desk is designed to facilitate efficient customer interactions and foster strong business relationships through its comprehensive set of features.
Zoho Desk for Customer Retention
Zoho Desk enhances customer retention by improving customer accessibility, making businesses more reachable and responsive to customer needs.
It enables agents to offer personalized customer service, ensuring tailored and efficient interactions. Zoho Desk also provides data-driven insights, offering valuable information on customer preferences and behavior.
Zoho Desk Pros
- Comprehensive customer support features
- Workspace customization options
- Powerful integration capabilities
Zoho Desk Cons
- Potentially too complex for small, non-tech teams
- Resource intensive onboarding and training
Intercom is a comprehensive customer communication platform that blends automation and human support to deliver efficient and satisfying customer service experiences.
Intercom is particularly known for its AI capabilities and omnichannel support, making it a versatile tool for managing customer interactions.
Intercom for Customer Retention
Intercom helps improve customer retention by offering immediate resolution, ensuring quick and effective solutions that enhance customer satisfaction.
Intercom facilitates personalized interactions through customization and proactive messaging, creating a more tailored experience for customers. Moreover, Intercom's data-driven insights, derived from analytics, assist in understanding customer needs and preferences, thereby continuously improving the quality of customer service.
- AI-enhanced help desk and chatbot
- Message automation and customization
- Optimized mobile app
- Too feature-heavy for small teams
- Costly investment
LiveAgent is an all-in-one customer support solution designed to enhance customer service across multiple channels.
LiveAgent is known for its quick implementation, comprehensive features, and integration capabilities, aiming to boost customer satisfaction and support efficiency.
LiveAgent for Customer Retention
LiveAgent boosts customer engagement and retention by integrating live chat and social media, facilitating improved interaction and satisfaction.
The platform offers personalized support, thanks to its call center and efficient ticketing system, ensuring tailored and effective customer service. Additionally, LiveAgent provides self-service options through its comprehensive knowledge base, which not only reduces the load on support teams but also empowers customers to find solutions independently.
- Advanced ticketing workflows and templates
- Fast setup
- Comprehensive customer support
- Dated interface
- Learning curve for full utilization
8. Kustomer (by Meta)
Kustomer is an advanced customer service CRM platform, leveraging AI to enhance customer experiences.
Kustomer focuses on omnichannel messaging, a unified customer view, and AI-driven automations, aiming to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of customer support.
Kustomer for Customer Retention
Kustomer plays a pivotal role in customer retention by offering enhanced customer experiences through AI chatbots and proactive support, ensuring rapid and personalized interactions.
Kustomer leverages data-driven insights, utilizing data effectively to understand and anticipate customer needs, thereby improving service quality. The tool provides seamless communication by supporting omnichannel interactions, allowing customers to engage through their preferred channels, further enhancing the customer experience.
- AI-powered chatbots
- Omnichannel messaging and support
- Social media integrations
- Complex reporting and analytics
- Costly for small businesses
Gainsight is a comprehensive customer success and product experience platform.
Gainsight aids businesses in enhancing revenue, reducing customer churn, and fostering customer advocacy through detailed insights into customer health and behavior.
Gainsight for Customer Retention
Gainsight significantly contributes to customer retention by enabling proactive customer management, allowing for the early identification of at-risk customers and facilitating timely interventions.
Gainsight enhances customer engagement through various digital touchpoints and insights, leading to improved customer experiences. It focuses on data-driven decisions, utilizing tools like health scoring and NPS tracking to inform and refine strategies aimed at retaining customers effectively.
- Product experience reports and insights
- Digital customer journey mapping
- Productivity tools for customer success managers
- Advanced features may be too complex for small businesses
Birdeye is an all-in-one reputation and customer experience platform used by over 100,000 businesses.
Birdseye enables effective management of online reputation, facilitates digital communication with prospects, and provides insights for customer experience improvement. Key features include review management, messaging across various channels, AI-powered insights, and tools for enhancing online reputation and customer experience.
Birdeye for Customer Retention
Birdeye supercharges customer retention by focusing on helping brands build and optimize their online reputation.
Birdeye manages and responds to customer reviews, helping businesses attract and retain customers through a strong online presence. The software enhances customer engagement by offering multi-channel communication options, which significantly improve customer satisfaction.
Finally, Birdeye’s AI-powered analytics provide data-driven insights, enabling businesses to understand customer needs better. This leads to the delivery of tailored services, which are crucial for improving customer retention.
- Omnichannel messaging
- Customer experience improvement features
- AI-powered reports and insights
- Message tagging can be glitchy
- Poor customer support reported
Retently is a comprehensive Customer Experience Management Platform designed primarily for SMBs and mid-market companies.
Retently focuses on NPS, CSAT, CES, and STAR surveys, along with robust customer feedback management. The platform is known for its advanced features like personalized surveys, multi-language support, real-time feedback integration with Slack, and AI-powered analytics.
Retently for Customer Retention
Retently is instrumental in customer retention through its focus on personalized customer interactions.
By utilizing personalized surveys and feedback, Retently significantly enhances customer engagement. It leverages automated analytics and industry benchmarks, providing data-driven insights that inform customer satisfaction strategies.
Furthermore, Retently employs automation and real-time feedback mechanisms for proactive engagement, ensuring timely customer interactions and efficient issue resolution.
- Advanced survey template manager
- Data segmentation and management
- Zapier-powered automation playbooks
- Popup timing/triggers can be glitchy
- Multi-language support is lacking
LoyaltyLion is a data-driven engagement and loyalty platform tailored for ecommerce brands.
LoyaltyLion specializes in creating unique loyalty strategies and programs to enhance customer retention and optimize loyalty efforts. The platform is known for its focus on building customer loyalty, expert onboarding, goal-oriented approach, comprehensive support, and customer success management.
LoyaltyLion for Customer Retention
LoyaltyLion allows teams to create customized loyalty programs that significantly boost customer engagement and loyalty.
The software utilizes data-driven strategies to understand customer behavior and preferences, thereby crafting effective retention strategies. Additionally, LoyaltyLion provides continuous optimization, offering ongoing support and expert guidance to evolve loyalty programs in line with changing customer needs.
- Customizable program templates
- Customer success management
- Comprehensive onboarding
- Simple solution that doesn’t scale well
- Poor ongoing support
ClientSuccess is a customer success management software designed to streamline and enhance customer experiences.
ClientSuccess is known for its simplicity, fast implementation, and comprehensive features that provide insights into customer retention, renewal, and growth. The platform is particularly beneficial for managing customer relationships, offering visibility into key metrics, and enabling data-driven decision-making.
ClientSuccess for Customer Retention
ClientSuccess helps teams enhance customer experiences, which are vital for maintaining customer loyalty.
It provides valuable insights into customer behavior and trends, aiding businesses in understanding their clientele better. ClientSuccess’ scalability allows it to adapt to changing business needs and supports the growth of customer success programs.
- User-friendly interface
- Simple implementation and onboarding
- Comprehensive customer insights
- Overwhelming advanced features
- Some technical glitches reported
Using Helpjuice to Improve Customer Retention
A comprehensive knowledge base tool is essential to your efforts to keep customers onboard and engaged with your brand.
For one, your external knowledge base allows for customer-friendly self-service — letting your patrons quickly find the answers they need to keep using your product to great success. And, your internal knowledge base makes it that much easier for your support staff to help your customers along their journey.
That’s where Helpjuice comes in.
With our software, you can create internal and customer-facing knowledge bases to ensure your customers always have the information they need to succeed.
Want to learn more? Sign up for a free demo of Helpjuice today!