It happens more often than you think …
One of your top competitors calls your customer with an “almost-too-good-to-pass-up” offer to switch to their software.
And it’s not just any customer of yours that they call. It’s John … 5-years-a-customer, sends-in-referrals-all-the-time, speaks-highly-of-your-company-any-chance-he-gets-on-social-media John.
Fortunately for you, John doesn’t think twice when he gets this call. He politely thanks your competitor for the offer, then starts singing praises about your software and your company.
Done. Conversation over. All’s good.
While John loves your software, he’s not just thinking about the technology when he reflects on his satisfaction level. He thinks about his overall experience with your software AND your company.
You see, the actual dollar value of your software is easy to calculate … but it’s your customers’ perceptions that really determine the true value of your brand in their eyes — and determine your worth in the marketplace.
That’s why it’s vitally important as a software provider to continually evolve and innovate technology-wise, AND continue to build value-add resources and differentiators into your offering. Doing so will strengthen customer retention and help you stand out from your competitors.
Customer Retention = Long-Term Success
My last post talked about blogging as a way to educate and train customers on your software in order to increase usage and strengthen retention.
Another way to support usage and strengthen brand loyalty? Develop and distribute exclusive content … content that you keep behind a log-in and/or distribute only to customers.
Why make it exclusive? Because exclusivity works. People want to be “in the group”, rather than out of it. Customers feel good when they’re included and “in on the content”. They feel special. And of course, you want your customers to feel special and appreciated.
Exclusive content also serves as an additional benefit — a bonus — for being a customer.
Content can come in many different formats: ebooks, FAQs, podcasts, infographics, slidedecks, webinar recordings, how-to guides, tip sheets, checklists, templates, courses, conferences, certification programs.
No matter the format, you’ll want to make sure you share your content on a regular basis, so that your customers see this consultative service as a valuable resource.
Many of our channel partners disseminate their content through monthly email newsletters. Some have password-protected communities or sections of their website that house exclusive customer content.
When creating your content you’ll want to make sure you have a mix of how-to-use-your-software tips and general business tips that customers would find useful, so that you are providing value beyond your software.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a software that doesn’t have a mobile app attached to it these days. Mobile apps provide ease of use and accessibility for software users — helping to streamline key business processes.
App sessions also translate into an opportunity for you to communicate new features and marketing messages to your customers, which ultimately increases engagement, builds loyalty, and cultivates retention.
Many companies also use apps to reward loyalty through a rewards program. Think Starbucks. Reward programs get customers to return to stores and make purchases again and again. In the case of software, rewards programs can increase software usage and brand loyalty.
Many of our channel partners are in the member management space. The membership business owner needs an app to manage operations easily through their mobile device. His or her staff of instructors, trainers and/or administrative personnel need an app to access schedules and payroll. And, the business’ members need an app to book appointments and sessions, register for events, and check-in with their smartphone.
In other words, there’s LOTS of business opportunity for member management software providers to deliver value by delivering multiple mobile apps.
In the age of instant messaging and social media, it only makes sense for your customer service to go social and instant too.
One of the best ways to serve your customers quickly is through live chat. Instead of waiting for an email response or picking up the phone to reach customer service, customers just open a chat box, send a message and receive a quick response back from a live customer service representative.
With live chat, the end user (your customer) can also multi-task — do other things on their to-do list — while chatting live with customer service. In other words, live chat is very convenient for customers. And it’s personal and private.
Many of our software-provider channel partners use live chat for software support and for prospecting. So not only does live chat create value and better serve your customers — it’s a great way to serve prospects too that may not want to pick up the phone to ask questions about your software or dive into a live demo at the moment.
Start Building Value Now
Just like any business initiative, you’ll want to create a plan around customer retention. Use this list, and the other post: 3 Ways to Build Value into Your Software Offering, as your starting point.
Determine what value-added services would make the most impact to your business, customer retention and your bottom line — and what’s feasible and realistic to accomplish. Once you have your list, put your plan on paper, resource it to create accountability and add due dates to keep productivity on track.
Have a retention-building tactic to add to the list? Share it below.
Kristen Campbell is a Marketing Specialist with Constellation Payments.
Images courtesy of Pixabay.
Subscribe to our Blog, How Payments Are Done!
Get continual educational guidance and strategies on important payment topics including: data protection, tokenization, EMV, and more.
Visit HowPaymentsAreDone.com, enter your email address into the ‘Subscribe to Our Blog’ box and we’ll send our best advice to your inbox.