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Strategy

Masters of Retention: How the Top Global Companies Keep Their Customers Happy

"Stand on the shoulders of giants" - not ALWAYS true, but in so many cases can be both true and essential. Here are some examples of big dogs acing it on the retention front

Lauren Dowdle
November 08 2017

Do you know what your business and some of the biggest companies in the world have in common? You all have customers.

You might not have the same budget or resources as these major companies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a page from their book on customer retention. How you treat and engage customers is important whether you have five or 5,000 employees.

Here’s what these seven top companies do to retain customers, in no particular order.

Walmart

The world’s largest company by revenue doesn’t just keep its customers coming back for its low prices and large selection. The retail giant has also incorporated intuitive technological features like enhanced check-out options like Scan & Go and expanded ecommerce offerings.

And in an effort to throw their hat into the mobile ring, Walmart has also stepped up its mobile strategy to retain customers. It launched its Walmart Pay payment app last year, and repeat use drove 80% of transactions in the app.

They’ve also created more deals that are only available through their app, which was responsible for 70% of its online traffic on Black Friday. Customers want a convenient way to shop and interact with a company, and their app has proven to be a successful tool for meeting consumers’ needs.

Walmart has found a way to bring its brick-and-mortar store into the digital age, improving the customer experience and giving them several ways of engage with the company.

Apple

Anytime you have customers who are willing to camp out for days to purchase your product, you know you’ve fostered some devotion. Apple is the king of loyalty. The brand is constantly creating dedicated customers who are willing to pay more for a product and brand name.

One of their most profitable retention endeavors are their stores. Apple stores are centered around creating an enjoyable customer experience, from their product displays, informational classes and Genius Bar. Instead of focusing on encouraging purchases, the store’s employees put their efforts into building a friendly, inviting environment, centered on product education.

Coca-Cola

We all want to feel understood. And when a company can satisfy that sentiment and truly connect with customers, they have something special. That’s what Coca-Cola has been trying to do with its “Share a Coke” campaign, which resulted in a 2% increase in soft-drink sales.

When consumers see their name or a relatable description on a drink, it makes them feel more connected to the product and brand. This type of campaign also encourages customers to engage with the company by sharing photos of themselves with their personalized drink.

Disney

The brand behind “The Happiest Place on Earth” knows how to create a memorable experience that keeps customers coming back. Beyond its media brands, Disney has parks spanning the globe that see about a billion visitors a year. So, what’s their secret?

Even with such large crowds, Disney finds a way to provide personalized experiences, which is an important aspect of retention. Their Test Track ride enables attendees to use their Disney cards to customize their car and check their car’s performance after the ride is over.

What could have been a standard ride is am entertaining and technologically advanced unique customer experience. Disney knows that today’s consumers value personalization and companies that create more than the standard offerings.

Amazon

As the master of ecommerce, Amazon has changed the way consumers make purchases. Anyone can use the site, but Amazon gives Prime customers plenty of reasons to keep renewing each year.

Prime Day is a great example of giving customers value and showing the company appreciates them — which go a long way towards retention. This annual day offers special deals for Prime users, basically creating a new sales holiday.

This year’s Prime Day sales surpassed Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and sales were also up 60% over 2016. Customers love a good sale, and Amazon shows them they’re willing to make their experience unique and special.

Nestlé

Getting a solid read on customers and listening to their feedback is an important part of customer retention. Nestlé Waters North America knows their customers’ opinions matter a great deal, so they opened a digital Consumer Engagement Center to manage its online and offline brand data.

The center is focused on social listening and analytics so they can better understand what their customers want and need.

That includes managing their online communities, analyzing customer data and behavior, using the data to engage customers with targeted messages and then improving the efficiency of their campaigns. You can never have too much data on your customers.

Google

Google also has a wide range of products and services, including Gmail, Google Maps, Google+, Google Analytics and much more. It continues to serve as an online leader by pushing the technological envelope, and of course, they’re also known for their customer loyalty.

Google’s dedication to constant innovation is one of the reasons customers stick with the brand. Staying up to date is important to their customers, which is why technological advancement is one of their highest priorities.

Google seeks out ways to make their customers’ lives easier, and create products that are in line with what users desire.

Take a Page From Their Books

Take a note out of these companies’ playbooks to boost your customer retention game plan. You don’t need a huge amount of resources to incorporate the basic components of successful customer retention strategies.

Figure out what works best for you and your customers — whether it’s boosting your online offerings, focusing on the customer’s experience or offering special deals. They want to see that you value them, and you can show them that through providing personalized and engaging services.

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Lauren Dowdle

Lauren Dowdle is an award-winning writer and magazine editor based in Nashville, Tenn. Her nearly decade-long writing career has covered everything from landscaping to marketing — plus being interviewed by Jay Leno and winning a backhoe-operating contest. When she’s not behind the keyboard, you’ll find her spoiling her four furry babies and exploring the city with her husband.

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