Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the way businesses operate, and will continue to do so. This is especially true when it comes to marketing and customer retention practices. For BoomTrain’s Tara Thomas, not only is AI changing the fundamental ways businesses are executing their digital marketing campaigns, but these solutions are also changing the way many approach retention.
Newly automated marketing software represents an opportunity for Managed Services Providers to improve their marketing tactics—and this new opportunity could be very lucrative. In fact, according to Thomas and research from Bain and Company, just a “five percent increase in customer retention can lead to an increase in profits of between 25-95 percent for your business.”
In her piece, Thomas details some tips to help improve customer retention:
Use big data.
Automated solutions, which are engineered to mimic human cognitive behaviors, are gathering copious amounts of data every minute of every day. They are continually learning. As a result, MSPs must be sure that the data presented is relevant to the services they provide. Big data is incredibly useful to business owners. However, the problem is that "a lot of this data is in silos, uncategorized, or disconnected from the marketing and customer success teams." While gathering the right information is critical to MSP success, it’s important to make sure the appropriate people have access to the correct data.
Utilize the preemptive fix.
Once a company is sure it has collected the right data, it can then execute what Thomas calls a “preemptive fix.” She says that the preemptive fix is a process that “uses customer data, product, and service usage information to understand customer patterns better.” Brick and mortar retail corporations have been using this approach for years. Online retailers like Amazon have recently started using this tactic to forecast trends of their online or delivery based customers. Now, thanks to evolving AI technology, MSPs can better predict patterns of customer behavior, allowing them to plan ahead and provide better products and services in the future.
Create an excellent customer experience.
While data is important, and goes a long way to help increase customer understanding, it’s only as successful as the product it supports. To improve customer retention, MSPs and their SMB customers need to make sure they’re offering something special. According to Thomas, “you need to create an experience that is simple, yet revolutionary for customers.” Being aware of, and planning for the customer experience can be the difference for MSPs. By creating a product and experience that is both special and valuable to customers and their success can increase brand loyalty. And brand loyalty can help ensure invested customers choose to remain invested, despite changes to any fundamental offerings.
Offer stellar support.
Implementing 24x7 help desk support with a personal touch is a sure-fire way to increase customer retention and add to the perceived value of a brand. In fact, according to a 2015 Aspect Consumer Report, “76 percent of consumers look at customer service as a test of their value to a brand.” For Thomas, AI may also be “the key to avoiding long IVR phone calls, or at least making them much more bearable.”AI technology uses customer data to streamline the process and provide a quick answer to real customer problems.
MSPs should remember that not all AI meets every need in the same way. When evaluating customer retention plans or numbers, ask the following questions:
- Is the data being pulled relevant to my customers and my business?
- How will this data help me achieve my business goals?
- Does the user experience that we provide offer something our competition will envy?
- Will my customers value this over the offerings of other companies?
- Do I have the right team and products in place to provide top-tier customer service?
If the answer to all of these questions is an unqualified yes, you are well on your way to increasing your customer retention numbers.