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This past year was all about making digital the core of your business and marketing functions. That means installing the right technical infrastructure to support the foundation of marketing, as well as automating your processes to generate the leads needed to meet your sales revenue goals.
As functions change and new job roles arise, I am seeing trends move toward retention and customer satisfaction in the new year. We all know that most customers are looking for the fastest and most convenient services, but beyond that, they are looking for a company that they can call their “best friend.” This is where customer retention and loyalty come in. They are going to play a bigger role than ever in the coming year.
Here are the top three trends startups must stay on top of in order to crush retention and loyalty in 2019.
Value And Hyper-Personalization
With so many emerging services and products out there today, what makes one startup stand out from its competition? It isn’t just about what you serve, but the value that you bring. Can you justify the value of your product or service? Are you able to make your customer say, “Yes, of course I will buy. This is a no-brainer!”?
Justify your business’s value by assigning a value to each feature of your product or service (this is usually decided by your customer or a group of customers). If you want the sell to be a no-brainer, show that the value justification is higher than the cost of the product or service. For example, Mailchimp sells a growth subscription starting at $10 per month for 500 contacts and unlimited emails. This cost is nothing compared to the revenue your business will produce from email marketing automation, so it’s a no-brainer sell.
The next step is to take that validation and hyper-personalize it. This means tailoring your service to your customers. If a customer has a thing for white chocolate, send them white chocolates on their birthday. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. To learn more about your customers, carry out a survey campaign that includes three to five surveys, and give them a reward at the end of each completed one. This will give you enough data to hyper-personalize your offerings and customer service.
If you really want to serve your customers in 2019, focus on convenience and quality delivery. Consumers today live fast-paced lives or are stressed with work, so how are you going to ensure that your product or service relieves some of that stress?
Many of the startups I work with are focusing on a mobile approach to ensure they are engaging customers and delivering value at the pace customers expect. I’ve also seen things like same-day delivery and even on-the-go services. For example, PRPmobile has changed the game for medical spa services by providing spa services on the go.
Build a business where you can serve your clients from anywhere, no matter where you are located. Focus on implementing technology that can help you automate and speed up your processes. For example, invest in drone services to deliver products to your customers instead of snail mail.
I had to deal with a few pivots this year, and one of the biggest was becoming more of a value-shared network than a one-sided serving business model. Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces take the pressure off the business owner to produce sales all the time and instead focus on the value the community brings. This results in long-time retention and loyalty because today’s consumers prioritize referrals and reviews more than ever before. They make decisions based on social proof, and having that community can help build instant trust.
For example, a service-based business like a hair or salon now has more competition than ever with similar shops at every corner. Startups are turning this problem on its head by creating P2P platforms that allow all service providers to be accessible in one place. Consumers can use P2P platforms to find the place that is best suited for their needs, making it easy for them to do their homework.
Startups focusing on a P2P model in 2019 pay a small subscription fee to the data providers. The P2P model requires a small subscription fee because businesses are essentially receiving free leads without having to pay for them. They are receiving free advertisement in a marketplace where thousands of consumers are looking for services just like theirs. This all but eliminates the need for a sales team and puts focus on marketing.
As a startup, your goal is to stay as lean as possible and one way of doing that is to build a shared network. Startups can stay lean with a shared network because they don’t have to focus on revenue from one source — they are opening multiple sources of income through a subscription model and other areas of revenue. You can start building this platform by focusing on forming strong alliances with your competition. Then, choose a platform and focus on the acquisition side to draw in consumers who are ready to purchase.
These trends are currently on the rise. We will see more startups adapting to hyper-personalization of services, customer convenience and P2P marketplaces in 2019 to meet customer needs.
December 18, 2018 at 09:35AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs