9 Uncommon but Effective Strategies for Customer Retention

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By Jacob Maslow

To uncover unique and effective strategies for customer retention, we sought insights from nine industry professionals, including CEOs and marketing managers. From embracing unexpected personalization to promoting clients on your social channels, these leaders share their uncommon but effective strategies for keeping customers loyal and engaged.

  • Embrace Unexpected Personalization
  • Establish an Exclusive Customer Community
  • Send Handwritten Thank-You Notes
  • Make Customers Part of Your Success Story
  • Provide Exceptional Post-Purchase Support
  • Create a Customer Appreciation Month
  • Offer Attentive Customer Support
  • Implement Gamification
  • Promote Clients on Your Social Channels

1. Embrace Unexpected Personalization

Drawing from my experience, I’ve found that customers feel valued when receiving personalized attention that goes beyond the norm. 

For instance, we once had a client who was a big fan of the Chicago Cubs. Besides our regular customer service, we sent them a vintage Cubs cap as a birthday gift. This personalized gesture touched our client, and it undoubtedly strengthened our business relationship. So, the notion of “Unexpected Personalization” might be uncommon, but from my experience, it’s a powerful customer-retention strategy.

Timothy Clarke, Sr. Reputation and Marketing Manager, Rize Reviews

2. Establish an Exclusive Customer Community

Building an exclusive customer community creating a private online space where your most loyal customers can interact, is a newer and understated strategy for customer retention.

Our exclusive Discord server for our clients helps promote our services. We have various channels on the server with which we interact throughout the week in different ways to help keep them engaged. With channels for special discounts, tips, and tricks and for them to share their insights, we can offer our customers unique value through our brand. We post in each channel on scheduled days of the week to encourage interactions, and we use our feedback channel as another angle to improve our customer satisfaction.

I have plans to introduce this to our general customer base in 2024. This method has proven to be a great way to connect with your audience directly and create an exclusive and valued experience. I’d recommend that any small business try this approach.

Ryan Carrigan, CEO and Founder, moveBuddha

3. Send Handwritten Thank-You Notes

One unique but highly effective strategy is sending your customers handwritten thank-you notes or personalized messages. Not only does this make a tremendous impact on customers feeling appreciated, but it is also a great way for them to remember and connect with your company on an emotional level. 

In my experience as an entrepreneur for over five years, I have seen firsthand how powerful this simple gesture of writing customers a thank-you note can be in driving loyalty and engagement.

Rick Elmore, CEO, Simply Noted

4. Make Customers Part of Your Success Story

Keeping your customers engaged goes beyond just offering discounts or a loyalty program. One unconventional but effective approach is to make your customers part of your success story. 

In our Pays-2-Share program, we let customers share coupons they find online. Then, we reward them with a piece of the pie—2% of the sales those coupons generate. This transforms the usual customer-business relationship into a collaborative venture, and people love being part of something bigger.

Gary Gray, CFO, CouponChief.com

5. Provide Exceptional Post-Purchase Support

Offering exceptional post-purchase support is an uncommon but highly effective strategy. Many businesses focus on pre-sale efforts, but the genuine relationship-building begins after the sale. It’s important to provide customers with ongoing assistance, whether it’s answering questions, offering usage tips, or troubleshooting any issues they encounter with your product or service. 

In my business, we go beyond a simple “thank you.” We go the extra mile to help our customers get the most out of their availed services, which are edited videos. We offer them tutorials, tips, and occasional check-ins to see if they have questions or need further assistance. This personalized care can turn one-time clients into loyal fans who keep returning for more of your products or services.

Daniel Willmott, Founder, Shortformvideo.co

6. Create a Customer Appreciation Month

An inventive customer-retention strategy is creating a Customer Appreciation Month. Dedicate an entire month to celebrate and show gratitude to your customers. Offer exclusive discounts, surprise gifts, and personalized thank-you notes. Highlight customer success stories and contributions on your website and social media

This unique approach makes customers feel cherished and generates excitement and anticipation, encouraging them to stay engaged and loyal throughout the year.

Gregory Rozdeba, CEO, Dundas Life

7. Offer Attentive Customer Support

The most impactful tactic for us was very attentive customer support. The biggest churn rate for new app users occurred after our 14-day free trial. 

Our tool has always been complicated, making it even harder to figure out as we add more useful features. We assumed this could be the problem and offered our new users a 15-minute call. This time is enough to show customers how to set up a campaign and brief them on the app’s key features. 

This strategy turned out to be a success! Through these calls, we confirmed our theory and discovered that users were overwhelmed by all the complicated features and could not find the necessary ones. The attention paid to our new users helps us retain 30% of them and build strong, trust-based relationships with them from the start. It creates a feeling that our customer support is always by their side and ready to assist.

Daria Erina, Managing Director, Linked Helper

8. Implement Gamification

One underutilized strategy for customer retention is gamification. It’s not just for apps and games; it’s for shopping, too.

By transforming purchases into points and setting up rewarding missions, businesses can make shopping feel like an ongoing adventure. Customers get hooked, eager to earn more points for future discounts.

It’s a win-win; customers enjoy the thrill, and businesses see them return, eager to cash in on the rewards they’ve earned. It’s all about making every purchase feel part of a bigger journey.

Marco Genaro Palma, Content Marketing Manager, PRLab

9. Promote Clients on Your Social Channels

If some of your clients are business owners, exposing them to your company’s social channels might be a good idea. The easiest way to do this is by tagging them in your Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn post.

It’s a win-win situation. You make a positive impression by surprising the customer with an unexpected benefit. You bring an additional, yet unexpected, value to the transaction. The client not only acquires high-quality service but also gains a tangible advantage: a free boost in visibility. With that in mind, they will be much more likely to use your services again. 

Another positive outcome is the high chance they will share your post or link to you. Not only will it bring you more customers, but it will also increase one of the critical factors needed for customer retention: product engagement.

This frequently ignored strategy can become a crucial factor in the development of your business. Taking into account its simplicity, it is worth trying it.
Martyna Szcześniak, Community Expert, MyPerfectResume

Decoding Expert Insights for Customer Retention

In today’s competitive market, the art of retaining customers often outweighs the challenge of attracting new ones. Following the profound insights shared by nine distinguished industry leaders, from savvy CEOs to innovative marketing experts, we further delve into their strategies. With their unique perspectives and experiences, these professionals have illuminated paths less traveled in customer relationship management. They offer an array of strategies, from the charm of personal gestures to the allure of exclusive communities. Each approach is a testament to their success in fostering deep customer loyalty and engagement. As we dissect these methodologies, we aim to uncover the underlying reasons for their effectiveness in maintaining strong, lasting customer relationships.

1. Unpacking “Unexpected Personalization”

  • Strategy Insight: Timothy Clarke highlights the impact of personalized gestures, like gifting a vintage Cubs cap to a client, which goes beyond standard customer service.
  • Why It Works: This level of personalization makes customers feel uniquely valued, fostering a deeper connection and loyalty to the brand.

2. Exploring “Exclusive Customer Communities”

  • Strategy Insight: Ryan Carrigan shares the success of creating a private online space for clients, like a Discord server, offering interaction and unique brand value.
  • Why It Works: This strategy creates a sense of exclusivity and belonging, enhancing customer loyalty and providing direct feedback channels.

3. The Impact of Handwritten Thank-You Notes

  • Strategy Insight: Rick Elmore emphasizes the emotional connection and appreciation fostered by personalized thank-you notes.
  • Why It Works: This simple, personal touch creates a memorable experience, strengthening the emotional bond between the customer and the brand.

4. Involving Customers in Your Success

  • Strategy Insight: Gary Gray discusses the “Pays-2-Share” program, rewarding customers for sharing coupons and thus involving them in the business’s success.
  • Why It Works: Customers feel like active participants and collaborators, which enhances their commitment and loyalty to the brand.

5. Exceptional Post-Purchase Support

  • Strategy Insight: Daniel Willmott’s approach includes providing ongoing assistance and personalized care post-purchase.
  • Why It Works: This attention to customer needs after the sale can convert one-time buyers into loyal, returning clients.

6. Celebrating with a Customer Appreciation Month

  • Strategy Insight: Gregory Rozdeba’s idea of dedicating a month to celebrating customers with exclusive offers and recognitions.
  • Why It Works: It creates a festive atmosphere, making customers feel valued and excited, which encourages long-term engagement and loyalty.

7. Attentive Customer Support as a Key

  • Strategy Insight: Daria Erina talks about offering personalized support to new users, significantly reducing churn rates.
  • Why It Works: Personalized attention, especially during the initial usage phase, builds trust and demonstrates the brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

8. Gamification for Engagement

  • Strategy Insight: Marco Genaro Palma suggests transforming shopping into a rewarding game with points and missions.
  • Why It Works: Gamification adds an element of fun and challenge, making the shopping experience more engaging and addictive.

9. Boosting Client Visibility on Social Channels

  • Strategy Insight: Martyna Szcześniak recommends promoting clients on your social media channels, offering them unexpected visibility.
  • Why It Works: This strategy provides clients with added value beyond the primary service, enhancing their loyalty and likelihood of recommending your services.
Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos