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Improving customer retention: 4 things we can learn from dogs

Posted by Andrea Atkinson on Nov 20, 2017 7:00:00 AM
Andrea Atkinson

How do we keep our customers engaged and loyal? This is the question that pretty much stumps us all.  

Your clients have joined your member club, done the surveys, and signed up for your email lists.  

You've hooked them in, but how do you keep your customers and guests loyal to your businesses a few months down the line? Afterall, companies must retain customers in order to remain in business

We can actually learn some lessons about loyalty from my precious pup. 


Our dogs cost money and time, especially as puppies. Despite this, they are always loyal so you would never consider leaving them.

Let's look into the idea of our customers never leaving -- this is called retention. How do we improve this in our own business?  

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself through the lens of our favorite canine companions:



Our dogs track us because they care about us. They know when we get home, what we eat, and what our favorite shoes are (it's their favorite too).  

Why not take a lesson from our furry friends and track everything. Track what your guests click. Track what they like. Track the times that they are looking at your content, or the times they are in your store and ask specific questions! It's important to know the customer's thoughts before they do. With this you can paint an accurate picture of what your loyal customers look like.

Harvard Business Review stated a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your profitability by an incredible 75%. So why not know what your customers want if it means more profits?




Pull them back! Play Tug-of-War like your dog does. An email is a great tool to keep customers engaged. Remind them that you exist. Notice their behavior, and message them about it. What movie did they see? Did they enjoy it? Get to know your clients on a personal level.   

Some of the best emails are personalized. “The key to using email effectively is ensuring the right content is delivered to customers at the right time. The more tailored the interaction, the more likely a customer is to be engaged,” said Gordon Evans, VP of product marketing at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. “Marketers should combine email with insights gained from customer data across the business, as well as with other channels and tools, to achieve this heightened level of personalization.”




According to a Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey, when customers trust a certain brand or company, 83% will recommend a trusted company to others and 82% will continue to use that brand frequently. While hardly anyone talks about the times you went above and beyond for a customer, you will definitely hear from the irritated ones.  

So how do we gain that trust?

Transparency = Trust.

Transparency is another skill that should come naturally, but so many businesses struggle with it. Our customers and clients are smart. They know when you’re being open and direct, and when a company is beating around the bush. With clients, honesty is clearly the best policy, and they’ll respect and admire you more when mistakes are admitted, rather than avoiding the topic altogether.

Instead of covering up mistakes, respond to the issue directly. Explain how it will be handled and share the steps being taken to help stop it from happening again. Leading by example amongst your team to show transparency isn’t just a face you put on to get a sale. Your employees will also admire you more for your honesty.  

How else can we use transparency to build trust?  Share. Share. Share.

Share videos, blogs, slideshows -- anything! Email is your friend. Social media networks will rise and fall, but everyone has an email. Show customers your business is human and that they are engaging with real people.  

Our wide eyed furry friends know we'll always do the best we can for them -- that started from the second they arrived at your home. The constant attention, the feeding, the potty training, all stems down to their unwavering faith and trust in you. When we care for them as much as we do, and as consistently as we do, they never lose faith for a second in their owners. The same nurturing philosophy goes for your customers as well.



The customer experience is about so much more than just the sales journey — it’s about feeling heard, getting answers to questions, having problems fixed and feeling a real connection to that business.

Listen to what guests are telling you, show them what a notable customer experience is and you’ll be rewarded with their trust, loyalty, and potentially feedback!  

Although those cute furry faces have very simple ways of speaking to us, it’s the same with our customers. They want to be heard when they’re excited, as well as very upset or angry. The simple bark, growl, or whine can mean many things. But just as with our customers, the more we know about them, the more we will know how to understand what they are telling us.

Customer Experience should be the number one priority for any business. The customer experience your company gives is crucial because it is the main way to increase satisfaction and, of course, loyalty. In a recent study by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it showed that 80% of U.S. consumers would pay more for a product or service to ensure a superior customer experience. Woah! According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. 


These are just a few questions to ask yourself as you continue on your customer loyalty journey. And, if you’re ever in doubt about what to do, just look for inspiration from our furry friends -- the most loyal of them all. 


*Photos courtesy of Jake Rada, the friendly, people-loving, golden retriever* 

Topics: Customer Engagement, Survey Strategies

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