One of the greatest things about capitalism is competition. One of the worst things about capitalism is the very same competition. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate the loss of customers to your competitors. But there are dozens of ways to improve customer retention through fleet management—and many benefits in doing so. The largest reason to improve retention rates is the cost of earning new business. Today it costs seven times more to earn the business of new customers as it does to retain existing ones. We’ll cover that and more in our article below.
What is Customer Retention?
The customer retention definition is a fairly simple one—it’s the ability to keep existing customers. Companies measure customer retention rates by how many customers they can acquire and how many they lose over a given period of time. Companies identify turnover by a cancellation of service or contract or not returning to purchase. For many fleet companies, this may mean customers choose a different carrier and decide not to renew their contract with their current fleet management company.
There are many reasons this happens for fleets including:
- Constant delays for deliveries or service
- Higher costs than the competition
- High CSA scores
- Poor inspection reports
- A high number of accidents
- Improper transportation of goods resulting in loss or damage
- Poor customer service
Measure the Quality of Your Customer Service
There are many factors that play into your customer retention rate, some of which you can measure. When you’re attempting to improve your customer retention you must also evaluate your customer service. You can do this by:
- Conducting customer satisfaction surveys
- Keep track of how many customers return to your service
- Track how many customers you lose within a given period (most likely a year)
- Track how many prospects have purchased your services
- Measure your customer service against the competition
- Calculate how many complaints you’re receiving and identify the source(s)
Tips for Improving Customer Retention with Fleet Management
Aside from the massive costs of earning new customers, there is also the benefit of increased profits from retention. An increase of retention by just 5% can lead to profit jumps as low as 25% and as high as a whopping 95%, according to the Harvard Business School. This is, of course, quite appealing, especially since fleets are increasingly regulated. Some of the most effective actions fleets can take to increase their customer retention include:
- Loyalty programs
- Email campaigns
- Satisfaction surveys
- Social media usage and campaigns
- Improving communications
- Managing your reputation
- Improving CSA scores
A loyalty program helps to keep customers engaged with your brand. It keeps your company on their mind in a positive way by offering rewards, coupons, free products or services, and updates on activities or sales. When you keep your company on their mind, they’re more likely to recommend your service to others. Customers are also more likely to remain loyal to your service.
It’s impossible to customize every email to your customers, but it’s also a huge loss to believe you can’t do any personalization at all. The personalization of subject lines is shown to help increase email open rates by 22%. You should pair this with occasional email campaigns to let your customers in on early release dates, deals, and changes within your company. You can also use this as a way to keep communication open between you and your customers.
Customer surveys may not be an immediate solution to retaining customers, but it’s where you should start. It’s helpful to have a good understanding of how you rate in your customers’ minds. A survey can help you pinpoint the exact areas you need to improve. It can also help in the immediate by allowing your customers to see that you’re attempting to improve their experience.
Social media is a huge tool for businesses today. It’s one of the best ways for businesses to find new customers and remain connected with existing ones. But not only is it one of the best ways to reach out to new and existing customers, it’s also the best way to gather opinions about your service. People love to share their opinions, especially online, and social media is one of the easiest ways to reach them.
Improve Your Communications
One of the biggest complaints of customers, in all types of businesses, is companies don’t have a responsive customer service team. Customers get frustrated when they’re unable to get answers to their questions or help when it's truly necessary. Committing to improved communication with emails, social media, and loyalty programs has been shown to help ease these frustrations in customers.
Reviews are one of the easiest ways to know what others are saying about your company. Plus this gives companies ideas to make improvements based on customer feedback. Check your reviews, respond politely to negative comments, and continue to correct the items that they’ve specified. But it’s more than that, you should work on improving every aspect of your business—especially where customers are involved.
Improve CSA Scores
When customers search for a fleet to work with they often review CSA scores. This is because CSA scores reflect a company’s safety record, their ability to comply with regulations, meet inspection standards, and avoid accidents. If existing customers are unsatisfied, they’ll compare your scores with those of others.
The Role of Telematics in Fleet Management
Fleet managers take on the huge responsibility of managing costs to the fleet, and one of those major costs is customer acquisition. With fleet management principles in place, you’re able to optimize the efficiency of the entire fleet. When you optimize maintenance and safety, you reduce the risk of accidents and poor inspections, which increases CSA scores. When you optimize route planning, you increase productivity and reduce delays.
Telematics systems provide fleets real-time insights into their fleet vehicles. This means you’ll get engine diagnostics, driver behavior monitoring, idling reports, route optimization, and so much more. All of these features make it easy to optimize several aspects of your business to the benefit of the customer and your fleet.
Learn more about telematics and how it can improve your fleet management, at Azuga.