10 Free or Cheap Ways to Retain Customers + Principle

Are you asking What are the free and cheap ways to retain customers?

Yes, you’ve come to the right place if you have the same question.

Since 2007, I’ve worked with countless customers who had the same queries, so be assured you will get some actionable points and value from this article.

It is not always about new customer acquisition, if you couldn’t get that client to renew their subscription or buy again from you then bigger chunk of the opportunity is wasted.

No matter what’s your niche and industry, every business owner runs into the issue of client retention, be it providing service or a product.

Of course, client retention varies depending on your business model.

Who sells product only one time will need customer to buy again when they need to buy more units for home or business.

Some products are subscription based and you want them to renew or buy life time subscription. You might want to upsell or cross sell something that drives more value to your customer and your business.

Service model also requires client retention in some shape or form.


Even though there can be many more principles, the principle that I many times abide by is that “instead of making clients happy, make sure they are not unhappy”.

Well, everyone wants their clients to be happy after all who doesn’t want that, right?

Correct, but there’s small psychology at play here. While you need to ensure that your clients are happy, you can look at it from the lens of not being unhappy.

Not unhappy translates into clients feeling satisfied.

If client happiness is a ladder, and happiness resides at the top of the ladder then first step is not not being unhappy, second step is satisfaction, and at the top of the step it’s happiness.

There are few steps to make clients happy, and not being unhappy and feeling satisfied are the first most important foundation steps.

This principle my friend is free.

10 Ways

Now after the principal, let’s dive into 10 ways to increase client retention:

1. Customer success

If you are a medium or big enough company you can set up a department of customer success. These people can be picked from customer support, sales or anyone who knows your product/service well and are usually a good communicator.

2. Survey

When I say survey here, I mean getting feedback.

Without overwhelming your customers with lot of surveys you can put uiux to use on this one.

Beside customers, You can even get surveys filled from non-customers and that will give you a glimpse into what’s the overall climate is like: helping you predict and carefully prepare for rainy days.

Instead of sending a boring survey once a month to all your customers with regular questions, you can take a more holistic approach.

If you are SaaS: You can make surveys part of your knowledge base, actual app, support tickets and more.

If you are FMCG, you can make the experience seamless through your website, request data from distributors or e-commerce website and pay attention to calls and emails on the contact info you added on your milk box.

I only have examples from SaaS and FMCG but really it works for almost every industry and business.

This feedback mechanism doesn’t have to be cumbersome but extremely simple.

I would even suggest magical dashboard that shows you what’s the overall sentiment is like.

Really a lot can be done, ideas are limitless, if you are running out of ideas then ping me.

3. Email

Make emails important part of your customer journey. If you see them losing interest or missed monthly payment then send an email asking them if everything is alright.

Create multiple custom templates with possible user variables to insert.

Pay attention to previous emails data also.

4. Calls

If you can’t call all your clients, call bigger clients especially when they look little off the tangent.

5. Analyze data

Perform deep analysis and create different reports not just cyclical but also in real time.

Create report when the client retention is low? Specific months, specific geography. What’s the retention after ticket close or ticket open and what was the customer query.

There are lot of data points really that I have used for awesome retention.

6. Free renewal

You can offer perks to potential and best customers like free month, extra credits, upgrade to new tier free of cost or more.

7. Shared roadmap

Share your roadmap with customers. Get them on board what they want, where you are going, what great things they can expect.

8. Analyze tickets

This is similar to data analysis but with emphasis on magnifying retention or churn originating before and after customer support encounters.

9. Watch competitors

Always be on the lookout of what extra ingredients your competitors are bringing and if client retention will be affected by external threats.

10. Impression share

This one is a tricky one and relates with the competitors. Basically you need to see if you are losing the attention game. New cool player with shiny gadget will make even more impact on your customer land scape

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