Best Practices
June 17, 2021
min read

Actionable Ways Every Startup Can Use to Retain Customers

Andre Oentoro
Guest Author

Customers are the backbone of every business, including startups. As a result, most startups often focus on attracting new customers and converting leads by launching different marketing strategies.

While it's crucial to keep up the lead number day by day, retaining old customers is, in fact, beneficial in the long term. The existing customers, especially, are vital in making 55-70% of sales compared to new clients. What's more, over 68% of startup sales come from existing customers.

Those staggering numbers perfectly show how past customers are paramount for a startup to build a large, reliable customer base.

However, a study cites that companies lost around 20% of customers each year due to a lack of brand-client relationships. This results in wasted marketing resources used to convert them. So, this lead acquiring strategy won't be that effective in the long term when you simultaneously lose customers right away.

Why do customers leave?

So, what makes existing customers leave your business? To answer this question, let's look at some factors that initiate them to choose other brands.

Brands don't care anymore

This is one of the reasons why people run away from your brand according to Customers are used to getting 'some treatment' when they purchase your product or leave a great review about you. As a result, they are willing to promote your product to their closest one because simply they find it valuable and satisfying.

If you pay attention to these customers, they will feel more appreciated. Eventually, your customers become loyal and will go back to you when they need your service.

At the same time, customers may file a complaint about your product that they find upsetting. When you ignore this feedback, customers will see you as ignorant and not care about them anymore.

Dissatisfied with your customer service

Customer service is the heart of your business. The adage which says that 'customers is king' is still relevant and should be deliberately met to increase their business experience with you.

 Making sure to serve the best for every customer is vital to improve your startups in the future. When customers don't find your customer service helpful, they can be easily upset and leave you for your competitors.

Five methods startups can retain customers effectively

Getting new leads and conversions is essential for the business's sustainability. However, make sure to take care of your past customers before they move on to your competitors. The following are the top five methods you can try to retain customers.

Listen to your customers

Customer reviews and feedback are a great source to know whether a business needs improvement. Their voices are often honest and constructive to take into account.

Listening to their feedback will help you understand how well your marketing strategies are performing. You can learn many things to elevate your business from your customers' perspective, especially for a startup that requires extra room for improvement.

You will learn more from your customers than anyone else. Their reviews allow you to notice what areas need improvements and what areas you just nailed right.

Suppose many customers complain about ruined packaging. In that case, it's time for you to check the supply chain and packaging department whether there's something wrong with the delivery or the materials.

Deliver their complaints faster

Listening to customers' complaints is a powerful way to gather enough business-important information. It allows you to understand how your customers feel about the product or service you deliver.

However, what matters the most is the action right after you receive that feedback.

Realizing the issue is critical for you to increase credibility. When you solve an issue faster, customers will trust your brand to ask you whenever they run into problems easily.

Personalize your messages

One way to strengthen your relationship with customers is by making a personal approach in a business sense. For example, you can send personalized marketing emails using your customers' first names instead of a plain, overused 'Sir/Madam' template.

Using the personalized message can significantly improve your bond with the customers. You can also include engaging content like explainer videos or even GIFs and memes to hook their attention.

When you succeed in attracting customers, sending promotional information becomes seamless. You don't need to worry about driving away customers when you have a friendly relationship with them. Inject some humor into your outreach strategy; try creating a meme that aligns with your brand to strengthen the personal connection with your customers.

Offer incentives

Another way to retain customers is by offering incentives for some time. Well, who doesn't love discounts or even free items?

You can manage a huge offer when it comes to significant events, like Valentines and Halloween. You can also incorporate a particular strategy to attract past customers and potential customers with exciting offers. That way, even old customers can't resist joining your incentives programs. 

Use email automation to re-engage customers

When customers are inactive for some time, you need to build communication with them. Surely, you don't want to lose past customers because of a lack of brand interaction.

To make sure they don't go to other competitors, send them email automation to attract them into your brand. For example, you can send an email that says 'you miss them on your platform' and give them an invitation code that leads to a discounted product.

With email automation, you can also increase your relationship with your customers effectively. Promotional emails and newsletters are some of the most effective ways to engage with customers.


Lead conversion is essential for every business, especially in a startup where customers are the biggest assets. However, many have failed to care about existing customers as they focus on acquiring new ones instead.

Loyal customers have made up over half of the business sales. When you lose these clients, you practically lose most of your sales and waste so much money in converting new customers. Therefore, it's essential to retain old customers for your startup's sustainability.


Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). 

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