Nothing is better for customer retention than great products. As marketers, however, the quality of the product is at least somewhat out of our control. The easiest tactic that the marketer has to improve retention is, ironically, one of the ones that can most easily turn customers off: email.
The occasional newsletter or promotional email will help so long as you don’t overuse it. Simply reminding customers of your brand will have a positive effect. Sending emails with great content will help even more, and is something that provides more value to customers and which fewer life science companies do. However, there is one thing that few companies do and large companies are often particularly bad at…
The surprise personal email. The surprise personal email should be from a person and be highly personalized. (Note that this does not mean it cannot be automated; using email automation for this is fine.) The more information you use about the customer the better; referencing their application is great, but at minimum you should refer to them by name and reference the product which they purchased. This email could be sent soon after a purchase where personal contact would not necessarily be expected (a low-cost consumable, for instance) or months after the purchase of something where follow-up would be expected. Generally, the surprise personal email should inquire about the customer and offer support. You want to show that you care and you’re accessible. Response rates will vary based on the nature of the product and the timing, but response rates as high as 20% are not uncommon so be sure you can take the time to tend to the responses which you may receive. It will be worthwhile; not only will you be helping your customer retention but you’ll also get a lot of useful feedback about your product or service.
Email is often overused in ways that underperform for the life science companies that leverage it. At the same time, it is the easiest way to improve customer retention. By seeking to provide value to the customer, email will better serve that purpose. Ensure that your emails provide value to the customers and demonstrate commitment to them and your scientist-customers will reward you for it.