When Georgia natural gas retailers started contacting customers more frequently, their satisfaction scores jumped 24 points: a giant difference compared to their previous year's increase, which was only 2 points and involved no increase in communications.
Utilities aren’t alone. When health plan administrators across the U.S. retooled their approach to customer communications, including an adjustment in message frequency, they managed to raise their satisfaction score in that area by 17 points.
What do natural gas and health plans have in common? Something that just about every other industry shares with them: A direct link between communications frequency and customer satisfaction.
Communications frequency supports customer retention
By now it's almost a cliché to say it costs less (make that several times less) to hold onto an existing customer than it does to find a new one. With that in mind, think of customer satisfaction as the art of holding onto your customers. Satisfaction is a prerequisite for retention.
Now let’s connect the dots. Frequent communication is a principal ingredient in the customer retention recipe. If you can get your communication frequency dialed in, you can go a long way toward building up those satisfaction scores – and the relationships that go with them.
Content marketing: the communications channel that pulls its weight
There are many different types of customer communication, from carefully-timed smartphone notifications to good, old-fashioned direct mail. But on the Internet, nothing pulls its weight like content marketing.
Perhaps that's why Smart Insights predicted in 2014 that content marketing would be the most commercially important digital marketing trend of the last twelve months, outranking big data by 15 percentage points.
What makes it so special? It's versatile, for one thing. "Each time you publish an original blog post, you're creating a new opportunity to get found in search engines, get shared on social media, get linked to by other sites, and get a new person to interact with your company," said Lindsay Kolowich at HubSpot's Marketing Blog.
It also has the power to help you deliver a better experience to customers. "By informing them what your priorities are and who your employees are, you establish what level of service to anticipate, and what type of professional will perform the service," said Jeff Sexton at Web Marketing Today. "You create a method for your customer to measure satisfaction. And a satisfied customer is a repeat customer."
What's the best frequency for content marketing?
Short answer? The more quality content you publish, the more traffic you're likely to get. HubSpot found that companies which published 16 or more posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than those that published four or fewer.
The visibility you get from increased traffic feeds directly into the customer experience equation. "As companies are becoming more and more focused on the customer experience, they are turning to content marketing as a way to position themselves as a resource in their industry," said Jeff Charles at Small Business Trends.
- The frequency of your posts helps determine how much traffic you get
- The quality of your posts sets expectations, positions you as a valuable resource for your audience, and boosts your satisfaction scores
- The satisfaction you generate contributes to your customer retention stats
In short, as you retool your marketing strategy for 2016, don’t underestimate the impact of communications frequency on customer retention – and don’t neglect the importance of content marketing as a communications channel.
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