The Secret Sauce Formula for Retaining Customers (Infographic)

by Ken Mueller on September 25, 2013 · 6 comments

see yaAsk any business what their top method of getting new customers is, and invariably most will say,

word of mouth and referrals.

And while word of mouth is so powerful, and is the principal upon which social media is built, many companies forget to make the next logical leap. And that’s the leap to fully comprehend that word of mouth is based on keeping your existing customers happy so that they not only return, but tell others about you.

In a new study on consumer trust in advertising, Nielsen finds that trust in advertising is up across the board, but not surprisingly, word of mouth remains at the top. In the study which compared various forms of advertising, 84% of the respondents showed a high to average level of trust in “recommendations from people I know,” while 68% felt the same way about consumer opinions posted online. And both of those are significant increases over a previous study.

Now, when it comes to customers, there are two types: new customers and return customers. Word of mouth works when return (existing) customers tell others about you, and those people become new customers, and hopefully the become return customers. So if you really want to get that word of mouth working for you, it behooves you to spend a good amount of time, effort, and money on retaining those customers.

That brings me to this incredibly informative infographic from my friend Adam Toporek and the folks at Customers That Stick. They’ve collected a lot of relevant information that makes a compelling case for just this: working hard on retaining customers.

I urge you to check out all of the information on this infograph, but first consider these three main points.

Why Customers Leave

82% of consumers in the U.S. said they stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer experience.

That’s an awfully big number for something like that. Are you willing to lose customers for something so easily fixed?

Why Customers Stick

Customers stick around for just the opposite reason: good or great customer experience, i.e., they are treated well.

But hears the kicker: we’re awfully darn forgiving.

92% of consumers say the would go back to a company after a negative experience, if they received an apology and/or a discount and/or offered proof of enhanced customer service.

Even when they have a negative experience with you and your business, you can win them back fairly easily.

And then, there’s this to consider:

Retained customers mean $$$

It’s a lot less expensive to retain customers than it is to get new ones. It’s less work AND less money. Makes it kind of a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

And don’t forget, when you lose a customer, you’re not just losing their money. You are sending them to your competitors. Plus, they might take others with them with their word of mouth, which can be negative, just as easily as it can be positive.

Oh, did I mention that repeat customers tend to spend more?

So take a look at Adam’s infographic. Study it. Memorize it. Learn the lessons it holds, and share it with your employees, coworkers, bosses, or whomever. Let’s work on retaining customers, rather than constantly having to go out seeking new ones.


Customer Retention by the Numbers | Customer Service Infographic



Great infographic from +Adam Toporek. Note that unhappy customers are many times more likely to talk about you than happy customers. It frustrates me that many small businesses are so focused on getting search traffic that they don't invest time in building friendly relationships with customers. Some point out they don't get repeat business. I say it is because they don't want to interact with their buyers! If they did, those buyers would be impressed and become repeat buyers. 

Adam | Customer Experience
Adam | Customer Experience

Ken, what a great synopsis! The study on trust in advertising is a nice compliment, because it shows one of the key reasons retention is so valuable -- because word of mouth is so valuable.

I liked that you pointed out how "forgiving" people tend to be overall. This is why great service recovery is so essential to retention. The ball will get dropped. If we handle it right, we can make the relationship even stronger.

Thanks for featuring the infographic!


  1. […] The Secret Sauce Formula for Retaining Customers (Infographic) ( […]

  2. […] out this infographic to learn more about the value of great customer […]

  3. […] of the service. Customer service, or customer experience, can make or break things for most of us. Great customer experience will win us over, and poor customer experience might turn us away. All things being equal, […]

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