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20 Ways Software Development Companies Can Boost Customer Retention

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Multiple studies and opinion surveys performed across industries agree: It’s more cost-effective to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. Knowing this, many business leaders devote extensive time and resources to answering the question, “What do we need to do to delight our current customers so that they’ll choose to stay with us?”

While there are “customer service truths” that apply to any business, every business must discover the focused strategies that will effectively improve its customer retention metrics—including software development companies. Below, 20 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss practical, specific ways software development companies can enhance the customer experience to boost customer retention.

1. Keep Communication Lines Open

High-quality, frequent, intentional communication with the customer throughout the entire software development life cycle is a powerful strategy to be leveraged for improving customer retention. It improves understanding of the problems an application addresses (and the associated solutions), reduces uncertainties, promotes participation and helps prevent negative surprises. – David William Silva, Algemetric

2. Continuously Test CX Technology

Continuous testing is a vital element of software development and delivery. It’s critical for software teams to continuously test their customer experience technology across all communication channels. This ensures all CX systems work correctly and issues are proactively identified before customers can be impacted. Ongoing CX testing is critical to maintaining customer loyalty and retention. – Alok Kulkarni, Cyara Solutions Corp.

3. Create A Frictionless Developer Experience

Create a frictionless developer experience that makes it easy for developers and teams to onboard, build and find what they need. The more you can reduce context-switching and provide a great user experience for those using and building with your product, the happier they are and the more likely they are to continue being loyal customers. – Gleb Polyakov, Nylas

4. Ensure Customer Retention Is A Top Strategic Priority

So much has to be done on the customer retention front, but at the highest level, customer retention has to be one of the top strategic priorities of the business. This will ensure customer retention efforts receive appropriate resources and focus from across the business, not just from the customer success arm of the business. – Maria Scott, TAINA Technology

5. Establish An Account Management Team

Establish an account management team that’s tasked with developing relationships with your key customers (preferably, all of them). This team needs to be the conduit for communications. They should keep customers up to date on the roadmap, bug fixes and future outlook and ensure that communication is two-way. Incentivize the team based on retention and customer satisfaction, not upselling. – Guy Courtin, Tecsys Inc.

6. Learn How Customers Use Your Product

Use analytics to find out what customers are actually doing with your product. Then, optimize those flows to reduce friction, which will increase customer satisfaction. If your experience feels easier than switching to a competitor, customers are likely to stick around. Data-driven approaches to optimization are more likely to be successful, especially if you can tailor experiences to specific customers. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

7. Provide Fast, Accessible Customer Support

Excellent customer support is key. When customers have issues with software, they get frustrated. However, if customer support is easily accessible and quickly solves a customer’s issue, this frustration is turned into satisfaction, making the customer want to stay with the product. By offering excellent support, software development companies can increase their customer retention immensely. – Matthias Pfau, Tuta

8. Treat Clients As Partners

Fostering a culture of treating clients as partners and maintaining transparent communication is key to customer retention. By fostering collaborative relationships in which clients feel like valued partners rather than mere customers, companies can create a strong bond built on trust and mutual understanding, especially during tough times. – Stoyan Mitov, Dreamix

9. Personalize The Experience

Imagine each customer as a unique puzzle piece. This approach is about tailoring your software to fit perfectly into each client’s specific needs and workflows. When the experience is personalized, customers feel understood and valued. This leads to higher satisfaction and loyalty. – Ranghan Venkatraman, Rezilyens LLC

10. Actively Solicit Feedback

It’s vital to actually talk to your customers. You don’t need to message one-on-one with upset customers, but you should use survey data and feedback forms often and tailor your business (to the extent it’s possible) based on customer feedback. But don’t only look at the data, because it can’t tell you everything. It’s important to stress test and try the tools customers would use. – Jordan Yallen, MetaTope

11. Regularly Reassess Customers’ Goals

Most customers start with a goal in mind, and this may or may not change over the course of your engagement. It’s important to stick to the plan, but it’s equally important to spend time reassessing to see if you can modify what you’re doing to improve and deepen the relationship. Spend time with the strategy people to deliver the right value. – Lewis Wynne-Jones, ThinkData Works

12. Implement A ‘Feature On Demand’ Model

Implementing a “feature on demand” model boosts retention by letting users activate features as needed. It empowers customers, reduces feature overload and enhances value through personalization, fostering lasting engagement by adapting to customers’ evolving needs. – Andrew Blackman, EZ Cloud

13. Share Your Product Roadmap

Giving clients transparency and input into our product roadmap gets them emotionally and strategically wedded to our offerings for the long term. You can engage top accounts in regular advisory panels and planning sessions to collect ideas on where to steer development next. It makes them feel valued while fueling your pipeline with high-ROI feature concepts. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

14. Release Regular Updates

Releasing regular software updates with new features and bug fixes is a key strategy. This keeps the product reliable and demonstrates your commitment to improvement, enhancing customer satisfaction. Regular updates also showcase responsiveness to user feedback, fostering a sense of ongoing value and connection, which leads to increased customer retention. – Sachin Parate, Twilio Inc.

15. Implement An AI ‘Co-Pilot’

One modern strategy a software company can leverage to improve customer retention is implementing a “co-pilot” feature within its product powered by artificial intelligence and a large language model. Such a feature is effective because it offers proactive and timely assistance, helping users effectively navigate the software and address any issues they may encounter. – Robert Mao, ArcBlock Inc.

16. Develop Training Materials And Programs

One way software companies can boost customer retention is by creating educational materials and training programs that help customers make the most of the software. Providing webinars, tutorials and documentation can empower users and encourage them to utilize the software more effectively, which reduces frustration and increases satisfaction. Furthermore, training programs also help foster a sense of community and support among customers. – Cristian Randieri, Intellisystem Technologies

17. Incorporate The Latest Trends And Technologies

One strategy that can help software companies retain customers is to continuously iterate and focus on improving their products with new trends and technologies as they become available. This helps software development companies ensure that their products always meet the evolving needs and expectations of end users. – Phil Portman, Textdrip

18. Ensure Frictionless Onboarding

Make your onboarding process frictionless. If all users immediately feel at home, they’ll stay longer. This means having a seamless, intuitive onboarding process that guides users through all the features of your software. Top this off with high-quality customer support, and you will bridge the gap between users’ expectations and product functionality. – Gergo Vari, Lensa, Inc.

19. Leverage Gamification

Try implementing gamification strategies in user interfaces. Gamification, which involves integrating game-like elements (such as points, badges or leaderboards) into software, can really boost user engagement and satisfaction. This approach makes the user experience more interactive and enjoyable, encouraging long-term product use and loyalty. – Marc Rutzen,

20. Foster A User Community

Fostering a vibrant user community can be a subtle yet powerful retention tool for software companies. It transforms customers into collaborators, creating a shared space for learning and interaction that deepens loyalty and transforms product usage into a collective, engaging experience. – Vladyslav Matsiiako, Infisical

Originally published on Forbes.


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