Customer retention mainly means that the customer should be ready to repurchase the brand. In such scenarios, structural ties with the customer can ensure that repurchases happen frequently. For example, several pharmaceuticals as well as electronics companies provide support to their distributors who are their internal customers to increase purchase and thereby distribution.
Similarly benefits can also be provided to customers via referral programs wherein the primary customer is motivated to bring more and more secondary customers to the company. Thus you have made a structural tie with your primary customer.
Three prominent ways to make strong structural ties with customers include
Creating Long term contracts – If you take a yearly subscription of a magazine or a newspaper, it is ensured that you will be a customer for the company for a minimum of 1 year. Thus it has retained a one time customer for a whole year. A cable network can offer 6 months plans for retaining the customers. An Internet service provider can have varying packages for customer retention.
Charge lower price to customers who buy large supplies – This method is especially used in modern retail and in fact has been the best performing tactic of modern retail. Offering discounts for regular customers as well as giving discounts for purchase of a certain value has motivated people to visit the same store over and over again thereby increasing customer retention.
Turn the service into long term – The frequent flier miles concept is used widely in airlines to retain customers for a long time. In this strategy, if the customer flies a certain set of miles he is offered a reward and recognition. Similarly, the more miles he flies, the more rewards and recognition he gets. Thus the service is by itself turned into long term for the customer and he would like to take as much advantage of the service as he can.
Thus by adding structural ties to your customer retention strategies, you are ensuring that the customer use and repurchase your product / service over and over.