Why Design Should Be Central to Your Customer Retention Strategy

Customer retention strategy illustration with three marketers planning

When businesses design their customer retention strategies, they often think, first and foremost, in terms of conversations and human connection. After all, core to any company’s success is treating your customers like real people, and trying to meet their needs in meaningful ways. But human connection isn’t just about text-based articles and chats, or phone calls and in-person interactions. In fact, visual communication — and, by extension, design — is a core medium for driving meaningful conversations with your customers. 

Let’s take a look at 3 ways you can use visual communication to ensure your customers are satisfied. 

1. Interactive quizzes and surveys 

Doing an occasional check-in with your customers is key to any retention strategy. But how can you ensure they actually respond to those check-ins? 

High-quality design can make all the difference — from both a visual and a user interface (UI) perspective. So create an interactive quiz or survey that includes visually engaging elements. This will help retain their attention over the course of the survey, and will offer them different ways to interact with the questions. 

Likewise, making the quiz interactive will give them agency and make them feel more actively involved in the process. This might mean including buttons, animations, clickable graphs, sliding bars for ratings, or other elements. In the end, it will feel much more like a conversation they’re having with you and your company — and that, too, can make them feel more confident about sticking with you for the long term. Meanwhile, you’ll get more quiz responses, and gain valuable feedback on what your company can do better. 

For more information on using interactive content to boost customer engagement, check out our free ebook, “Personalizing the Customer Journey.”

2. Visual content that delivers real value 

Why should consumers work with your company and nobody else? One big reason is that you’re a thought leader in your industry. You’re innovative and cutting-edge. And you prove this via the content you produce. 

Providing truly valuable data and insights through your content will be key in boosting your customers’ confidence in you and in supporting your retention strategy. But how you present these insights matters too. Today’s audiences will only read about 20% of a webpage with 600 words or more. So if you offer up the information in the form of a dry, text-heavy whitepaper, you’re likely to lose them. 

Instead, try an interactive infographic or landing page. Or create a long-scroll infographic that you can cut into smaller pieces and repurpose as a series of micro-content for social media. This content, in turn, will drive people back to your website and get new eyes on your work. In the meantime, it will prove to your current customers, over and over, why they’re working with you. 

3. Visual annual reports

A big part of any customer retention strategy is being transparent about how your company is performing and what you’re achieving on a regular basis. This is where annual reports come in. But these text-heavy PDF documents rarely inspire customers to read or interact with them. Luckily, there’s a better approach.

Annual reports that are highly visual offer instant takeaways for readers in the form of graphs, illustrations, and photography. We say “instant” because visuals communicate information 60,000x faster than text. We’re naturally wired to respond to visuals — much more so than text.  

If your annual report is interactive, that adds a whole new level of engagement. It might include animated, clickable graphs, maps, or illustrations, such as this report for the Seattle Department of Transportation. And the design itself will inspire confidence that you’re committed to innovation, whether you’re developing the most exciting ideas in your industry or incorporating the most popular form of communication — visual media — into your content strategy. 

Making Design a Part of Your Customer Retention Strategy

How can you ensure that visual communication is core to your customer retention? First of all, make sure you have an established brand identity that includes multiple approaches to visual media. After all, building brand recognition through a consistent look and feel is key to your customer retention, too. 

Next, with any piece of content you produce, ask what you can do to make it visual. Remember, people communicate in all sorts of ways, so to only give them text-based options might eliminate many of your potential audiences. Likewise, don’t forget about motion graphics and videos. These engage people on an auditory level as well, and already drive a majority of all internet traffic, which testifies to just how effective they are as communication tools. 

And finally, put together a visual workbench — a group of assets from graphs to icons that you can repurpose and use again and again. This way, it’s a lot easier for you to create visual content quickly and on demand, no matter what you’re communicating that day. 

Looking for more guidance? Reach out to the experts at Killer Visual Strategies for a custom visual strategy that’s designed to delight your customers for the long term.

Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

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