Everything You Need to CRUSH Your CX & Retention Goals

Hi, Hello.

If you are new here, it's good to meet you. Thanks for stopping by.

I started this newsie 100 weeks ago (!) with an insight. I spent the early days of my career trying to learn about CX and Retention, and I struggled to find many places to do so.

Things quickly change in the land of DTC, and yesterday’s hacks are quickly today’s best practices, for better or for worse.

While there are so many places to learn about the growth side of the business (generally $498 for the next 2 hours only, limited spaces available), retention and CX are different animals. 

Retention: A hybrid of meticulous data crunching and the lost art of deep listening.

CX: The old playbook of “the customer is always right” is stale, and most of our favorite CX gurus have not updated their playbook in the age of DTC 2.0.

With both of these, I sincerely believe that there is no one playbook. 

If anyone is selling you a CX or retention course that will solve all your problems and was not made specifically for your business, you are probably just bankrolling their next mastermind in the Carribean. 

So what am I doing here?

I consistently do my best to give you the behind-the-vail strategy and thought processes so you can create your own strategies and playbooks.

That’s what we will do today. Let’s dive in. 

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On CX:

The good old days where you could slap on a label on a white-labeled product or dropship your way to 9-figs using FB ads is slowly starting to wash away. 

We are entering a different era of DTC–this new weird thing called profitable and sustainable growth. 

You now need this thing called “brand” and these mythical “loyal customers” in order to build something sustainable. 

What does that mean to you? How should your CX evolve?

*grabs crystal ball*

Customer Experience has come a long way over the last 20 years. Remember when Zappos launched as an online shoe shop that would focus on extraordinary customer experiences? 

It sounded overly idealistic at best and absurd at worst.

Even a decade into it, when Amazon purchased them for 1.2 billion dollars, folks still questioned whether it was a wise acquisition—how CX can be a core differentiation worth over a billion dollars. 

But hey, customers voted with their wallets. They chose to pay a few bucks more than the discount mall shop for excellent customer support if something went wrong and for the perks and benefits of the Zappos loyalty program.

Zappos proved that CX is a brand-building tool and a key market differentiator, even as a shoe marketplace.

Again, I will say this: I don’t think you need Zappos-level support to make it, but if your product moat is not Apple-level, your abysmal CX will be a reason people think twice about returning as a customer. 

As online shopping evolves, customers will likely take one of 3 routes when purchasing and the brands they are loyal to.

1. Zero Friction: Brands offering a simple way to get essentials with zero-to-limited friction at a competitive price (think Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc.)

2. Values: Brands that align with their values. The social mission has become increasingly important to consumers, especially the younger generation.

3. Loyalty: Brands that have gained their loyalty and hold a space in their heart and wallet. Note: a loyalty program is a tool and strategic opportunity; installing one does not automatically create loyalty. 

Many aggressively expensive, extravagant, and excessive purchases will take a backseat to the purchases that scratch the itch a bit higher on the hierarchy of needs.

Do you need a $75 olive oil or $6 bev?

I don't know, maybe, but probably not.

Will you still purchase from brands you feel strongly connected to and have your back?

I’m going to say yes.

You don’t need to do CX the “Zappos way” to have great CX; you need to understand what your customers value and dive deeper into those. 

For Patagonia, it’s a great repair warranty.

For OLIPOP, it's a kickass surprise and delight function.

For Jones Road Beauty, it's a virtual shade-matching program with fantastic makeup artists. 

No need to copy someone else’s. 

On Retention: 

Proper retention starts when a customer decides to give your brand a shot. It’s a meticulous blend of consistency in your product or service and managing the expectations you’ve set from the get-go. 

Where growth tactics often steal the spotlight with flashy numbers and bold promises, retention is where your brand’s promise is quietly but powerfully reaffirmed or broken.

At its core, retention revolves around a simple truth: 

If customers get what they expect, and those expectations continually align with their needs, they’ll likely stick around. 

Break that expectation? That’s when you see churn.

In the real world, things can get messy—growth teams might push boundaries a little too far, operations might promise the moon on delivery times, or the CX team might miss resetting expectations when problems arise.

Integrated Approach: CX, Growth, and Retention

Imagine CX, Growth, and Retention as a trio in a band. Each plays a vital role, but the music only comes alive when they play in harmony. 

If you intertwine these roles and have them work very closely together, you can educate and set correct expectations right from the start, especially during the customer's consideration phase.

But this isn’t just about preventing churn; it’s about crafting a journey so satisfying that customers want to experience it again.

We often find that when customers genuinely understand what they're signing up for, their loyalty deepens, and their lifetime value (LTV) shoots up.

Data-Driven Retention: More Than Just Numbers

Retention isn’t just about keeping people; it’s about understanding them. Here’s how I’d approach it:

Deep Dive into Purchase Patterns: What are customers buying initially, and what does their repurchase look like? Understanding these patterns helps you tailor your communications and promotions.

Evaluate Customer Lifecycle: Where do you see drop-offs? Is it after the first order or much later? Pinpointing these phases helps in devising specific strategies to address churn.

Examine Spending Behaviors: Are discounts driving loyalty, or do customers stick around for the full-priced value? What do they buy in their second order if they buy the best-selling hero SKU in the first?

Actionable Strategies Based on Retention Metrics:

With each piece of data, we strive to answer a larger story about our customer’s journey. 

For instance:

Repurchase Rate Analysis: We look at which customers come back and why. This might mean doubling down on successful channels or reevaluating less effective strategies.

Customer Return Rate Monitoring: Keeping tabs on how often customers return is essential for seasonal strategy adjustments and understanding long-term loyalty.

Days Between Purchases: Rather than pushing for quicker repurchases, analyze natural buying rhythms to tailor our engagement strategies, ensuring you are present just at the right moment and not overwhelming every single day. 

Lastly, let’s not forget the customer's perspective.

Ever received a product that didn’t quite hit the mark?

Or perhaps a follow-up service that felt more annoying than helpful? 

That’s a retention strategy gone awry.

Remember, not every customer will love every product, and that’s okay. 

The key is to learn from each interaction and use genuine feedback to refine and improve. 

Whether it’s adjusting product offerings based on genuine customer preferences or reshaping services to meet their expectations better, every step taken based on direct feedback is a step toward stronger retention.

That’s it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!


Eli 💛

P.S. Looking for inspo on your next email/sms campaign?

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