Ask a Customer Retention Expert: Kaitlin Holliday, Four Sigmatic

customer retention

We spend a lot of time talking about how to obtain customers, but what about how to keep them? Not every brand is devoting their energy to this pursuit, but at functional mushroom brand Four Sigmatic, customer retention is the bread and butter. We spoke with Retention Manager Kaitlin Holliday about the value of a long-term customer, rich experience, and where to get started if you’re new to the retention world.

Love the blog? Get it in your inbox weekly. Sign up here!

Why does Four Sigmatic choose to focus on customer retention rather than one-off purchasers?

It sounds corny, but we truly believe in our product and its power to improve people’s health. And to live out this mission, we need to serve our customers with a long-term approach. From a practical perspective, brands can no longer pay for a never ending stream of new customers. Customer acquisition costs (CAC) are rising, so there’s been a shift to focusing on repeat customers. This is a factor, but for us, it starts with the customer.

What kind of data does a food brand use to determine the long term value (LTV) of a customer?

Right now, our primary LTV metric is a customer’s spend over their first 6 months. We also watch 60 day spend and total spend overall (lifetime). We also have tools that give us predictive LTV based on customer behaviors.

What are your favorite resources for customer retention?

Here are some of my favorites! On retention generally:

If you’re a subscription business:

On email, one of the most important retention tools:

Marketing as whole:

Another great way to learn is to follow brands that are succeeding at what you want to achieve. Subscribe to their email newsletter. Buy something from their shop. Subscribe to their auto-shipments. That’s recon!

And lucky for any first-time retention marketer, the most interesting and actionable learnings  lie in your business’s existing data, so start mining!

What does rich experience mean? How does it differ from content, or other kinds of customer touchpoints?

Rich experience is a blanket term for features/perks/experiences that you offer your customers that they can’t get from anywhere else. The idea is to create an ongoing relationship with your customer that’s deeper and more personalized than they can get anywhere else.

This is so important for brands to consider in this Amazon-ified world where, in most cases, we can no longer offer our customers the best price. To create a rich experience, marketers should ask themselves, how can I provide my customers with more value? This comes by way of personalized content, thoughtful customer touchpoints, customer support, and more.

What are the components of Four Sigmatic’s rich experience?

Since the idea of “rich experience” really just refers to our differentiation from other places you can buy our product, there are countless examples. Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • Our Mushroom Membership Concierge! This is a dedicated member of our team, Morgan, who deals exclusively with our Subscribe + Save customers. This allows us to prioritize our best customers within support.
  • Early access to new products for our Members. This is a way to make some of our best customers feel like VIPs, and is a perk that they cannot get if they’re shopping on Amazon or elsewhere.

How are customer-facing employees empowered to create rich experience for Four Sigmatic customers?

As a company, excellent customer support has always been a non-negotiable.  We have the basics covered – fast reply times, problem solving – as well as deep knowledge of the product to customize recommendations and help navigate the options.

Beyond that, our team is trained not rest until our customer is satisfied – whether that’s a discount, replacement product, freebie, or refund.  We also try to ‘surprise and delight’ our customers, and we encourage our customer support team to get creative when serving our customers.

What kinds of customer perks can a food brand on a budget offer as part of their rich experience?

Keep it simple. Think about your customers and what would make a difference in their lives that you could do on your budget. How can you make your customers feel special? How can you make their experience better? What about a hand-written note to your best customers? Even small-scale initiatives make a difference.

One thing I’d recommend is to reply to every customer, satisfied or unsatisfied. Customers appreciate knowing that there are humans behind a brand, and this goes a long way to building trust and good will. Whether that touchpoint is through your main inbox, customer service or NPS responses.

Want more resources and content for food entrepreneurs in your inbox? Check out our newsletter!

About Kaitlin and Four Sigmatic:

Kaitlin Holliday is dedicated to helping spread good health and has been in the natural food industry for over 6 years. Today, Kaitlin manages Retention at Four Sigmatic – a functional mushroom, superfood, and adaptogen brand – and loves the balance of marketing, data and customers care that the role demands. Born and raised in Toronto, Kaitlin lives in New York with her husband, where they’re dedicated to eating their way through the city.

Four Sigmatic is a superfood company founded by a group of Finnish Funguys. They aim to popularize functional mushrooms and adaptogens by incorporating them in mainstream products like coffee, tea and cacao. They were founded in 2012 and came to the U.S. in 2015.


Get the Newsletter

Our weekly newsletter contains everything a food entrepreneur needs to stay current, share connections, and succeed in the business. Sign up for interviews with experts, insights from peers, and all the most relevant industry news. Don’t get caught without the resource every foodpreneur is talking about. Subscribe now!