Convero recently released the results of our 2016 Customer Engagement Study, for which we interviewed CEOs and sales, marketing and customer service managers nationwide about their current and planned customer engagement efforts. Our goal was to find out what companies are doing to engage customers and the results those efforts are having on retention, sales and profits.

Here are some of the key findings from this year’s study.

Companies value customer retention – but they aren’t investing in it.

By a 2 to 1 margin, executives ranked the retention of existing customers as even more important than the acquisition of new customers. However, 58 percent of those same survey respondents reported not having a formal customer engagement program in place — and 60 percent didn’t know how many customers they’d lost over the past year.

This shows a clear disconnect between the value that companies place on keeping customers and their investment in customer retention strategies.

Keeping customers takes a formal plan.

Nearly twice as many companies that reported having a formal customer engagement program rated their company’s retention efforts as very effective, compared with those with no program in place. Companies with customer engagement programs were twice as likely to know how many customers they lost the previous year.

These results suggest that successful customer retention strategies are no accident. They are backed by a formal plan.

Customer engagement is the new marketing.

Of the survey respondents with knowledge of future spending plans, three out of four said that their company anticipates spending more on customer engagement over the next 12 months. That number includes 80 percent of companies that already have formal programs in place.

This shift could spell trouble for companies that neglect to invest in formal customer engagement programs. Remember: It costs five to six times more to replace lost customers than it does to keep them.

Download your free copy of the 2016 Convero Customer Engagement Study here.