Keeping the Customer Satisfied: Best Practices for Reducing Customer Churn
In every business, sales and marketing departments strive to attract customers with the straightforward intention of growing sales and ensuring long-term brand success. While growing a clientele is certainly essential to growing a business, current customers should never be overlooked. In fact, they should be taken care of, or else a company may experience the very dreaded result of neglect and poor customer service: customer churn.
Also known as customer attrition, churn typically occurs when a customer has a negative experience with a brand. Some may argue, however, that a poor experience may not be the only factor-what about simply not doing enough to keep the customer satisfied?
Harris Interactive reports that 89% of consumers have turned to competitors after having a poor customer experience. This telling statistic means that companies need to strive not only to attract new customers but better understand and support their current ones. So what should companies do?
Listen to the customer. If a customer is reaching out to a company, there is a good chance that other customers have experienced a similar issue but haven't said anything about it. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, for every customer who complains, 26 other customers remain silent. Therefore, customer concerns should be viewed as opportunities not only to retain the customer involved but to enhance the service of the company for everyone's benefit. Agents need to empathize with customers and take immediate steps to rectify the problem. Once the problem is considered resolved, follow-up is key to making sure the customer remains satisfied. Paying attention to customer preferences such as the preferred channel of communication or callback times are all small but important details involved in preventing customer churn and reinstilling confidence in a brand.
Say thank you (with a reward). It's always important to thank customers for their business at the end of an interaction, but how about simply thanking them for remaining a customer? Sending vouchers and discounted offers to customers who haven't made a purchase lately is a great way to tell them that you appreciate their business while likely enticing them to remain loyal to your brand.
Optimize technology for a superior customer experience. Customers remember a good experience, but a truly exceptional experience fosters brand loyalty. Since technology is the bridge to connecting with customers, companies need to always remain focused on best practices for providing an excellent, user-friendly experience. When taking an omnichannel approach, companies should be consistent across all channels by providing in-depth, accurate information with a strong aesthetic feel that is more or less the same across all channels. In other words, a customer should be able to connect with the brand and understand a company's values and products no matter what channel they are on. Taking the stress out of a customer experience immediately translates into a desire to support a brand.
Use speech analytics and the cloud. Another strategy inside the contact center is to use speech analytics to determine the most common reasons for calls and monitor individual agents' performance. With such data, companies can understand how to better inform their customers and provide focused training for agents so as to improve the overall contact experience. Another approach is using cloud technology: the Aberdeen Group indeed found that contact centers using cloud technologies rather than in-house solutions experienced up to 27% lower annual costs, mostly due to customer retention. As the White House Office of Consumer Affairs elaborates, it is six to seven more times expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current one. Therefore, using a cloud-based solution is an excellent solution for reducing costs as it offers great adaptability of services ideal for companies with a large clientele.
Take care of your agents. Happy customers are important, but so are happy agents. To make agents feel comfortable and motivated on the job, it's critical to offer such support as regular training, mentorship, and inclusion in such procedures as reviewing customer feedback. Agents are at the front line of customer service, so their experiences and opinions should be taken into account. It's also beneficial to create an accommodating workspace that allows for agents to take breaks when needed and generally de-stress between interactions. Motivated agents can in turn motivate customers.
While there are many ways to address customer churn, the best strategy is simply to be proactive about customer care. By listening attentively to concerns, showing appreciation for their business, and always putting the customer experience first, your customers will be here to stay.