We’re incredibly invested in the customer support industry, its processes, and all of the other key business functions that affect it. Customer retention is one such area that is directly intertwined with that of customer support – so much so that these strategies should be intertwined as well. The vast majority of customers will abandon loyalties and switch brands or providers due to poor customer service; to manage retention and reduce churn, customer support efforts need to be a top priority.
The customer relationship is far from over after they make a purchase, and strategic businesses are aware that retaining a happy customer in the long-term is much more valuable than getting a one-time buy. NGData used their resources to reach out to dozens of the industry’s top-ranking customer retention experts to gain more insight into what businesses can do to foster these long-lasting customer relationships.
“What’s the #1 way organizations can improve customer retention?”
Create a good experience, that’s consistent and predictable, and you have a shot at customer retention.
The root of retention and loyalty comes service, which actually starts at the top, with the leadership determining if they want a customer-focused culture. That culture is what drives the customer experience. The way leadership treats employees drives the customer experience. The way employees treat each other drives the customer experience. In short, what is happening on the inside of an organization is felt by the customers on the outside. It’s on the inside of the company where customer retention begins.
– Shep Hyken, Shepard Presentations
Hire the right employees.
How can you retain top notch customers if you can’t retain top notch employees? It’s infinitely more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing customer happy. The best way to keep a customer with you is to hire (and retain) the right Customer Service Representatives to provide a consistent level of five-star service and support.
– Patrick Clark, Hyrell
If employees are trained to truly listen to the customer and give them what they want and or need, organizations would see a measurable improvement in their customer loyalty numbers.
In an effort to reduce costs and to deal with a large number of customers (with minimal staff), organizations have tended to streamline their processes and train their customer service staff to give customers a pre-determined or “canned” response. There are companies who actually limit the amount of time a customer service representative can spend with a customer, regardless is the problem has been resolved or not.
– Janet Boulter, Center Consulting Group
Customer retention is a mixture of art and science.
On the art side, you need to be able to create and foster a meaningful relationship with all of your customers individually (in a B2B setting), putting in the required time and effort to go above and beyond what the customer’s expectations are.
On the science side, it’s important for sales to coordinate closely with marketing to provide automatic follow up with the customer. Having consistent, useful communication with the customer is vital to establishing trust in your brand and guaranteeing continued business.
– Raphael Ventura, The Expert Institute
Simply care about the customer as a person, not a sales generating object.
It is business 101, but organizations have a tenancy to think about customers as data and widgets in the technology age. When you ask the question “how do I want customers to talk about my company in a year?” it forces you to see them as a human with actual thoughts and as a long term relationship to care about.
Irasema G. Jeffers, Online Amiga
To foster better relationships with their customers by providing:
- a frictionless user experience, and
- actionable insights for three transaction criteria: recency, frequency, and value.
– Zach Goldstein, Thanx
Through the carefully combined efforts of better personalization, ongoing communication, high-quality employee training, and a customer-centered strategy, customer retention is one business metric that can steadily be improved. Businesses who are looking to boost up their customer support and customer retention strategies can try out powerful technologies and tools that can be used to streamline these processes. Perfect for contact centers, eCommerce businesses, and startups of all sizes, interactive decision trees are the most flexible, easy-to-customize solution for providing personalized customer experiences.
This post was updated on February 19, 2018, to include a quote from Patrick Clark, Hyrell.