Are you losing existing customers to competitors? Do you have plenty of first-time customers, but then they seem to quickly drop off? Waning customer loyalty is a growing problem that is impacting companies across every industry. What can you do to correct the problem? You may not need to look any further than your contact center.
Why Are Customers Less Loyal?
The days of customers remaining loyal to a company are quickly coming to an end. Customers are less likely than ever to stay loyal, and a growing number will switch brands without skipping a beat if they can get a better deal. This behavioral shift is rapidly changing how all companies should look at marketing and customer service.
Many analysts have tried to explain the decline in customer loyalty. The most common reasons include:
- Failing to meet customer expectations
- Failing loyalty programs
- Greater visibility of pricing
- Failing to see the customer experience as a comprehensive journey
- Lack of relevance to the customer
Interestingly, all of these shortcomings can be improved upon at the contact center level.
Pricing Isn’t Everything
In today’s commodity-driven market, you have two basic ways you can continue to succeed. Either you can focus on being the low-cost leader or you can offer added value to differentiate your brand and justify higher prices. Today, the biggest differentiator is service. So how can you can stand out when you have similar contact center operations as your competitors? The key is focusing on improving your customer experience.
Evaluate Your Infrastructure
There has never been a better time to take a good hard look at your contact center infrastructure. This begins with evaluating it from your customers’ perspective. Is the IVR system cumbersome with too many prompts and options? Can customers shift seamlessly between channels when they want to escalate an issue or do they have to jump through hoops to move from a self-service channel to voice? If you want to keep existing customers, your system needs to completely support their journeys. Yes, infrastructure improvements are an investment, but you can’t afford to lose customers because of an outdated, ill-functioning contact center system.
Personalize Their Journey
Customers are likely to stay loyal to a brand that appreciates them. Customers want to be recognized and don’t appreciate feeling like they’re only an account number. Today’s contact center infrastructure can now be integrated with CRM software to access customer data to personalize every interaction in the customer experience. Whether it’s a self-service interaction or a conversation via a voice channel, context can make a world of difference when it comes to making the engagement more meaningful for the customer.
Give Agents a Single Desktop
Contact center agents are using more tools and systems than ever before. It can be time-consuming and confusing to have to juggle multiple dashboard to effectively manage customer interactions. By providing agents with a single, unifed desktop, you give them the ability to provide efficient, informed service that will impress the customer.
Don’t Keep Them Holding
The majority of your customers are unlikely to wait on hold longer than one minute. Once they’ve hung up without getting their issue resolved, it’s very possible that you’ve lost a customer for good. In other words, if you consistently have extended wait times, you’re unnecessarily sending customers to your competitor.
Obviously, it’s important to have sufficient staff so that long hold times aren’t a chronic problem. However, even the best staffed contact center can experience unexpected peaks in call volume. When this happens, you want to have a back-up solution in place. Overcome the very real problem of long hold times and high call drop-off rates with call back software, which gives your customers the opportunity to obtain a call back in the same amount of time as if they’ve waited on hold. They’ll appreciate that you value their time and are likely to stick with your company even if there is a wait time for service.
Make the Shift from Reactive to Proactive Customer Service
Most companies make the mistake of addressing problems only after there are complaints. Yet, preemptive service can substantially decrease call volumes while increasing customer retention rates. A few ways to do this include:
- Proactively address mistakes before customers discover them.
- Reward customer loyalty with discounts and offers.
- Pay attention to what customers are saying on social media, blogs, and forums.
- Create a knowledge center to answer common customer questions.
- Add a live chat option on your website.
- Train agents to upsell and cross-sell and ensure they have the latest information about new releases, promotions, and sales.
Proactive customer service not only keeps customers happy but it also keeps your brand on their radar screen. It also helps drive profitability and serves as a marketing tool that can drive new business.
Competing on price alone is a slippery slope that eventually leads to lower profits and less customer loyalty. To build consistent, dedicated customers, give them something to talk about with others – like exceptional service that leaves your competitors in the dust. It’s a surefire strategy for overcoming pricing battles.