Marketing has invested significantly to bring your product to market and has engaged your customers. You want to make sure to retain them. Businesses fight fiercely to keep customers, knowing that their loyalty means higher spending. Yet 80% of customers who switched companies due to poor service feel the company could have done something to retain them, according to Accenture. Preventing that switch relies on comprehensive customer retention policies that reinforce the values of your product and services. Keep these 5 Tips in mind as you create your customer retention processes.
1. Be Proactive.
The best way to keep customers engaged is to set high standards for a product or service in the first place. Your customer service and sales require meeting the same high standards, including in the foundational components, such as these:
- Recruit Brand Specialist candidates who are compassionate and enthusiastic for the brand. Follow with detailed training for product and process knowledge and to create passion for the brand.
- Create a thorough quality monitoring program based on a scorecard that is aligned to your goals. Commit to providing coaching and positive feedback to Brand Specialists.
- Invest in surveying customers for Net Promoter Score or other measures of customer satisfaction. Take the time to review comments and make changes as appropriate and incorporate into your continuous improvement processes.
2. Design Transformational Experiences.
Training Brand Specialists to provide elements of a transformational experience in every customer contact as needed invites a continuous process to turn perception around. Components of transformational experience include:
- Connect with the customer through active listening, being patient and expressing empathy. It is important to build rapport with the customer.
- Assess each transaction to determine “What can we do to make it right” and how to do it within policy. It’s more about making the situation right than give-aways.
- ‘Wow’ the customer. Exceed the customer’s expectations.
- Complete the interaction on the first contact. Reduce customer effort.
3. Create the Opportunity to “Save a Customer.”
Sometimes when customers turn away from a company or service, the company never knows it. Measure your processes to raise visibility within your organization. Steps can include:
- Create an opportunity to learn what the customer’s difficulty is. The best practice in saving customer subscriptions is to prioritize a phone call to discuss their challenge. In doing so, you can learn about the difficulty and strive to make it right.
- Monitor social media. Understanding community sentiment can create the opportunity to get ahead of issues.
- Reach out to vocal customers by inviting them to discuss it with you offline.
4. Offer Appeasements.
- Design an appeasement program that features a diverse set of creative solutions. Beyond refunds, you can reduce a subscription, give a free month, offer supplemental product, extend promotions or offer discounts. Your Brand Specialists will be trained in the process.
- Allow the Brand Specialist leeway to tailor the appeasement to fit the customer’s situation.
- Track the appeasements for effectiveness.
5. Honor the Customer’s Wishes.
Sometimes, it is not possible to save the customer. But there is value to respecting the customer’s decision, using the right tone and leaving the customer with a feeling of goodwill. Some considerations:
- Once you assess the customer’s concern, make a reasonable attempt to address the situation and be sure to graciously allow the customer to cancel.
- Recognize that although this may not be the desired outcome of your business strategy, it is yet another branding opportunity. You want to make sure the customer has been treated with kindness, empathy and respect. Your Brand Specialist must leave the impression that their relationship is valued and your brand would welcome them back at any time.
Customer acquisition is expensive. Acquiring new customers can cost five times more than retaining current customers, according to Forrester Research. They like your product and service for a reason and understanding customer motivation is essential to preserving revenue. There are retention techniques to keep as many customers as you can. And using those techniques is well worth it.