Four Ways to Prevent Costly Customer Churn

Bad customer service is costing businesses BILLIONS. $537 billion to be precise, according to Vision Critical. With today’s technology when a bad interaction is shared in an instant, businesses cannot afford a negative customer experience.

What’s your first instinct when a company doesn’t treat you well? For many, it’s naming, shaming and switching to a competitor. In today’s technology-fueled world, unhappy customers are able to amplify their voices quickly, hurting the company’s brand and bottom line.

Brand Switching

A study by NewVoiceMedia asked more than 2,000 adults from the United States the following question: Have you switched to a different business as a result of poor customer service? The result was that 49% of respondents reported switching, and of those, 67% switched more than once. The main reasons were that the customers felt unappreciated, encountered unhelpful/rude staff, were redirected to multiple agents, were not able to speak to a person on the phone, were not able to get answers and were put on hold for too long.

It also focused on age demographics and found that baby-boomers (55+) were least likely to switch, with only 27% indicating that they would switch as a result of poor service. However, of the 25- to 34-year-olds, referred to as the millennial generation, 62% were willing to switch.

So the results are pretty clear: If you don’t provide a good customer service experience, someone else out there is going to gain half of your existing customers. So how do you stop customers feeling frustrated, undervalued, or let down? Try these 4 steps to win your customer’s loyalty and prevent them switching to another supplier.

1. Consistency

If there is one thing that will erode the customer’s confidence more than anything, it is a lack of consistency. Brand consistency involves more than just placing your logo and tagline on your online profiles and marketing materials. It’s also about maintaining the quality of any brand-related content and providing the right information to customers across all channels and touchpoints, in times when they need it and in ways that match their needs and expectations.

It is also vital for your customers to have consistency when it comes to human-interaction. When your employees don’t follow the rules, your customers will notice! Because it can be costly to your company when staff don’t provide the seamless service and knowledge they are expecting, you need to take proactive measures – such as with compliance and regulatory audits –  to make sure that employees are meeting the requirements in their customer interactions.

2. Self-Service

In most cases, customers prefer to address their problems on their own right away, rather than waste time waiting on hold. Simply put, any tool or information that could help a client or user solve an issue on his/her own is considered a self-service tool. Generally speaking, self-service resources include:

  • Online knowledge base
  • FAQ (frequently asked questions section)
  • Tutorials and guides (text, infographic, or video)
  • Online community forums
  • Automated chatbots/Live chat

By creating the best possible online self-service experience, you offer an option for customers to help themselves which can give your customer support reps more time to focus on improving the big-picture aspects of your CX strategy.

3. Respond to Online Reviews and Feedback

96% of unhappy customers don’t complain – they just leave. But many of them will still mention your business on social media or to their friends. When customers take the time to share with you their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and feedback, the least you can do is respond. Therefore a crucial part of improving customer experience is your ability to respond when customers share feedback.

By investing in Online Reputation Management (which allows you to view all reviews by real customers across multiple review and social media platforms including Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and more), you strengthen relationships with your customers and monitor feedback, allowing the resolution of issues quickly for unhappy customers.

4. Increase Personalization

Personalization holds the key to standing out and cutting through all the noise, especially when the average consumer is bombarded by thousands of banner ads every month, and over 80% of email traffic is spam.

Creating a personal experience across channels has been a challenge for many businesses, and it’s crucial to develop your ability to understand customers better — by capturing, managing, and analyzing customer feedback. Customer feedback management can help you achieve a more complete understanding of — and respond more effectively to — the needs, wants, and expectations of your individual customers. Ways to incorporate this into your CX strategy include:

Providing customers with these mechanisms across different touchpoints, you can gain authentic insights and powerful analytics around the individual’s feedback, sentiment, and more to help tell the stories of your customer base. Let the gathered feedback — whatever form it takes — guide the ways you increase personalization and improve customer experience.

Final Thoughts

Though many companies realize the critical importance of delivering great customer experience, chances are that there is still a wide gap between the customers’ satisfaction and companies’ expectation. That’s one reason providing a great customer experience should be viewed as an investment rather than an expense.