I probably don’t have to convince you of the importance of customer service strategies to decrease customer churn. Research has shown that increasing customer retention rates by only 5% can result in as much as 25% to 95% increase in profits.
Put your effort into acquiring the right customers
Before we discuss how to keep your existing customers, let’s talk about the importance of attracting the right customers in the first place. Put your marketing dollars to work acquiring loyal customers who value your brand. If low prices are your selling point at the beginning you’ll get customers who are only looking for a bargain and will probably go elsewhere once those deep discounts no longer apply.
Consider tying sales compensation to customer retention – perhaps include an additional bonus if new customers stay for at least 18 months, in order to encourage your sales team to go after high-quality, long-term customers.
Identify your best customers
Your CRM gives you a gold mine of valuable information that you can use to deliver the best service possible. Use your data to find out who spends the most with your company.
Once you’ve identified your most profitable customers you can give them the VIP treatment they deserve. Assign your best, most competent and persuasive staff to work with them. After all, if 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers, it makes sense to know exactly who they are and concentrate your efforts on making them feel special and loyal to your company.
It doesn’t hurt to tell them how special they are, either. People respond positively to positive labels. “VIP” is a classic, but you could also use titles such as “Prestige”, “Gold, “Premium”. You get the idea.
Make the customer experience as effortless as possible
Conventional wisdom says that good customer service means bending over backward to delight your customer, and that this behavior drives customer loyalty.
Unfortunately, research has shown that this is not always true. What has been shown to keep customers coming back is meeting their expectations for a smooth, easy transaction. The less effort the customer has to exert to get your product or service, the better. For instance, Bell Canada determined that customers who bought a certain service often had to call back because they couldn’t figure out how to operate it. Reps were instructed to give a quick tutorial on the service at the time it was ordered, and this simple action decreased customer churn by 6%.
Identify behavior that predicts customer churn
Check for patterns in customer behaviour with your brand. By picking up on common trends, you might be able to avoid having unhappy customers by addressing issues before they become real problems.
Bring out your best customer service strategies to decrease customer churn. When they see that you care about them they might decide to stay after all, or at least tell you why they’re leaving.
Personalize your customer communications
Your CRM should have information tracking your customer’s entire journey with your company. You can use this information to give them the best offers on products in which they’ve already shown an interest. If you know their birthday you can send them birthday offers – Point is, with some much customer information, it’s easy to get personal and creative!
The important thing is to avoid a canned response that make customers feel indifferent.
Optimize your quality assurance process
Zappos uses something called Full Circle Feedback to monitor the process of building good customer relationships, which is central to their brand and business model.
They developed it in response to customer reps’ concerns that the QA process was somehow antagonistic to their interests. They were afraid of getting a bad score, so they couldn’t completely cooperate with the QA team.
The Full Circle Feedback process empowers agents to participate in the QA process. It’s made up of 5 steps:
- Agents listen to their own calls and evaluate good and challenging aspects of themselves.
- Team leaders listen to live calls and provide immediate coaching.
- Quality checks happen on a regular schedule.
- Praise for a job well-done – good calls are shared with the whole team to show appreciation for that agent and teach how to do it right.
- Send out an NPS survey to get customer feedback.
Zappos had their QA team and customer reps work together to develop the best customer service strategies to decrease customer churn.
Happy staff equals happy customers
Engaged employees make for loyal customers. When your team members are passionate about your brand, it shows and easily communicates itself to your customers. A customer-centered company culture values the human element in both staff and customers. It fosters a feeling of warmth and respect that radiates from the top down, draws in new customers, and encourages them to stay.
The best way to decrease customer churn is to provide good customer service. It doesn’t have to be costly and time-consuming: the keys are to meet customer expectations and provide personalized service. These two simple things, along with the tips in this article, should help you maintain a solid customer base for years to come.