Building customer loyalty should be the ultimate business priority. This sounds logical but you might be asking yourself, why should customer loyalty be a top business priority for my organization?
For one, customer loyalty shows you’re running your business the right way. In addition, maintaining happy customers is far less expensive than bringing in new customers, considering the marketing costs for customer acquisition. Plus, your dedicated, loyal customers will sing your praises and be your organization’s biggest advocates.
So, how exactly do you begin building customer loyalty? It’s all about building relationships, starting with your contact center.
Much of the magic of relationship building happens within the contact center, when agents in the call center speak directly to customers by phone and resolve issues or answer questions through online channels.
According to PR Newswire, 88% prefer speaking to a live customer service agent instead of navigating a phone menu. Therefore, your brand needs to make a great first impression that will deliver a memorable experience, build customer confidence, and bring your customers back, time and time again.
These three call center secrets are key to building customer loyalty and creating an extraordinary customer experience that will lead to a fulfilling, beneficial relationship for both your company and your consumers.
1. Building Customer Loyalty Through Quality And Friendliness
One of the best kept call center secrets: Hire for smiles.
Base your hiring criteria on more than an agent’s resume alone. Take into consideration a magnetic personality versus a purely proficient profile. What can change a customer experience from mediocre to amazing? It’s often all about attitude, quality, and friendliness.
Think about your last excellent customer experience. More than likely, it was less about the information the agent knew and more about the manner in which the service was delivered. It’s hard to put your finger on, but you know it when you experience it. Quality and friendliness is in the tone of voice, confidence of ability, and eagerness to help.
Take Apple for example, one of the most profitable brands in the world. They credit their success not to their products but to their outstanding customer service that keeps people coming back. Carmine Gallo, author of The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty, probed into Apple’s hiring process. Employees are hired based on 90% passion and 10% technical abilities.
While trainable agents can learn necessary skills, “you can’t teach friendly,” Gallo says. Your agents can be trained to operate your company’s CRM software. However, when serving a dissatisfied customer, friendliness, patience, and an upbeat attitude should come naturally.
Another character trait to consider: grit. In other words, are they resilient? Do they have the confidence to work under pressure? Customer service agents often deal with complex issues and occasionally face emotional customers. Agents who set aside personal feelings and stay committed to delivering a great customer experience, despite negatives, is one of the call center secrets for building customer loyalty.
Agents who have a natural passion for wanting to make a change for the better are more likely to be the ones who will go above and beyond to find effective solutions. With the right agents in place, building customer loyalty through quality will be a natural outcome.
2. Building Customer Loyalty Through Empathy and Consistency
Consistency in quality customer service will create trust and build your company’s reputation for dependability. Customers will most likely return if they feel comfortable and secure, knowing they’ll be cared for with empathy each and every time. This will lay the foundation towards a budding relationship of customer loyalty.
To be successful in providing consistent service, a well-trained staff is one of the most essential call center secrets. Establish your vision of the ultimate customer experience and get agents’ buy-in. All service agents need to be trained, depending on their skills and area of expertise, to create a standard level of quality and uphold consistency, no matter which service expert the customer works with.
Empathy often starts with language. Start communication with a warm personalized greeting. The initial greeting with a customer is significant: a good first impression can set the tone for how a customer will evaluate their experience. A kind greeting is not only common courtesy, but it demonstrates empathy — and, over time, warm greetings in every interaction illustrates consistency. Greeting customers with sincerity will convey the message that your company values their time and you truly appreciate them choosing your service or brand.
Starting with a big, warm hello can also be done on social media channels and may be one of the biggest missed opportunities to spark new relationships. 70% of companies ignore customer complaints on Twitter, but responding demonstrates empathy and consistency. Plus, 83% of consumers say they expect to get a reply from companies.
Empathy comes to life throughout the customer experience. Some call center secrets of consistently empathetic call center agents include active listening, avoiding unfamiliar jargon (which can alienate your customer), putting themselves in the customer’s shoes and seizing opportunities to share more about themselves.
3. Building Customer Loyalty Through Incentives and Perks
People love perks. It’s that simple.
Reward your returning customers with frequent buyer discounts. If your organization provides a service, a referral rewards program would still benefit your customers while gaining new business. Customers will be happy to hear from agents to learn of the rewards they have accrued. It’s also an opportunity to inform them of new products and services. Strong customer reward programs and incentives are a great strategy for building customer loyalty through quality.
Get creative. There are countless tactics and opportunities to show customers that you appreciate them. Display a promotional image and ask customers to “caption this.” Offer a prize for the video with the most votes saying why they love your company. The more invested you become with your customers, the more excited they become and feel naturally inclined to promote your business.
Whether a customer makes a purchase or not, the right tools and technology should be in place within the call center for agents to be proactive when it comes to reaching out to the customer. For example, let’s say a customer was unable to make a purchase or use the service. Agents should always send them off with an invitation to return. Coupon codes or discount codes can go a long way in scenarios like this.
Another opportunity for building customer loyalty and confidence is the “abandoned cart” tactic. Many shoppers will add items to their virtual cart, but never complete the transaction and check out to place their order. Abandoned cart emails can be a great tool in building customer loyalty. Send a quick, automated message to remind customers of what they have left behind — and, by the way, it’s on sale too.
Perhaps a customer thinks a product is too complex and changes their mind even after speaking with an agent. The agent can then follow up by offering an in-store demo (if available) or sending a link to a virtual “how-to” tutorial. Customers will return to where they feel most valued and wanted.
Just like any loyal friendship, people love to feel wanted and pursued. That’s one of the key call center secrets, and a crucial strategy in how to build customer loyalty and confidence.
Whether your call center agents are troubleshooting or making sales, the fundamental goal in building customer loyalty is to ensure the customer is smiling at the end of their experience. There is a direct correlation between how customers feel about the service and how likely they are to recommend your business to others.
According to Invesp marketing firm, 60-70% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. The numbers don’t lie: When it costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied, it’s wise to make an investment in building customer loyalty.
If your call center agents can provide effective solutions and empathetic, consistent service, your company will continue to reap benefits of building customer loyalty over the long term.
How are you building customer loyalty within your company? What have you implemented within your customer service support?