According to MultiChannelMerchant.com, “Almost half of North American and European consumers surveyed by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council say they will abandon a brand and take their money elsewhere if they continuously encounter a poor, impersonal or frustrating customer experience across channels of engagement.”
Every year businesses lose revenue in trillions of dollars due to poor customer service. Many businesses these days leverage cloud-based solutions and services to prevent customer abandonment through multichannel customer communication. The cloud-based communication tools further help enterprises to run call centers without incurring the huge infrastructural and operational cost.
Many new-age companies assess the performance and efficiency of their call centers using customer retention rates as a key performance indicator (KPI). The call centers must deliver superior customer service to improve customer retention and promote customer loyalty. However, they need to keep in place robust customer retention strategies to prevent customers from switching brands or companies.
In addition to monitoring customer service quality, the strategy will emphasize on implementing a set of customer retention tips and best practices for call centers.
1. Focus on Customer Experience Personalization
No call center can engage and retain customers without delivering personalized service. The cloud-hosted call center solutions enable agents to access relevant customer information at the right time. They further help agents to collect real-time information about a customer based on his or her caller ID.
The agents must leverage real-time information to promote customer loyalty by delivering superior service or support. The customer retention strategy must focus on allowing agents to access relevant information at the right time.
2. Avoid Information Repetition
Often agents impact customer service quality adversely by asking customers to repeat information. Many customers even feel frustrated when they have to repeat the same information across different communication channels. The cloud-hosted call center tools enable agents to combine a customer’s contact history – telephone calls, emails, and live chat sessions – seamlessly.
The agent can use the dashboard provided by the cloud-based call center solution to access the information required to personalize the next customer interaction without requiring information repetition.
3. Provide Customers with Self-Service Options
According to BusinessWire.com, “More than six in 10 U.S. consumers say that their go-to channel for simple inquiries is a digital self-serve tool such as a website (24%), mobile app (14%), voice response system (13%) or online chat (12%).”
No call center can engage and retain modern customers without providing them with self-service options.
The call centers can easily leverage cloud-hosted interactive voice response (IVR) systems to enable customer self-service. The self-service options provided by the IVR system will enable callers to resolve simple customer service issues on their own without interacting with a live agent.
4. Increase First Call Resolution
According to Accenture.com, “83 percent of U.S. consumers prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer services issues.”
Also, many customers opt for face-to-face interaction with a live agent for resolving complex issues. However, each customer wants to access information or resolve service issues without making multiple calls.
The call centers can easily boost customer loyalty by emphasizing on first call resolutions. They can further take advantage of cloud-based IVR systems to increase first call resolution by implementing skill-based call routing. The call routing option will transfer the incoming call to the most appropriate agent, department, or call queue.
5. Explore Ways to Reduce Customer Effort
Each customer wants to resolve issues without putting extra time and effort. Many customers switch brands when they have to put additional effort to get service issues resolved. The call centers can easily promote customer loyalty by simplifying and accelerating customer service delivery.
The managers must re-skill and up-skill agents to resolve complex customer service issues quickly and proactively. Likewise, they need to keep the self-service options provided by the IVR systems easy to understand and navigate to make agents reduce efforts and save time.
6. Encourage Agents to Build Rapport with Customers
In addition to personalizing the customer experience, the agents need to build rapport with customers during the interaction. The rapport will help call centers to improve customer retention and loyalty. The agents can easily build rapport with a customer by mentioning his or her previous interactions with the business.
Also, they can start a warm relationship with the customers using simple techniques like discussing a current event or sharing a light-hearted joke. However, it is always important for the agent to customize his or her approach according to the precise needs of the customer and, nature of the customer service issue.
7. Train Agents to Handle Angry Customers
A number of studies suggest that call center agents handle angry or unhappy customers on a daily basis. The managers cannot promote customer loyalty without making agents to handle the customers who come with a negative frame of mind. The agents must learn how to understand a caller’s current frame of mind and identify unhappy customers.
In addition to remaining patient and calm throughout the interaction, the agents also need to become active or reflective listeners. They must listen to the customer actively and focus extensively on the customer service issue. The managers need to emphasize on boosting call center performance by converting unhappy customers into loyal customers.
8. Empower Agents to Offer Appeasements
Sometimes agents cannot prevent a customer from switching brand or business without offering appeasements like discounts, subscription, and waiver. The managers need to keep in place an elaborate appeasement program that allows agents to choose from multiple alternatives to refund.
The agent must have the option to choose the appropriate appeasement according to customer’s emotion and needs. However, the manager needs to review the effectiveness of each option to make the appeasement program effective in promoting customer loyalty.
9. Measure Customer Satisfaction Regularly
No call center can maximize customer retention without measuring customer service quality and understanding customer expectations. Many call centers these days use customer satisfaction (CSAT) as a key metric to improve customer experience and understand customer satisfaction.
The call centers must conduct customer satisfaction surveys on a regular basis to deliver superior customer service. They can easily measure CSAT by conducting post-call IVR surveys. However, the call centers can also measure customer satisfaction using widely used metrics like net promoter score (NPS) and customer effort score (CES).
The call centers must implement a set of customer retention tips and best practices to prevent customers from switching a brand or business. They need to keep in place customer retention strategies to promote customer loyalty by delivering outstanding customer support. However, the decision-makers must review the strategy continuously to incorporate the changes required to boost customer retention rates.