This One Simple Tip Helps Keep Customers Coming Back For More

 

Customer retention is cited as a major pain point for many businesses. Nonetheless, it’s an important aspect to running a successful business and gaining optimal contact center services ROI. After all, numerous studies have shown that it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to maintain an existing one. In addition, repeat customers often spend more over their lifetime.

In fact, the average repeat customer spent 67 percent more in months 31-36 of his or her shopping relationship than in months zero to-six, according to research from Bain and Co. What’s more, repeat customers spent 23 percent more in months 31-36 than in months zero-to-six.

If you’re struggling to improve your customer retention levels, there’s no need to fret because there’s one simple tip that you can implement to keep customers coming back for more. And that simple tip is to ensure that your Communicators end every conversation having gained a new friend.

That is, Communicators ought to perceive their customers as friends, in order to exude more empathy, authenticity and lightheartedness over the phone. In doing so, customers may soften their outlook toward customer care representatives and thereby enjoy a more personalized, friendlier experience.

So what are some things Communicators can do to make their interactions with customers friendlier? Below are some easy tips and tricks:

  • Make it personal: Customers don’t want to be treated like just another consumer; rather, they want a unique and personalized experience. Leverage the data you have about your customers to make every interaction more personal.
  • Listen intently: Part of being a good friend is really listening; the same goes with providing good customer care. Be sure that your Communicators are intently listening to customers’ questions.

While it’s true that Communicators must go through extensive training and continue to receive professional development throughout their careers, treating customers as they would a dear friend can help them improve their interactions with customers right away.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

 

Three Customer Care Practices That Drive Consumers Crazy

The contact center is one of the most important arms of a business. After all, contact centers are responsible for managing customer care and maintaining consumer retention. But, identifying what makes a customer tick, however, isn’t always easy for contact center employees. After all, no two customers are the same.

To help businesses understand what practices tend to drive consumers crazy, Consumer Reports National Research Center recently conducted a survey of 1,016 adults. In the survey, the company asked respondents to rate certain pain points on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 being “not annoying at all” to 10 being “tremendously irritating.”

So what practices frustrate customers the most?

Survey results found that 75 percent of respondents are irritated when they can’t get a live person on the phone and when a customer service representative is rude or condescending. What’s more, 74 percent of those polled said that they become highly aggravated when they are disconnected, while 71 percent said they’re frustrated when they are disconnected and unable to reach the same representative again.

For contact center leaders, it’s important that they make sure that their Communicators aren’t “annoying” customers by participating in these practices. Below are various ways in which contact center leaders can avoid making these mistakes:

  • Preserve human interaction: Many companies make the mistake of replacing human interaction with interactive voice response (IVR) technology. However, the majority of customers prefer to speak to an actual human being. Therefore, make sure that you give customers the option to speak to a qualified Communicator.
  • Train Communicators: As stated above, customers want to speak to a Communicator who’s not only knowledgeable about the company’s product or service, but who’s also empathetic and positive. Communicators should always use positive language in all situations no matter how frustrated a person may be at the start of the call.

Be sure to employ a strong customer care strategy so that you can  provide consumers the service to make them happy and retain their business.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Making the Case for Human Interaction In An Increasingly Robotic World

The phrase, “there is a time and place for everything” couldn’t ring truer when discussing the dilemma modern contact center leaders face when striking an appropriate balance among digital, automated and phone-based customer care support options.

For instance, when consumers are pressed for time, access to digital support might prove most convenient. As well, automated support is great for scheduling appointments or entering credit card information, for example. But when consumers need substantial support to solve a complex inquiry, there is nothing more effective than human interaction.

But let’s face it … digital communication methods are swiftly infiltrating traditional contact center best practices. In fact, research from Dimension Data projects that digital traffic is set to rise in 89 percent of contact centers within the next two years, and voice traffic will drop in 35 percent of contact centers.

Indeed, it would be a shame to see human interaction fade away in favor of auto attendants and self service customer care options. However, contact center leaders must face this challenge head on by learning how to integrate the right communication solutions at the right times and for the most suitable demographics.

After all, it’s just as important to preserve your contact center’s essential live support service delivered by a trained professional as it is to future-proof your business by implementing digital solutions that are currently increasing in popularity.

It’s tricky to achieve, but striking the right balance between automated, digital and phone-based interactions will be instrumental in preserving human interactions in the contact center, here’s why:

  • Consumers need deep support:   Not all inquires can be answered in a live Web chat or by the options listed off by an auto attendant. When your consumers have complex questions to ask verbal communication is the most efficient customer care method. What’s more, many consumers will always prefer human interaction.  As well, miscommunications and misunderstandings, in terms of tone and objective, are bound to occur when too much customer care is dealt with via digital or automated services. As such, contact centers must always provide access to a hotline number if a Web chat goes awry and the consumer needs live support.
  • Multiple avenues are convenient: Providing different methods of communications augments the consumer experience. After all, superior quality of customer care means that consumers can gain 24/7 access to the support platforms that they prefer. When your consumers know that they can access a combination of support methods which suit their preferences and time constraints, they’ll likely be much more satisfied with your overall service.
  • Human interaction cultivates relationships: Today, consumers want to establish trust with the brands they do business with and quality of customer care is at the crux of cultivating such relationships. As such, the best way to truly convey your dedication to providing high quality support for your consumers is to interact with them on a human level. Phone-based customer care engenders more opportunity to connect with consumers by striking up a spontaneous conversation, demonstrating empathy by actively listening to their questions and expressing compassion and trustworthiness through careful word choice and tone of voice.

It’s important to preserve human interaction in customer care support; however, as technology evolves it’s also important to remain relevant with the times.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.