Consumers today are savvier than ever and extremely experienced at shopping around to get a bargain. But that's not to say that customer loyalty is a thing of the past. If customers truly see value in a brand (and their relationship with it) then they are actually willing to pay more for the product or service in question.
So how can we improve our customer service - and in turn customer loyalty - and what should we be thinking about when it comes to brand reputation? The following 6 areas are key to success.
1. Know Your Customer
It's more important than ever to understand your customers and their buyer personas. But also understand that, as human beings, customers do have changing wants and needs.
Ensure that you have a 360-degree view of the customer across all contact points and channels. Your CRM and your contact center system must integrate - screen popping all of the customer details to the agent dealing with the inquiry (whether it's on voice/chat or other channel). Don't make customers repeat information unnecessarily. Use relevant personalization where possible too.
2. Employ Great People (or Make Them Great!)
Advisors need to possess the right skills and traits - friendliness, compassion and attentiveness for starters. Certain key qualities are innate and hard to enforce through staff training; but knowledge and understanding are critical too, so you've got to give team members ongoing support. Train them to be mentors or “super agents” with in-depth knowledge from which the customers can truly benefit.
3. Go the Extra Mile with Real Conversations
Don't overlook the little things as these are often what shape and form our opinions. Offer genuine assistance and let agents be themselves. We know that “people buy from people” and there's nothing wrong with being human. It can be a thoroughly refreshing experience to have a real conversation with an agent. With sufficient training, highlighted above, there should be no conflict giving agents the freedom to be themselves. You may find that first contact resolution and CSAT scores both see an uplift.
4. Leverage Technology
Use technology to test effectiveness of these changes. What marketers refer to as “A/B testing” – where you test two variations of something using a data sample before rolling out the most effective version to everyone else – is a tactic often used for email subject lines or for website content. But the same methodology can apply within the contact center environment. Test two variations of a script or vary inbound call queue treatments. Use the drag and drop contact flow editor to make changes then test and compare results.
For outbound campaigns, if you're not sure how much time to give between initial email contact and a call back, try running two versions of your call flow simultaneously – each with a different time period between email and call back – then see which gets the best call pick up rate.
Of course, CRM integration is also key, as mentioned above, and it is essential to ensure your website is mobile-friendly and that you are offering your customers a choice of communication channels that is relevant to them. Contact center web chat continues to increase in popularity and customers expect fast and efficient service.
5. Show Appreciation
An essential part of building customer loyalty is to reward your customers and show appreciation. We know it is significantly more costly to attract and win new customers than it is to retain existing customers, yet businesses often overlook this. Think about your customers and the type of rewards or incentives that would work for them. Consider loyalty discounts or other offers and do not neglect your existing customers in favor of the new!
6. Revisit the Customer Journey (Often)
The customer journey needs frequent attention to understand and identify any areas that may be improved – even the little things. Always seek to minimize or remove any effort and stress. For a stress-free experience, customers need easy access to the information that they need and the journey needs to be as seamless as you can possibly make it. Achieve this and your customers are highly likely to return.
Delight your customers and they’re more likely to become brand advocates that will sell your products/services for you – amplifying the message on social media and spreading the word throughout their social circles. In order to provide the highest quality customer service, your call center team must be motivated. Check out our tips on how to motive your call center team and boost morale for some ideas to get your started.
We recently published a guide that looks at why the contact center should be at the heart of the customer centric business model and how your marketing and contact center teams can work together to improve the customer experience: The Marketing Led Contact Center Manifesto.