“Profit in business comes from repeat customers; customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them” – W. Edwards Deming –
Expanding your business and growing your customer base should be the aim of any company, but, like what the quote says, profit comes from customers that you’ve successfully retained.
Customer retention is how successful a company is in managing to retain its paying customers for their repeat business. It is managed by earning the customers’ trust and loyalty by providing the best customer experience possible.
Organizations need to give priority to customer retention for boosting profits. Statistics have shown it makes financial sense to concentrate more on your current customers and work towards enhancing their experience.
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Your future profits are more likely to be from your crop of existing customers rather than newly acquired ones.
A Call center is an important touchpoint for customers to interact with you regarding any issues or queries with your service or product. An unsatisfactory interaction could potentially mean customers abandoning your company for your competitors. So, a call center plays an important role in helping you retain your customers.
This is why it makes sense to invest in your call center teams to enable them to deliver the best customer experience they can.
Call center customer retention is an important part of the business process because the more customers you’re able to retain, the healthier your bottom line will be.
What is retention in customer service?
Customer retention is a metric to measure customer loyalty or the company’s ability to retain its customers.
Retention in customer service means the capabilities of the customer service department in keeping customers satisfied and loyal. It helps in identifying loyal customers and also reflects customer satisfaction.
Retaining customers through customer service is critical because as stated earlier customer care agents are usually the first point of contact for customers to raise queries and complaints. A bad experience can drive them off, and as you all know, the cost of acquiring new customers is much higher than retaining existing customers.
Importance of customer retention in a call center
Customer retention in the call center increases your CLTV ( Customer Lifetime Value).
‘CLTV is a business metric that measures how much a company might be able to earn from customers throughout their customer journey with the company.’
What this means is, that the more you’re able to retain your customers, the more value you’ll get from them.
While new customer acquisition is important, it’s also more expensive than maintaining existing customers and developing them into recurring ones.
Call centers are an important point of contact for your customers. So, it’s imperative that you try and plug all identifiable gaps to provide top-of-the-line customer experiences. From a business perspective, it’s important for you to focus on customer retention by training and updating your call center agents on call center retention strategies.
Benefits of call center customer retention
There are various benefits to be had if call center customer retention can be managed effectively.
Some of the more significant benefits are listed below:
Reducing the cost of customer acquisition
Acquiring new customers is much more expensive and time-consuming than retaining your existing customer base.
Since new customers will be wary of your products and services they will research and shop around. Even if you’ve been cultivating them for a long time, they can just go off to another competitor, leaving you high and dry.
Focussing on your existing customers won’t be as expensive as acquiring new ones. You won’t have to worry about devising plans and strategies to try and get them to do business with you.
Since your present customers are already on board, they know about your products and services and won’t be likely to shop around. They are more likely to repeat purchases if they’re satisfied with your company.
The only thing that might chase them off is if you keep delivering bad customer experiences.
Gaining insight into your customers
The more you’re able to retain your customers, the more insights you’ll be able to accumulate.
Customers who stay with you a long time will have had many interactions with you throughout their journey. All of those interactions can generate data that you can leverage into positive action plans for making your customers’ experiences even more memorable.
Better customized experiences can be personalized for customers who spend more time with you. After all positive customer experiences are why customers stick around.
Increasing the value of each sale
Another benefit of retaining customers is the potential to sell them even more stuff. If your customers know and trust you they’ll be more open to trying and buying other products or services from you.
Don’t forget to follow up on your customers with personalized marketing messages in relation to their purchases. Following up on your customers not only increases customer retention but can also increase the value of each sale by providing opportunities to upsell or cross-sell.
Reducing customer churn
The opposite of customer retention is customer churn. Also known as the rate of attrition, customer churn is the rate of loss of customers from an organization.
There are usually various reasons for customer churn like bad products or services, better offers from competitors, and poor customer service. Reducing customer churn should be a focus of any business as loss of customers equals loss of revenues.
Since one factor for customer churn is poor customer service, call center customer retention should be made a priority within your organization.
Utilizing call center retention strategies like personalizing interactions, active listening, positive communication, etc. will help a lot in reducing customer churn.
A major benefit of customer retention is loyal customers. This is a result all companies strive for. After all, who wouldn’t want customers that not only trusts you to do business with but also, act like unofficial ‘brand ambassadors’.
Loyal customers can help get you more customers through referrals to their friends, family, and acquaintances. They can help promote your company through positive ‘word-of-mouth’ praise.
This, after all, is the best form of marketing.
Customers that have stuck around with you are more likely to give you proper feedback. Feedback is what makes the customer service world go around, so, getting good customer feedback will help you to deliver an even better experience.
Customer experience can be even more enhanced by engaging more with the customers through personalized marketing campaigns and outreach programs.
Now that we’ve seen some of the major benefits of customer retention, let’s look at what you can do to reap those benefits.
Best call center customer retention strategies
Different companies might use different strategies to retain their customers. Though there are various customer retention call center strategies, listed below are 8 call center retention strategies that are universal and can help you to better retain your customers.
1. Anticipate Customer Needs
Having a 360° view of your customers during their journey with you lets you know where they are on their journey. Having this information can help you anticipate what the customer might require in the future. If you are ready with those needs and can deliver them when or even before it’s needed customers will have no reason to leave you.
Examples of such types of anticipated actions are emails, phone calls, or messages to customers reminding them of upcoming appointments or payments to be made.
If you can create an experience that lets customers be satisfied with what you did for them, they will want to stay with you because of that experience.
2. Reducing Customer Effort
No one likes to put in effort when they don’t need to; this is especially true when it comes to customers and their issues.
They called you to resolve their issues, so they shouldn’t be asked to put in any effort to solve their problems. There are many ways you can help reduce customer effort to improve your customer retention rate.
Listed below are a few important ones:
- Provide channels the customers are comfortable using.
- Have options for adding experts from other channels during interactions
- Have multilingual channels to better serve your customers
- Enable your agents with technology that can provide them with real-time customer information
- Empower your agents with the necessary tools and data to resolve issues quickly
- As stated in the previous section; reduce customer effort by proactively reaching out to them and anticipating their needs.
3. Apologize Appropriately
‘Murphy’s law’ holds true for most businesses, something or the other will invariably go wrong for which you’ll owe your customers an apology.
No matter how you phrase it, apologizing for service failures is never easy. If you apologize in an inappropriate manner, you’ll risk losing your customers.
Not only customers, but you also stand to lose future revenues and opportunities for growth from those revenues. You could also lose your credibility in the market due to negative feedback.
Using the correct phrases and positive communication can help you mitigate all of the above scenarios.
Listed below are some basic techniques that can be used to apologize appropriately to help with customer retention.
- Take responsibility for your failure and acknowledge your part in it.
- Offer options and resolutions describing how you’ll fix the issues and try to rebuild trust
- Explain why the problem occurred
- Express how sorry you are; be empathetic
- Give assurances of never repeating the problem
4. Turn Negative Emotions Into Positives
Not all customers who call will be polite and positive. There will always be a customer with a negative mindset looking for a fight.
There’ll be customers who are angry and ready to have an argument with you. The skill to turn that negative angry customer into a positive understanding one is extremely useful. The main skills required to carry out this ‘magical transformation’ are simple; active listening and positive language.
Customers want to be listened to and if you give them a patient and empathetic ear they will start to calm down and become more understanding.
You can give your agents training on soft skills like active listening and positive communication through LMS (Learning Management System). These systems are databases of learning materials in various forms like videos, texts, past interaction scenarios, etc. All of these materials can enable your agent to interact more effectively with your customers.
5. Customer Feedback System
There are times when you have the perfect product and the perfect team, but you’re still having difficulties with customer retention. The main reason for this could be a disconnect between you and your customers. You might not be aware of what your customers want and need.
This is where creating and conducting customer feedback exercises can help. It can bridge the gap between you and your customers.
Customer feedback offers you information, insights, issues, and inputs about your company’s product or service from the customers’ point of view. All of this data can then be used to pinpoint and bridge the gap between you and your customers.
Try to make your feedback exercises as pleasant as possible for your customers. Just handing them forms and asking them to fill them will result in incomplete and corrupt data.
Give them options of giving feedback through whichever channel they prefer; emails, in-person, phones or even through self-serve portals.
Reach out to them after their feedback submission, thank them and tell them how their suggestions will help to enhance their customer experience even more. This small interaction from you will make your customers feel valued and listened to.
Finally, act on the feedback. If you just sit back and don’t do anything on the insights gathered, nothing will change, you’ll still be facing customer churn. But, if you take a proactive approach and act on the insights, your customers will also notice it and believe you’re really working to improve their experience.
This will go a long way in helping your customer retention rate go up.
6. Use the right offer
All customers will have their own reasons and issues for discontinuing your services or product. When a customer calls to unsubscribe or cancel an order you should try to find out the reason behind it.
Responding appropriately to those reasons could let you retain customers who would otherwise have left your company.
For example, if the customers find your prices high, you could offer alternatives within their budget. If they’re switching brands, you could mention your product’s advantages and offer to match the other company’s offerings.
Likewise, if they’re not satisfied with your services, you could ask for suggestions to improve and promise to work on it.
You can help your agents make all of these instant offers and suggestions by using KMS (Knowledge Management System). These systems can help your agents by letting them know about special company offers, through ‘Flash news’ features or from the FAQs which they can access to offer faster suggestions.
Integrated AI-powered assistants can also help your agents to come up with better and faster suggestions and alternatives.
7. Conduct an “exit survey”
It’s an absolute truth that you will always have customers who will leave your company. But it’s how you handle the situation that can have an impact on how many customers you’ll be able to retain.
When a customer wants to stop doing business with you, it’s necessary to ask why the customer wants to leave. This kind of ‘exit survey’ helps to find out what your shortcomings were that made the customer leave.
An exit survey is also a form of feedback. So data from this survey can be used the same way as data from other forms of feedback. Insights from an exit survey can help you to avoid more customer churn and improve services.
8. Say thank you
‘Thank you’, these two simple words can make a huge difference in enhancing customer experience. Appreciating your customers is a sign of respect and these two words show it. If you appreciate your customers they’re more likely to feel happy and valued.
A happy customer usually translates into a loyal customer. They’re more likely to promote your business and reputation.
Even if you’re conducting an ‘exit survey’, using communication skills like active listening, positive communication, and thanking the customer, in the end, will leave a positive impression on the customer. These positive aspects of the interaction might linger on and the customer might eventually even return back to you.
Automation for call center customer retention
Customer retention is a challenge across all industries. Retaining customers is not as easy as it sounds.
Call center agents, being an important point of contact between you and your customers, need all the help they can get. Implementing the best customer retention call center strategies is the way forward.
What this means is, ‘automation’.
Kapture can automate your call center operations by streamlining the processes of how a customer interacts with you. Your agents will be able to prioritize and resolve queries faster and more efficiently.
Omnichannel and multilingual support will make it easy for your customers to contact you from any channel in a language of their choice. Your agents can have access to customer profiles at their fingertips for better clarity and resolution while being assisted by AI-powered agent assistants.
They’ll also be able to take notes during an interaction to avoid potential miscommunications.
Kapture’s contact center allows your agents to do all of the above and more for productive and efficient resolutions.
If you want to strengthen your call center customer retention rate then practicing the above strategies and adopting automation is the best way to achieve it.
About the Author
|Elvis Richard Cormuz|
|Elvis hails from Darjeeling and has had vibrant work-life experiences – he is a musician, social worker, and freelance translator/transcriber, his hobbies include music, movies, and reading.|