This is chapter two of our free guide: 28 Customer Retention Strategies – With Real Examples
Baseline Customer Service Isn’t Enough
Most companies have finally realized they can’t just do the bare minimum and expect people to stick around when it comes to customer service. So it’s no wonder that revamping how you approach customer service can improve your customer retention rate massively.
Instead of reacting to issues as they happen, make customer service something that happens before the problem occurs. Reach out to clients throughout the year to see if they’re having any issues or if there’s something you could be doing better. Try asking them, “How are we doing?”.
This proactive approach shows initiative on your part and also allows you to fix problems before they becoming bigger ones — keeping your customers from looking to a competitor’s offering. And considering 82% of consumers in the United States say they stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer experience, it’s not something to take lightly.
Take A Proactive Approach
No one likes negative surprises: finding out they missed a payment, waiting on a package that was supposed to be delivered or learning they missed out on a sale. Prevent your customers from having to deal with these disappointments by keeping them in the loop.
You can send them a text if they have an upcoming bill, give them tracking information on a shipment or email them about discounts or any other information they need to know (before it’s too late). They’ll appreciate your help and feel more connected to your company.
Get Employees On Board
You may be the face of the company, but you’re not the only one interacting with your customers, so you need your team members to be committed to customer retention and service if you’re going to succeed.
Beyond letting them read this article (of course!), it’s important to explain to your team why retention is vital to your company. Since they’re on the frontline, you can also get their feedback on ways to improve customer service.
Plus, the more you involve your team in the strategic direction of your company, the higher morale will be – plus, an appreciated employee is a happy employee. Showing your employees respect also helps retain customers because that mindset trickles down to how they interact with your customers too.
It all comes full circle.
Set Expectations Up Front
We’ve all heard the saying “under promise and over deliver.” Heck, it’s almost used to the point that we forget how critically important that statement really is for every business.
“The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” —Richard Branson
The earlier you can set expectations, the better. For example, if it normally takes you an hour to respond to customer feedback, let them know you’ll get back to them in the next 24 hours. That way, you have a little buffer if you’re slower to get back to them — and you’ll give them a positive surprise if you get back to them sooner.
You can also set expectations by sending customers a short email when they sign up with you laying out what they should expect as one of your customers. You can also use this email as an opportunity to surprise and delight them.
Create Deliberate Opportunities For Feedback
The more connected your customers feel to your company, the more likely they are to stay with you (Have you caught onto the “connected” theme with all of these tactics yet?).
The easiest way to stay connected to thousands or even millions of customers is of course, social media.
Don’t just post one-way updates and photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram though. You should also create deliberate opportunities for customer feedback. Ask open-ended questions, post polls and encourage them to share their thoughts on a topic.
While the responses you get can help you learn more about your customers and what they want, don’t forget to keep it lighthearted most of the time like Jeff Barrett, CEO of Status Creative:
Forgot headphones at the gym! So I either workout to steady Pitbull or give up and eat McGriddles. Glad this is the last Friday of 2016.
— Jeff Barrett (@BarrettAll) December 30, 2016
People want to connect with other people (NOT companies), so humanize your posts by putting a photo as your profile image or adding the name of the person who made the post.
Speed Up Your Response Time
Just like you track your sales leads in your CRM, you should also monitor your response time for customer support. There’s no excuse for their questions to sit in your help desk for days, or worse, going unanswered altogether.
Research and calculate your average response time for customer inquiries and then take steps to improve on that as quickly as you can.
The “how” isn’t nearly as important as the “when”. In today’s here-and-now culture (and with mainstream adoption of chat bots and messaging apps already here), your customers expect a response almost immediately.
One of the simplest approaches you can take when it comes to customer service is asking for their feedback. Click here to create your own beautiful customer feedback survey with Fieldboom in less than 5 minutes.
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