Keeping a customer is just as critical as gaining a new customer. In fact, research from Bain and Co. says that a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent and Gartner Group predicts that 80 percent of future revenue will come from a mere 20 percent of existing customers. With statistics such as these, it’s obvious that it pays to keep existing clients happy. Here are some tips on how to ensure that your existing customers remain loyal.
Go the Extra Mile
While it’s easy to spout the old adage that the customer is always right, not many companies actually take that sentiment to heart. Making returns and repairs difficult or process heavy is one way to annoy customers, but making things right without hassle cements the relationship. Ensure that product descriptions are clear, complete and correct as well as compelling, and grammar and spelling count in manuals and in every customer communication.
Adding small yet inexpensive touches to products or packaging conveys pride in your product and customer care. Try using custom seals and tissue paper in your shipments to solidify brand identification or enclosing a customized coupon to encourage repeat business. Having a live person answer your call center phone is the ultimate personal touch in today’s business environment that is dominated by automated attendants and IVR (interactive voice recognition) systems.
Customer Only Sales and Coupons
Whenever a customer buys from you, reward the behavior with a certificate or an email with a discount on a future sale or enclose a coupon in the packaging. Some companies already do this but they lose the goodwill value of the gesture by using short expiration dates or restricting the discount to last season’s product line. If you are going to make a gesture, don’t make it an empty one. Really appreciate your customers or don’t bother. Any increase in revenue from customers who do take advantage of your offer will be offset by the lost sales from customers who feel devalued by its hollowness.
You can easily make a gesture that customers appreciate by offering a discount or special pricing on complementary items while the customer is on the phone with your 24 hour call center. Spend the time to ensure that your CSRs know and understand the current offers.
Clear Product Documentation
Many products today come without a manual, but whether you include a manual or direct the customer to a website, product instructions should be clear and well written. You may have outsourced the production of your product overseas, but the manual shouldn’t feel like it.
Clear documentation will cut down on the number of support calls, resulting in happier customers. You will also find that support calls will be for more complex and unique issues, which means your CSR team needs to be smart and well trained.
Integrating CRM with Phone
Most CRM systems can be integrated with modern telephone systems so that the customer’s record comes up right away on the CSR’s computer screen. This allows them to greet customers by name and to have the details of the customer issue at hand without forcing customers to repeat them. Customers appreciate the respect that this improvement in service demonstrates.
Time is of the Essence
Examine all your business processes to ensure that you eliminate unnecessary steps so that customers can get off the phone and receive their products quickly. Staff your call center so that calls are answered within the first few rings and customers don’t spend time on hold. If you must put a customer on hold because of unexpected volumes, let them know how long the wait will be or offer to save their place in the queue and call them back when they reach the top of the waiting line.
Empower Your People
Nothing frustrates customers more than talking to someone who can’t do anything about their problem. Make sure your customer support call center team has the training to answer product and support questions, and empower them to take action to make things right for the customer.
These things are simple but of great value to customers. Implementing these tips will increase customer intimacy and increase revenue from repeat sales from loyal customers.