Listen Up, Customer Service: A Guide to Develop Customer Loyalty

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Her company specializes in digital customer acquisition, retention and conquest services. The conversation cannot stop once the sale is made.. It is critical that companies focus on sending personal communications throughout the lifecycle of the customer. For example, the welcome message is a critical — it is one of the single most important communications businesses can send. Customers are five times more likely to engage with you in the first days than at any other point.

Using business rules, you can create relevant interactions by customizing the content for each customer. Companies that learn how to combine the power of the online world and their customer data to own the customer relationship have a much higher retention rate.

16 Customer Service Skills That Drive Every Business

Younger buyers are known for their skeptical and demanding attitude. Old-fashioned relationship building will never go out of style. Noah helps clients dramatically and rapidly increase sales, multiply profits, and maximize customer value. In the marketing world, retention is boring and optimization especially around acquiring new customers is sexy. The sales transaction is the start of the relationship, not the end. Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking industry.

Learn more about Shep and his work at www. When it comes to increasing customer retention, companies should first understand what customer retention really is:. Customer retention is a byproduct of customer service and experience. The root of retention and loyalty comes service, which actually starts at the top, with the leadership determining if they want a customer-focused culture. That culture is what drives the customer experience. The way leadership treats employees drives the customer experience. The way employees treat each other drives the customer experience. In short, what is happening on the inside of an organization is felt by the customers on the outside.

Too often, organizations will hyperlink to landing pages that then require you to fill out your billing and shipping information every time they purchase. The easier it is to pay or donate, the more people will do it. Organizations will capture a new revenue because the people who abandoned their shopping cart at that last step will actually be able to experience a frictionless, quick payment process.

Retain those impulse purchases! They are dropping out at that final step. Patrick Freuler is the Founder and CEO of Audicus , a tech startup that aims to make hearing aids far more affordable, accessible and cooler. Prior to Audicus, Patrick spent several years as a strategy consultant at McKinsey and as a healthcare investor at Bain Capital. He has two engineering degrees from MIT. For businesses who are trying to sell their product, it is important to make a customer feel like they care about them even after they purchase.

This will make all the difference in building a strong and lasting relationship with that customer. Building strong relationships is the most important driver when it comes to customer retention rates. If customers feel like they are just a sale, they will go somewhere else without a second thought. If they feel that they have built a relationship with a business, they are more likely to come back a second and third time.

On the business side, it is important to keep detailed notes about your customers. The worst thing you can do is lose a customer by not recognizing them as important. If you make customers feel important and spend time building relationships with them, you will have high retention rates over an extended amount of time.

Customer Loyalty

If you like your customers and your customer like you back, this also means that they are more likely to recommend your business to their friends. Getting customers to come back time and time again can be difficult, especially in a world of fierce competition and customer service stories being shared online. We live in a time where just providing a great product or service is usually not enough to keep them coming back. Here are a few ways companies can improve customer retention:. She helps Business Owners understand how to build a thriving business and enjoy their lives in the process.

You need to speak to your ideal clients in the language that they speak and treat them like a new friend you are interested in getting to know better. In Marketing communications speak to them directly using you. Welcome them by offering to share something of value a free download, first time buyers free shipping, a gift with purchase, etc. Make them feel appreciated right from the start.

Do whatever you can to let them know that you appreciate their business and that they, personally, are important to you. Thank them on their way in and their way out of your physical or virtual store. Do what you do to the best of you capabilities meaning offer your products or services with your signature style and…. Give them the option of being connected with in the way that works best for them. So, one of the first steps in delivering a peak customer experience is…. Another key step in delivering a peak customer experience is building empathy for the customers you serve.

It can truly shift the way you look at your business and spark fresh thinking that is rooted in empathy and an understanding of your customers. Yet, customer experience is something that has to be personally internalized. Brian Carter is a year digital marketing veteran and popular social media speaker with clients like NBC, Microsoft and PrideStaff who delivers practical takeaways, entertainment and motivation.

When it comes to the best way an organization can improve customer retention, the cliche would be: deliver great service. But more helpful is…. Do you have another upsell? How else can you help them? Develop more products and services and show them how they can go further. What are you getting out of this? How could you go even further? Marian J. Marian coaches leaders and teams to maximize their potential, and she offers concrete tools to try on and adapt, helps people become observers of their own leadership, and holds a safe space for growth.

Billions of dollars are lost yearly from poor listening, including in customer defection. When we work with organizations to embrace and practice becoming a listening culture, customers stay. Domenick Cilea is President and Founder of Springboard. Springboaerd has been handling high-level PR and marketing campaigns for all kinds of businesses since Every business has their own unique interaction with customers. Some have daily transactions, such as a coffee shop, while others connect on a monthly mobile phone service or annual basis accountant.

Within the cadence of interfacing with customers, there are opportunities to connect and offer a touch point.

1) Happy customers are a lot more likely to tell their friends

Marketing automation tools allow you to educate or inform customers or provide discounts towards other products and services. Developing a program that acknowledges customers during and after transactions as well as touches them on a regular basis enables organizations to stay in front of customers and remain top of mind.

How to create loyal customers

Too often, I work with clients that chase the tactics of their competition. Very few companies actually stop and listen to their customers, respond to what they want and go beyond what they expect. Companies can begin by putting into practice, a process of asking for feedback, asking customers for candid reviews and basing important decisions on customer feedback.

Communicating these insights back to customers gains trust and often involves social media and email marketing. When customers know an organization cares about them, values them and is improving because of them, they will return. Before they know it, the customer went to a competitor and companies are left wondering why. A happy customer leads to a loyal customer and every customer just wants to be heard. She has nearly 10 years of experience in the customer service field and is an expert in client relationships. There are many obvious aspects that factor into client retention.


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These examples are easy to do when everything is running smoothly. One area that is often overlooked when thinking about client retention is…. When a client is frustrated or upset, it is a great time to show your dedication towards working with them to remediate the situation. Use this time to consistently follow up with them; meet with them in person, provide detailed status updates as your company works through the problem, and listen to them as they voice their opinions.

Go above and beyond for them to show how much you value the relationship. Strategically use Customer Satisfaction Surveys. If a client leaves less than stellar feedback, schedule a meeting or with them or take them to lunch. Ask your customer for ways you can improve your relationship and work together on achieving those goals.

Once the situation is resolved, make sure you continue to regularly go above and beyond for your client. Be proactive in the type of service you provide to avoid difficult situations in the future. When you and your client make it through a difficult situation together, it will increase their trust in your company. Most importantly, reflect on the situation and work with your client to build a positive, productive working relationship which will lead to client retention. Maciej ma-chi Fita is the Managing Director of Brandignity , A Florida based internet marketing company offering web branding services including search engine optimization and social media marketing.

Too many business will make a sale only to never be heard of ever again. You need to collect customer data and stay in contact. Send along coupons to get them to come back, email company newsletters so they remember they purchased from you. Give them a reason to want to come back. Customers are looking for best practices, best prices, best return policies and ease of sales.

We have noticed that the eCatalogs, online purchases, and in-store sales are still very strong. For companies looking to improve customer retention, we recommend…. Adding several key business and customer retention policies in order to maintain marketshare, using the word-of-mouth marketing methodology and rewarding the customer for being a loyal customer to your business. Bettina Seidman is an experienced career management coach and consultant and in founded her own firm, SEIDBET Associates , offering customized career counseling, professional coaching, and outplacement consulting services to individuals and groups in corporate and nonprofit organizations.

Don is passionate about analytics and insights that lead to great products. He has held leadership roles in several subscription-based businesses, where he came to understand the importance of customer engagement and loyalty. He started Bluenose with the desire to help other vendors build great products and delight their customers. Irasema G. Jeffers is the Owner and Founder of Online Amiga , a company that provides website management services for local businesses.

Irasema founded Online Amiga to expand the reach her efforts to help small to medium-sized business owners compete successfully in the online world. As her passion and drive for helping other business owners continues to expand, Online Amiga was born to broaden her ability to reach small businesses and directly impact their levels of success. When it comes to the best ways an organization can improve customer retention, the simple and easy answer is to….

It is business , but organizations have a tenancy to think about customers as data and widgets in the technology age. Dave Wakeman is a leader in the consulting field, working with organizations to improve their performance and to stop wasting time and money on solutions that will never work. He has worked with international leaders in their category like American Express, Madison Square Garden, and Marriott to improve their business offerings and partners with organizations to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance.

Learn more about Dave and his work at Wakeman Consulting Group. I think there are really two key ways that businesses can retain their customers…. This is important. I recently spent time at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and the attention to detail was extraordinary. Compare this to the way that my reservation at Loews in Coronado was bungled and butchered. Both organizations had the same information, in fact I had been in contact with Loews much more readily in the weeks prior to my trip because it was for pleasure, and they bungled the relationship.

This second revolves around the first one, but I wanted to highlight it because its often overlooked…and that is be responsive. In my business, I try to follow up phone calls in 90 minutes or less during normal business hours and emails get a response in 24 hours. So by being attentive, I show that I care and that simple action makes repeats and referrals much more likely. Customer retention is all about building long lasting meaningful relationships with your customers — an easy skill to learn.

I always follow these steps when building a relationship:. Joy Montgomery is a Consultant with over 25 years of experience in helping businesses improve profits, production, and quality by helping improve processes, In her work, Joy helps develop, define and streamline business systems, procedures, and communication.

Learn more about about Joy and connect with her at www. Lisa D. Lisa helps businesses and nonprofit organizations be easier to do business with by proactively identifying and resolving issues that affect customer satisfaction and retention. Lisa has experience managing a variety of customer-focused programs in corporate, government, small business, and non-profit environments. Prioritize talking with frontline employees, salespeople, and support people about customer complaints they hear.

Also, review emails, letters and social media posts. Often, companies never dig deep into the root cause s of why issues are occurring. Try customer journey mapping with staff to understand the steps customers go through when interacting with your organization. It will help you identify operational and communication gaps to correct. If resources are limited a larger change, start with the smallest step that has the largest impact.

If time is an issue, do 30 minute mini-training sessions once a week on a specific issue. Companies hoping to retain customers must also act as a resource for their customers. At IHD we not only offer our clients market access to an inventory of potential investment ventures but also offer access to an array of free resources including educational material and network connections. We also offer a discounted listing service that allows our clients to save a substantial amount of money when they exit their investment homes. In addition to becoming a resource for their customers, companies seeking customer retention must also focus on customer experience.

At IHD we strive to provide a please buying experience. We avoid high pressure sales tactics and offer a hands free POS to close buying experience. Customer retention is a result offering your customers more than the tangible product your company sells. Be a resource for your customers and offer a unique and pleasant buying experience and your customers will return. Founded in , The Expert Institute is a technology-driven platform for connecting qualified experts in every field with lawyers, investment firms, and journalists looking for technical expertise and guidance.

The Expert Institute combines a vast database of pre-screened experts with a talented case management team capable of custom recruiting experts to fit the specific needs of our clients. By leveraging new technologies and techniques within the legal industry, The Expert Institute has become the fastest-growing expert referral service in the country. This is my advice to organizations who want to improve customer retention…. On the art side, you need to be able to create and foster a meaningful relationship with all of your customers individually in a B2B setting , putting in the required time and effort to go above and beyond what the customers expectations are.

Having consistent, useful communication with the customer is vital to establishing trust in your brand and guaranteeing continued business. Emily Lyons is the Founder of Femme Fatale Media , a nationwide event staffing agency working with some of the worlds top brands and corporations. Organization in any small business is extremely important for success. We keep things organized through utilizing strict policy manuals and check lists that have been put in place over the years.

In his leadership role, Mr. The technology developed by Mr. Deo and his colleagues utilizes machine learning algorithms and rich data analytics to analyze consumer behavior in real time to perform predictive segmentation and adapt the advertising experiences to the audience across all screens — mobile, tablets, desktops, smart TVs, digital out of home and connected devices. Establishing an initial connection with the consumer is a critical to the success of any business.

But, customer interaction cannot stop there. It must be an ongoing process. Failing to identify or recognize the evolving needs or desires of the customer will likely result in a lost costumer, lost business. Transitioning from ads for maternity clothes to ads for baby toys.

If you are talking about B2B then the number 1 way to improve customer retention is by…. They all have different needs and wants. They are all working to different agendas. They are under different political pressures, both from inside and outside their organisations. Their organisations are in different parts of the life-cycle — honeymoon period, old friend etc. And the only way that they can truly understand the needs of their customers is to listen to them.

Center Consulting Group is a national consulting firm which provides strategic, expertise to help company leaders grow their organizations profitably. We specialize in five key areas of the organization, with a focus on creating and sustaining long-term profitability. If employees are trained to truly listen to the customer and give them what they want and or need, organizations would see a measurable improvement in their customer loyalty numbers. There are companies who actually limit the amount of time a customer service representative can spend with a customer, regardless is the problem has been resolved or not.

If organizations will spend a little more time training employees to provide an appropriate response and provide a resolution ladder, their customer retention will dramatically improve. A bad experience with a customer service representative is the top reason customers will chose another product or service from a competing company. Norman A. To design the proper contract, a business owner needs to first understand the triggers that cause customers to contact their business, based on these three distinct customer segments:.

Segment 1 — High value customers Segment 2 — New customers Segment 3 — Long-standing, loyal customers. To determine those triggers, the company owner and at least two employees who interact with customers, should describe their last five customer interactions and the reason the customer contacted the business.

Also determine why that reason was important, to dig down to the root cause that triggered the customer to interact with the company. Next, ask what would have prevented the customer from having to contact the business in the first place. This helps uncover the products and services that could be bundled into a preventative service contract.

Next, speak with a group of 3 to 5 customers and ask them to describe the reasons they contacted your the business. After determining the reasons customers interact with the business, as well as what would have prevented the interaction, categorize similar responses by circling them in the same color one color per theme. This will result in lateral thinking to find similarities and broader themes among responses. To finish the process, create a service offering that encompasses the majority of the reasons customers interact with the company. Or are they choosing to spend their money elsewhere?

Customer churn rate is the percentage of your customers or subscribers who cancel or don't renew their subscriptions during any given time period. The best way to calculate churn is to designate a time period and tally up the total number of customers you acquired and the number of customers who churned during that time period. Churn remains important as your company grows. For example, if you remove a feature, or change pricing and note a good deal of churn, it gives you lessons that you can use to shift your strategy moving forward. Customer retention rate is the percentage of customers that stay customers and continue to spend money with your company over a period of time.

It can be calculated as:. But, as you get larger, the customers that you keep indicate things that your company is doing right. For example, if you make a product change, or build something that people have been asking for, and see that your retention rate is higher, you can tell that you are moving in the right direction and should continue pushing forward.

Negative churn is the holy grail of customer loyalty metrics. Negative churn has a huge positive effect on the growth of your company - because instead of needing to replace lost revenue from your existing customers, every additional customer grows your revenue exponentially. To achieve a negative churn rate, businesses need to prevent customers from leaving and also create ways for their existing customers to spend more money with them.

This might be through plan upgrades, upsells or adding new users. While revenue shows an exact picture of how loyal your customers are, survey-based loyalty metrics can be a good leading indicator of what customers are planning to do.

1. Strengthen your customer service skills

Asking your customers how they feel about certain aspects of your product or service can provide insight into what makes your customers more or less loyal. Acting on these insights is what helps companies drive loyalty. Net Promoter Score is a metric designed to measure how customers feel about your company overall. Customers that respond 9 or 10 are considered promoters and are likely to stay loyal and advocate for your brand.

Customers that respond 6 or lower are considered detractors and are much more likely to churn in the near future. NPS surveys usually also include a follow-up question that asks customers why they gave the score they did. The qualitative insights from these questions are helpful in targeting customer experience improvements designed to improve NPS and customer loyalty. Customer Effort Score is a survey metric that asks customers how easy it was for them to get help or resolve their problem. In , the CEB discovered that high effort experiences were the leading cause of customer disloyalty.

They believe that companies that seek to make it easy to do business are more likely to have loyal customers. And it makes sense intuitively. We all know how it feels, as customers, to be put through a difficult and convoluted process to get a simple answer. Even if our question was answered, that frustration makes us less likely to remain customers in the future. Surveying customers using CES after an interaction can help companies highlight where they are making things more difficult for their customers, and where they can remove friction to improve customer loyalty.

CSAT is measured after a customer service interaction between your company and your customers. If the customer is happy with the resolution, they will rate you positively on a customer satisfaction survey. But that might not stop them from churning. While good customer service might not be enough to keep customers who are running into trouble around, bad customer service is surely enough to drive them away. Many customers agree that high-quality customer service is an important driver of customer loyalty.

Bad service drives customers away. Even though the customer service department might not be solely responsible for improving customer loyalty, the quality of service has a big impact on how customers feel about your company. There are a few things you can do to provide exceptional customer service that wins loyal customers, creating customers for life. Treating customers like they are actual people is simple in principle, but after eight hours of answering angry customer questions it can be hard to do consistently.

But if your team is able to connect with customers by being friendly and genuine, your customers will have a better experience and come back for more. Every time a customer writes into your customer service team they are providing information about their experience. Whether they are asking for a new feature, reporting a bug or simply unable to understand how the product works - this is valuable information that can help improve customer loyalty.

Customers want to feel heard and they want businesses to listen to their concerns.

2. Don’t ignore the complaints

Take the time to categorize incoming feedback, analyze what customers are asking for and deliver this information to the team that can action it. For example, if customers are consistently confused about a marketing promotion, send this data to your marketing team so they can make changes. When customers take the time to give feedback, respect their time and make sure to follow up.

Not only will the customer be pleased that your company listens to their needs - they are also much more likely to start using a new feature when they hear about it directly from you! Not all customers will write to customer service for help, but they will still have opinions about your product. Sending out feedback surveys will help collect insight from all customers. How do they feel about onboarding? Did the sales process feel smooth to them?

As we discussed earlier, customer effort is one of the leading causes of disloyalty. One of the most effective ways to prevent customers from churning is to anticipate any bumps in the road and smooth them out before customers encounter them.



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