Customer Experience News & Trends

4 ways to curb the high cost of customer turnover

When customers are unhappy and decide to leave, the loss of loyalty can be painful. But did you know it’s this bad?

As much as $1.6 trillion is lost by companies that disappoint customers with poor experiences. It’s a nearly 30% increase in the money up for grabs as customers switch companies over the last five years, according to Accenture’s 10th Annual Global Consumer Pulse Research.

On the flip side, that same amount of income can be grabbed by companies that promise and deliver on an outstanding customer experience.

“Companies have been focused on only ‘doing the same thing better,'” said Robert Wollan, senior managing director at Accenture Strategy. But “these issues really require them to ‘do things differently.'”

How can the experience be done “differently” so customers remain loyal? These research-proven and practiced ideas can help:

1. Pay close attention to detail

Something as simple as misspelling or mispronouncing a customer’s name can have a significant impact on his or her satisfaction. It can start any experience on the wrong foot, researchers at King’s College in London found.

The point is: It’s often little irritations that deteriorate customer loyalty, not just one major mishap. Attention to detail — proper grammar and spelling, customer preferences, in-store and online appearance — makes a difference. Ask customers if you have the little things right, update their accounts to show new nuances and make swift changes to the details they say aren’t in place.

2. Align

Good in-person or phone experiences can be marred by poor online experiences, a poll by the Institute of Customer Service found. Customers remember — and resent — one bad experience forever.

That’s why training, and checks and balances are vital. Information that’s online must match what’s said. Service pros who handle various channels must be giving the same responses, regardless of how they communicate with customers. Finally, leaders need to regularly review each channel to make sure the same information is being conveyed across all of them.

3. Match customers with employees

A Genesys study found that customers’ top request for service improvements was to make the person-to-person experience better. They wanted to deal with competent, friendly people more often and more freely.

Many companies have found that allowing customers to work with a single point of contact boosted retention. Outside of an emergency, customers prefer to deal with the same person, who likely knows and understands their professional and personal history.

You might want to divide service reps geographically, by expertise or industry so they can work with a core group of customers and build loyalty.

4. Step in when it counts

Customer loyalty is built on relationships, not transactions. That’s why many companies do more things to build relationships than to build sales. When they act in their customers’ best interests, admiration and loyalty follow.

For instance, when OnStar recognized that a portion of its customers faced difficult times, rather than have customer service reps follow the same procedure, it told them to throw it out the window. When reps heard from customers who faced tough times, they were told to give them several month’s worth of service for free. It was a move that created goodwill and long-lasting loyalty.

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