Customer Experience News & Trends

Why customers leave – and what you can do to keep them

Most customers are ready to switch from you to your competitors when something goes wrong. Are you prepared to do what it takes to keep them?

Almost half of customers say they’ve changed some sort of service provider in the last 12 months, an IBM and eConsultancy study found. Why the mass exodus?

  • About 30% of the customers said their provider failed them in one of many ways — but half of those agreed that a poor customer experience was the number one factor in their decision to leave.
  • Almost 60% of the customers who left said they got a better deal or offer from another company.

So even if you provide a decent customer experience, some customers will chase the better deal.

“The customer is in control, but this is not the threat many … perceive it to be. It’s an opportunity to engage and serve the customers’ needs like never before,” said Deepak Advani, general manager at IBM Commerce.

The companies that interact and engage with customers across several channels are becoming the best at building customer loyalty.

Here’s how three companies are leading the way in customer engagement and loyalty building:

Don’t just lead, be part of it

Costa Sunglasses uses its website as a conduit for customer interaction. There, in addition to all the information customers need on its products, the company shares videos of its adventures and passions.

It invites customers to share their adventures and insights, too. It also helps like-minded customers connect with associations and organizations. Then Costa can gather opinions that help it create new products and build stronger bonds with customers.

“There are a lot of folks out there who when they talk to consumers sometimes get a little too preachy,” says Al Perkinson, VP of marketing of Costa Sunglasses, who will present at the upcoming Engagement and Experience Expo in Dallas. “Our philosophy is to join the conversation and be part of the conversation, just like you would if you were in person.”

Make it seamless

For Sephora, the customer experience can’t get much more personal. Their front-line employees aren’t face-to-face with customers; they’re in their faces, helping customers apply the right makeup. That experience needs to be seamless online, too.

So as long as customers sign up and build profiles in Sephora’s loyalty program, their searches through the Sephora app and website can be saved in their profiles. That translates into personalized help in the store, where employees can help them find the right product.

The personal information also helps Sephora get the right email messages out to specific customers, citing what they want, not what a company needs them to want.

Use every channel

Customers still use every channel — from the phone, to newspaper ads, to real-time chat — to interact with companies. And you need a presence wherever they are, especially when there’s a problem.

Austin Energy is legendary (at least in its industry) for its connection to customers. For instance, it used direct mail, door hangers and newspapers when it was set to make changes. Installation personnel — those on the front line with customers — let the Billing department know about customers who might experience higher bills because of a glitch. Then Billing could reach out to those customers.

They use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share tips and information valuable to customers and, when necessary, get details about outages or other emergencies out to customers immediately.

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