Sustainability in the form of customer retention is integral for the growth of a company. When you have a large clientele and larger group of competitors vying for your market share, customer retention can be a challenge. Having a 100% customer retention rate might be farfetched, but trying to retain as many customers as possible is not. Consider the video rental giant Blockbuster that had to file for bankruptcy after its late fee policy plan fell through. It couldn’t adapt to the online technology pioneered by its rival Netflix Inc. that increased convenience in the video rental industry. Netflix subsequently attracted and built on Blockbuster’s customer base. The moral of the story is that the financial cost of unhappy customers could be a game changer for companies. The founder of Walmart, Sam Walton once said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”(Source)
According to White House Office of Consumer Affairs, “It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.” Companies need to treat customers well and solve their problems quickly if they want to retain customers. The Blockbuster case among many others illustrates the importance of customer satisfaction and retention. Below we have come up with a list of ways to mitigate these problems and help you retain customers.
Automate The Process Automation allows you to standardize the process and ensures quality service during each customer interaction. A Customer service representative tool that can provide access to information at just a few keystrokes will reduce the customer service representative response time to answer customer queries. That being said, companies need to follow the do’s and don’ts of customer service automation and make smart decisions while automating customer service.
Provide Predictive Service Anticipating problems before possible failures will reduce the chances of a disappointed customer by ensuring proper preparation to tackle problems. Maintaining a proper knowledgebase management system that documents customer interactions will allow companies to anticipate similar problems and avoid facing the same problem with other customers. Though there are limitations to predictive service, a proper knowledgebase management system in place will equip customer service representatives with all relevant information to tackle customer queries.
Solve Your Customers’ Problems Make sure you have tested your products or service and are well aware of the functions to create an adequate database with all known solutions to help customers. Additionally, customer service representatives need to patiently listen to customer queries so that all possible solutions are considered while addressing customers. This will help maintain the company’s brand image by keeping customers happy. During the service process, customer service representatives should empathize with the customer and make the customer feel that the company understands what the customer is going through.
If you don’t make an active effort to retain customers, it could be your loss and some another company’s gain. According to the Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey from 2013 66% of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences, which increased by 4% from 2012. Consider a complaining customer an opportunity because most others will not bother complaining and move on to your competitors. Like business training veteran Kate Zabriskie says “Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.” So make sure you have a proper customer service mechanism in place and retain your customers.