Customer loyalty is a huge win for all businesses and should be the ultimate priority. Why? For one, take it as a compliment. It shows you’re running the business the right way. In addition, it is far less expensive than bringing in new customers, considering the marketing costs for customer acquisition. Plus, your dedicated customers will sing your praises and be your biggest advocates.
So, how exactly do you get customers to be your #1 fan? It’s all about building relationships, starting with your call center.
A lot of the magic of relationship building happens within the call center, whether its agents speaking directly to customers, resolving issues or answering questions through online media channels. According to Forrester Research, 64% of customer interaction happens before and after the actual sale.
Therefore, you need to make a great first impression that will take them through a lasting memorable experience and will bring them back time and time again.
Here are three secrets to building customer loyalty and creating an extraordinary customer experience that will lead to a fulfilling and beneficial relationship for both the company and its consumers.
Hire for smiles
Consider basing your hiring criteria on other factors other than an agent’s resumé. Take into consideration a magnetic personality versus a just a proficient profile. What can change a customer experience from mediocre to amazing? It’s not so much dependent on the information the agent knows but more about the manner in which the service is given. It’s in the tone of voice, confidence of ability and eagerness to help.
Take Apple for example, one of the most profitable stores in the world. They credit their success not to their products but to their outstanding customer service that keeps people coming back. Carmine Gallo, author of The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty, probed into Apple’s hiring process. Employees are hired based on 90% passion and 10% technical abilities. “You can’t teach friendly,” Gallo says. Your agents can be trained to operate your company’s CRM software. However, when serving a dissatisfied customer, friendliness and patience should come naturally.
Another question to consider: “do they have grits?”. In other words, do they have the confidence to work under pressure. Customer service agents often deal with complex issues and occasionally emotional customers. It can be challenging to set aside personal feelings and still be engaged to deliver a great customer experience, despite the negatives. Agents who have a natural passion for wanting to make a change for the better are more likely to be the ones who will go above and beyond to find effective solutions.
Empathy and consistency
Consistency in quality customer service will create trust and build your company’s reputation for dependability. Customers will most likely return for your services if they feel comfortable and secure, knowing they’ll be taken care of each and every time. This will lay the foundation towards a budding relationship of customer loyalty.
To be successful in providing consistent service, training your staff well is essential in establishing your vision of the ultimate customer experience. All service agents need to be trained depending on their skills and area of expertise to create a standard level of quality and uphold consistency, no matter which service expert the customer works with.
Start communication off with a warm personalized greeting. Call agents may feel the initial greeting with a customer is insignificant; however, it can set the tone to how a customer will evaluate their experience with them. Greeting customers with sincerity will convey the message that you value their time and you truly appreciate them choosing your service.
Sending out a big warm hello can also be done on social media channels and actually may be one of the biggest missed opportunities to spark new relationships. Here’s an example. 70% of companies ignore customer complaints on Twitter. Also on Twitter, 83% of consumers say they love getting a reply from companies.
Take advantage and have service agents be the first to approach customers to let them know they are eager to help, for the good and the bad. Consumers will really take notice and appreciate a proactive approach.
Offer incentives and make the first move
It’s a fact that people love perks! Reward your returning customers with frequent buyer discounts. If you provide a service, a referral rewards program would still benefit your customers while gaining new business. Customers will be happy to hear from agents to learn of the rewards they have accrued. It’s also an opportunity to inform them of new products and services.
Be creative as there are an endless number of ways to show customers your appreciation. Display a promotional image and ask customers to ‘caption this’. Offer a prize for the video with the most votes saying why they love your company. The more invested you become with your customers, the more excited they become and feel naturally inclined to promote your business.
Whether a customer makes a purchase or not, the right tools and technology should be in place within the call center for agents to be proactive when it comes to reaching out to customer.
Let’s say a customer wasn’t able to make a purchase or use the service, agents should always send them off with an invitation to return.
Or for example, many shoppers will often add items to their virtual cart but never finish the transaction. Abandoned cart emails can be sent to remind customers what they have left behind and by the way, it’s on sale too!
Perhaps a person thinks a product is too complex and changes their mind even after speaking with an agent. The agent can then follow up by offering an in-store demo (if available) or sending a link of a ‘how-to’ tutorial. Customers will return to where they feel most valued and wanted.
Whether your call center agents are making sales or troubleshooting, the fundamental goal is to ensure the customer is smiling at the end of their experience. There is a direct correlation between how customers feel about the service and how likely they are to recommend your business to others.
According to Invesp marketing firm, 60-70% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. Not to mention, it costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied. Save your money and let your loyal customers do the promoting!
If your call center agents can provide effective solutions and consistent service, your company will continue to reap the benefits of customer loyalty over the long term.
Looking to build customer loyalty within your company? What have you implemented within your customer service support?