Customer retention strategies starts with good customer service

Every thriving business can boast a continuous influx of new customers, but repeat customers are likely a company’s bread and butter.

Repeat customers provide steady income at a greater ROI than new customers. That’s because the work required to entice an individual to make a change, take a risk, and try something different is significant. On the other hand, the work required to keep a customer content is significantly less, because once the decision is made, customers are disinclined to revisit that decision until motivated by a serious outside push.

Customer retention has also proved to be less expensive. One study found that the average company spends 78% of its marketing budget on acquiring new customers and only 2% on customer relations. However, 41% of its revenue comes from existing customers!

Avoiding the Push and Pull

To repeat, existing customers tend to want to stay put until pulled or pushed by outside forces such as:

  • Another enticing offer
  • Inconsistent or poor product quality
  • Unfavorable pricing
  • Poor customer service

You might think that good customer service is an effective counterpoint to that last bulleted item only. Not true. A good CSR can work with clients who are unhappy for whatever reason; making the case for the company’s unique value proposition and reminding the customer of all the reasons it makes sense for that customer to remain loyal.

That’s why your customer retention strategy has to start with good customer service.

Good Customer Service Defined

What is good customer service anyway? Well, for certain it consists of more than a smile and a script. Smiles and scripts can be helpful, but neither can resolve a customer’s problem. And at its core, good customer service is about resolving customer problems with as much courtesy, expediency, and efficiency as is humanly possible.

A CSR who fixes the problem, but with a nasty attitude, will annoy customers even as they grudgingly accept the help. A CSR who fails to fix the problem while expressing an indifferent chirpiness will be perceived as adding insult to injury.

Here are a few things you can do to empower your CSRs to provide top notch service that’ll keep your existing customers happy and grounded right where they are.

Empower Your CSRs to Help Your Customers. Narrow policies that box your CSRs into lose-lose scenarios frustrate your customers and your employees. Instead, give your CSRs room to resolve issues creatively without compromising company values or customer relationships.

Provide Lots of Ongoing Training. The best CSRs have a great way with people and a great deal of knowledge about their company’s products, policies, and practices. Acquiring and maintaining these qualifications requires an unwavering commitment to employee development from employees and employer alike.

Focus on Innate Strengths. Hiring right is one of the best ways you can facilitate your CSRs’ success. Why? Because placing people with the right talent in the right position is the first and arguably best step to ensuring employee success. The Omnia Customer Service Report can help you identify the general traits gifted CSRs boast while testing whether a particular candidate possesses those traits. Taking strengths for granted while focusing on fixing “weaknesses” may be a time-honored corporate tradition, but that doesn’t mean it’s especially effective.

Keep the Airwaves Open. Employees “in the trenches” generally are in the best position to know what’s working and what isn’t. Because your CSRs speak with existing customers day in and day out they’re privy to all kinds of information that could enhance your company’s offerings. Be open to hearing what they’ve learned.

We’ll say it again: good customer service is key to your customer retention strategy. Take that philosophy to heart and enjoy increased ROI across the board.

 

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Freelance Writer, Editor, and HR Consultant in Philly. You can find more of Crystal's work at: www.crystalspraggins.blogspot.com
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