Сustomer Retention: the Ultimate Guide

There is one generally acknowledged fact that retention of customers brings much more outcomes than customer acquisition. Additionally, it is way cheaper to make the current customer stay than to find, interest, and convince first-time customers - numerous studies prove this statement, so there is no sense in doubting it. But if customer acquisition is quite a clear tactic, where you use advertising, marketing, market positioning, and other tools to overplay competitors in the awareness stage of the customer journey, customer retention is much more complicated to implement.  What is customer retention meaning, actually? And who is responsible for customer retention? Is there something like a universal customer retention department? In short, yes, there is. As customer retention depends totally on post-purchasing service, we can go further and state that customer retention is the direct responsibility of your customer service team. In other words, the main unit that is responsible for a high customer retention rate is your contact center and its goal is to make customers happy.   Does a customer have a question about how to set up or properly use the product? He contacts the call center. Are there some customer issues with a product and clients need someone to resolve them? He comes to the call center. Does the customer want to get the newest information about some additional offerings? He calls the call center.  This is the simplest example of how the call center builds customer retention by providing customer service and establishing customer loyalty and warm relationships with the brand. And by operating the wise call center customer retention strategies, you will get massive benefits and advantages of customer retention which we are going to describe below.  Therefore, let’s start.

In this article you will find:

What does call center customer retention mean?

Why is call center customer retention so crucial?

Best call center customer retention improvement strategies

Conclusion


What does call center customer retention mean? 

Call center customer retention is the business’s capability to keep loyal customers and drive them to make additional conversions with the brand. Thus, customer retention is the call center’s key purpose and goal, and retention and customer service directly depend on each other. 

Call center customer retention also depends on customer satisfaction and loyalty and is established by providing first-class customer service and assistance. Consequently, call center retention strategies are based on improving customer service quality and determining customer expectations and needs. 

Another important question is what is the relationship between customer retention and CLV(customer lifetime value)? Well, the first and the most obvious fact is that a higher customer retention rate increases the CLV rate - loyal and happy customers stay with you longer and spend more, that’s all. 

It also works diametrically opposite - if you use some CLV improvement strategies, like offering more personalized service for VIPs and so on, you also influence their retention rate, because people who get special service are more likely to retain for a longer period. 

But now let’s come back to the theory - what is the call center customer retention rate formula? Fortunately, it’s easy. You just need to select the time frame for measuring the CRR rate - let’s imagine it’s half of a year. So, here we go:

CRR = ((X-Y)/Z) x 100

What are the abbreviations? X is how many customers you have at the end of the period, Z is the number of customers you had at the beginning of the time period, and Y is the number of acquired customers. So, if you have had 200 customers at the start, then you have 230 customers at the end of the path, and 40 customers have been acquired during the time frame. Consequently, we have:

((230-40)/200) x 100 = 95% of the customer service retention rate

Why is call center customer retention so crucial? 

As we have already stated, a high call center customer retention rate guarantees you higher customer lifetime value rates. Additionally, you save operating costs because customer acquisition is a few times more expensive than call center customer retention efforts. 

In this way, you also boost customer satisfaction rate and overall customer experience by focusing on improving call center customer retention. Another important fact is that call center customer retention is a fundamental part of brand advocacy because only loyal customers are ready to become brand ambassadors. 

As you could guess, customer loyalty is also increased by improving call center customer retention. The indirect influence of call center retention strategies is on decreasing customer effort score, increasing First Call Resolution rate, and other call center metrics concerning customer service and its quality and speed. 

In general, if you focus on establishing call center customer retention, you boost all customer service metrics at the same time. And what can be better than killing two birds with one stone?

Best call center customer retention improvement strategies

It is great to read how beneficial and advantageous establishing customer retention by a call center is, or how call center retention strategies can boost your business outcomes and improve various aspects of your customer service, but how to achieve these unbelievable impacts? First of all, you require call center retention tips and some useful customer retention ideas. 

To ease the task for you, we have decided to describe all possible ways for improving your customer retention in a call center. 

Decrease Customer Effort Score

The main thing that customers expect from you is time-saving and effective service that wouldn’t require effort to be got. Suppose it is effortful to get needed assistance, and customers know that each time they have to contact the support team can become something between challenge and torture. In that case, they can easily think of changing the service provider to one that offers effortless support.

Customers want to stay comfortable during their customer journey, and your goal is to make your service as accessible and effortless as possible. Thus, offer all available communication channels that are loved by the target audience. Implement an omnichannel approach to let customers switch between the digital channels, and use intelligent routing services to link callers to relevant specialists from the first touch. 

Listen to customer feedback

The main source of information about customer expectations and wishes is customer feedback, both positive and negative. Almost all businesses have some feedback collection tools, but the truth is that not all companies use feedback in a proper way. Some collect it just to show their “awareness” of customer opinion, but finally, don’t do anything with it.

Vice versa, you have to analyze what customers say in surveys and polls. Most people are ready to say their expectations in a direct way - so, if you hear numerous clients saying that they want you to offer chatbot service, go and implement it. 

Another vital factor is that you can’t collect feedback in just one digital channel - offer different feedback providing opportunities across channels to get complete, trustful, and detailed data. 

Always follow up after each survey to thank customers for the time and effort they have spent on the feedback provided. This will not only help you gather needed data but build trustful and warm relationships with customers. 

Find a personal approach to every situation

Even companies with perfect customer retention call center strategies still face customer churn - and it’s normal. What really matters is how successful enterprises understand each customer and their decision to stop their customer interaction with your business. 

The moment when a client says he’s no more interested in your product or service isn’t the point of no return. Actually, this phase of your customer-brand relations is still an open window of opportunities to make these relations closer and warmer. Even angry customers may change their mood and decision if your team does all that is required from it.

Always find the root cause of each occasion of customer churn rate. The reason may lie in pricing policy - then offer a personal discount, propose another offering that meets the budget, or look for some other solutions for the case. If the product can no more fit the customer’s needs, offer an updated one instead of an older version. If the customer has faced poor customer service and gets frustrated because of that, do everything to overcome the customer’s negative experience. 

Say “thank you”

Doesn’t it sound too easy to be true? But it is - people appreciate even such a little example of your care and awareness of their opinion and feelings. It’s not about etiquette - it’s about how you treat customers. 

Thank customers as often as possible - after conversion, during each interaction, in every advertisement email. Being polite may look too obvious and uninfluential, but this factor really matters. People are tired of careless businesses that think of outcomes and money only. 

Say the words thank you even if the client leaves you, and you know that he’ll not be back. By saying these easy words, you show respect, and to be honest, respect is a thing that is really rare across the market.

Do exit polls

Even though we have already mentioned feedback collection, this trick is a kind of another type of data gathering. Some people consider exit surveys as something outdated and related to employee-employer relations, but this is a false opinion.

As you know that there are no eternal customers, they will leave and they will do it quite regularly. Make the last contact between you and a customer useful and pleasant for you both. 

By conducting an exit interview, you show the client how much he has valued you and how client-oriented you are. Such an approach shows that the customer hasn’t been just another wallet, but a real person with individual needs who has been respected and important to you. On the other hand, you can get a lot of data from such a conversation - and that can be data you haven’t got before. Some people are ready to call a spade a spade only when nothing holds them, and the exit survey is a perfectly fitting moment for that. 

Follow-up

Follow-up after each conversion customer performs, and even more often. What do we mean by this recommendation? 

Actually, use all opportunities to get in touch with a client and show your care. Have clients been searching for something on your website? Send them related materials. Do clients have an anniversary? Greet them. Maybe it is one year since the customer has made a subscription? Send more congratulations!

The same thing works with customer service - even when you know that the client has called the support unit, got the assistance and his problem is no more, follow up with an email to make sure that everything is okay. But don’t do it too robotic - make every touch sound personalized and individualized. 

Train agents to understand customers’ moods

People who are dissatisfied or are just falling into this mood are not that difficult to be identified. The problem lies in the fact that most contact center agents aren’t trained enough or feel a lack of specific soft skills to detect such occurrences and change the tactic. 

Almost all customers can easily say that they are disappointed by the service or they don’t like the vector where the situation is going. The key to success is to detect these situations before the client burns and says it on his own.

Agents have to know how to act in advance - for instance, if the client is angry because it is his second call regarding the same problem, the agent can get it and say sorry for the previous time and guarantee the resolution will be found here and now. 

Speak easier

Another big problem that people face when they come up with customer complaints or questions is a misunderstanding with the staff. For sample, when you sell high-tech products, like software or technologies, and your agents use specific or internal terminology, people think that you try to point to their incompetence.

Such a situation is considered disrespectful and untactful, so people will be more likely to avoid your company. Thus, you have to train your agents to adapt to customer communication style and vibe, so they can feel comfortable and free to talk as they want to. 

Be emphatic 

People love cheerful interlocutors, and your goal is to become one of them. Agents have to sound like happy and satisfied people, not like other boring and exhausted salesmen. Put yourself in clients’ shoes - how would you feel while talking with an agent who sounds like the only thing he wants to do is never talk on the phone? 

Train agents to start small talks - about weather, pets, kids, cars, etc. The conversation is a part of customer service even without taking into account its content. If the customer enjoys the talk itself, he’ll be already satisfied with the service. Why? Ask yourself, are there many people to have an enjoyable conversation with? The answer is clear.

Design a loyalty system for clients

Yes, the old-but-gold marketing trick can easily boost customer retention, if a call center is engaged in this process. The goal is easy and understandable - to motivate customers to spend more to get additional rewards.

A loyalty system can be based on various principles: cashback points for purchases, special discounts, VIP personal support agents, merch, and so on. Customers will see the benefits of their loyalty to the brand and stay with you longer. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are numerous tactics for boosting customer retention and loyalty: from loyalty programs to follow-ups. We haven’t even mentioned other tactics, such as self-service tools, agent reward systems, proactive customer service, customer needs anticipation, wise outbound campaigns, active listening, knowledge management systems, and so on. The goal is to choose tactics that suit your business the most and focus on the highest possible retention rates. 

The formula of success is easier than anything: if you want to achieve high customer retention, customer calls with requests have to be handled faster, better, and effortlessly, and your service has to be personalized, individualized, adaptive, and focused on customer satisfaction. Such techniques as loyalty programs and reward systems are your strongest assistants in reaching your expected customer retention goals. Nonetheless, the main factor that influences customer retention is service quality and qualitative service is impossible without the right software solutions. 

Interested in ultimate call center software for reaching the highest customer satisfaction rates?

Contact us to discuss your needs and see Voiptime Contact Center in action!

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