The best customers you can find are the ones you already have. Customer retention should be a top priority in your company. According to Forrest Research it costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. Unfortunately, many companies fail to make customer retention a priority. Satisfied customers not only increase sales through repeat business, but also help to expand the customer base through referrals.
Improving your customer retention plan should start in your contact center. Research done by Accenture in 2013 showed that the number one reason for switching companies was frustration with having to contact a company multiple times for the same problem. This issue was closely followed by long hold times and having to repeat information multiple times to different employees. Each of these issues that caused customers to go elsewhere can be solved by improving performance in your contact center.
Empowering employees at your contact center can help solve these issues and improve customer retention. But what steps should be taken to empower employees? Some of the most important steps include:
- Customer service training – Ensure each employee knows the right way to handle customers.
- Quality service monitoring – Hold employees accountable for their customer service skills.
- Updating equipment and software – Give employees the tools they need to perform their jobs quickly and efficiently.
- Authorizing employees to make decisions – Don’t put customers through a long chain of command to fix their problems.
- Cross-training of employees – Train employees to handle a variety of tasks and avoid the “not my department” problem that has customers passing through many different employees.
The contact center of your business is one of the faces that the public “sees” most often. Ensuring that your contact center is providing your customers the best service possible, from being informed to solving problems, is critical to building loyalty to your company. In an age where it is easier than ever to find alternative businesses, customer retention is crucial and customer service is key. With 80 percent of your future profits coming from 20 percent of your existing customers, according to Gartner Group research, it pays to focus on retention.