Customer Retention: Five Ways to Woo ‘Em Back
It takes only one negative event to lose a customer, says Bob Thompson, founder of CRMGuru.com. In fact, a CRMGuru.com study found that 83 percent of respondents said they stopped using a company’s products or services of a company based on one unpleasant experience.
Following are five strategies you can employ to retain the right customers for your business and win back those who are about to defect. They were offered in Thompson’s new white paper, “The Loyalty Connection: Secrets to Customer Retention and Increased Profits,” published by RightNow Technologies.
1. Identify potential defectors. Monitor customer activity, and pinpoint those who have become infrequent shoppers.
2. Get a conversation going. Use various communications vehicles to keep in contact: phone, e-mail, direct mail/catalogs, whatever works. Omaha Steaks does this, periodically calling new customers just to say: “Thanks for your order. Please let us know how we can serve you in the future.”
3. Listen to your front-line staff. In his white paper, Thompson quotes David Rance, managing director of U.K.-based Round, a company that helps business improve their customer-centricity and lower operating costs. “Customer service is the organizational drip-tray into which fall all the inconsistencies, contradictions, errors, omissions and downright stupid things that companies do to their customers,” said Rance. Thompson agrees, adding: “Service people are the first ones to hear what bothers customers.”
4. Treat gold customers like gold. Try surveying customers to see what they like about your company, branding message, products and services vs. those of your competitors. “If the survey shows that the customer is merely moving from transaction to transaction, the customer’s level of commitment is low, and the odds of defection are high,” writes Thompson. (For more tips on how to identify and treat valuable customers, see “How to Hook and Keep Gold Customers,” January issue of Catalog Success magazine.)
5. Try a little empathy. Your customer service reps (CSRs) should be trained to take care of customers’ problems quickly and efficiently, and they must be skillful enough to allow an angry customer to blow off steam, without arguing or interrupting. CSRs should just listen for a while, then apologize for the problems and ask how the company can make the situation better for the customer.
For a free copy of “The Loyalty Connection” white paper, visit: http://www.crmguru.com