Loyal customers are a brand’s best ambassadors. They make repeat purchases, refer your business to others, and write positive reviews of your product or service online. While product quality and convenience matter considerably, a 2017 Blackhawk Network survey found that 94% of respondents cited consistently good customer experience as a key reason to stay loyal to a brand. Consequently, it’s critical for businesses to provide timely support and ensure pleasant interactions (even during issue resolution) to foster loyalty among customers.
While attractive discounts, free giveaways, and product previews or extended trials are some of the commonly used strategies to cultivate a customer following, availability and transparency are more authentic ways to build long-term relationships. The calibre of service extended, in-person, online, or over call, has the capacity to influence a customer’s perception of the brand.
Customer support agents play a direct role in reaffirming brand values in the mind of consumers. A well-prepared and helpful call center agent can improve a customer’s experience with a business, even if they’re calling to register a complaint about a product or service. Additionally, experience with phone support isn’t restricted to when the customer is in direct conversation with the agent. It includes the time spent reaching the agent and engaging in any post-call follow-ups as well. We’ve listed 3 simple guidelines you can give your call center employees for them to do their part to keep your customers loyal.
A common customer complaint is that a different agent handles their calls each time and lacks knowledge about their past requests. Encourage your agents to review previous tickets raised by the customer and call recordings (if available) of prior conversations. On a system like Freshcaller, agents can even leave notes for the next agent who interacts with a particular customer. Context will help agents resolve issues more quickly. If the customer has called multiple times for a recurring or unresolved issue, ask your agents to acknowledge their concern and apologize for wasting their time. An empathetic statement such as “Janet, I can see that you’ve written to us three times and called once about this payment. May I place you on hold while I check why it hasn’t cleared?” will be better received than “Hi Janet, can you tell me what you discussed with my colleague in your previous call?”
Treat your customer service agents as an extension of your sales team. Their role isn’t to only solve problems that pertain directly to their area of responsibility. Instead, their focus should be on making the customer’s experience as effortless as possible. For example, let’s assume that you have e-commerce business with an IVR for shipping & delivery queries on line 1 and billing inquiries on line 2. If a customer speaks to an agent in the shipping team first and then has a query on billing, empower the agent to transfer a call to the billing team (another queue or an external number) directly. This way, the customer doesn’t have to terminate the call and dial another number. Even if the customer has two unrelated queries, they’re both queries that pertain to your business and need to be treated similarly. Internal SOPs and differentiation of labor shouldn’t interfere with a customer’s brand experience.
As much as possible, equip your agents with the knowledge to resolve queries within the first call itself. First Call Resolution (FCR) is important because it gives customers a sense of closure- they no longer have to follow up or wait for an agent to carry out their request. Research by the SQM group showed that on average, customer satisfaction drops 15% each time a customer has to dial back about the same issue. Organize your call center processes to increase quick resolutions. For example, enable call barging to step in and solve issues that are too complex for your first tier of support agents. Or, consider activating Smart Escalations (special rules that redirect calls when all agents are unavailable so that important calls aren’t missed and attended to late).
Loyal relationships with customers lead to recurring revenue and lower costs associated with new customer acquisition. Research by Bain & Company shows that a mere 5% increase in customer retention leads to a more than 25% increase in profits. As customers increasingly have the option of switching to a competitor or new entrant, service quality can differentiate your offering and secure their loyalty. By tailoring your contact center’s service philosophy to maximize customer ease, you can keep your existing customers happy and ensure that they return to your business year after year.
If you have queries about IVR structure, call notes, smart escalations (or any other feature described in this article), please write in to email@example.com. We’re happy to enable these features for you or create a structure that works for your business.