Any business owner will tell you that holding on to existing customers is one of the cornerstones of their organization. While you should always strive to find new customers, keeping them coming back is just as important.
At 3C Contact Services, the leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, we offer our partners the following customer retention strategies:
- Know Your Customer: Having a long-term customer can be a lot like a marriage; you get to know their likes and dislikes. 3C tells its partners that they should start to build a rapport with their customers from the moment they make their first phone call. Finding a commonality will give you a definite advantage when it comes to retaining clients.
- Know Your Competition: If you don’t want to lose your customers to your competition, look at your competitors’ promotional offers and try to match or exceed them. And by extension, look at why your customers might consider leaving you for the competition and see if you can come up with a compromise that will keep your customers from walking.
- Ask Probing Questions: You want to be sure that your customers are satisfied with the level of service they are receiving. That’s why asking probing questions may uncover issues that you may not have been aware of about everything from service levels to product satisfaction. 3C recommends phrasing the questions so they don’t sound too obtrusive; try to keep it casual. We will provide you with the best methods for this.
- Fix the Problem: If a customer asks for a refund, aim to resolve the issue while it is still outstanding. Take care of the issue first, and then see if the customer still wants a refund.
- Match the Product or Make a Switch: The product a customer purchased may not be what they were looking for. If they’re looking to make a return, ask questions to find out if there is another product that better matches their needs. Your workers should familiarize themselves with your product line so they know about all the alternatives.
- Follow Through on Promises: If you promised to call a customer back or send them an e-mail, always follow through with this in a timely manner. By doing so, you are sending a clear message: “You can trust our business.”
Some of the other tips 3C gives to its partners for customer retention is to have a strong set of values. According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board, 64% of consumers said they have a strong relationship with a specific brand because they share the same values.
Despite what people may say about not liking labels, when it comes to encouraging customer loyalty, labelling them can actually be beneficial. If you give your loyal customers positive labels such as “Best Member” or “Gold Member,” or even give their payment plan the same label, this sounds much better than “Paid Member” and makes the customer feel like they’re amongst the elite of your clients.
Ciotti, G., “15 Customer Retention Strategies That Work,” Help Scout web site, https://www.helpscout.net/blog/customer-retention-strategies-that-work/, last accessed February 21, 2014.