9 ways Contact Centres can help retain customers!

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Guest post by Stewart White

This is the first of a three part posting that discusses ways call centres can help your business retain customers.

These days many of my clients (and in fact businesses in general) are aware of the relevance and benefits of retaining their current customers. After all it costs 5 to 6 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one!

However many businesses do not understand the impact that the Call Centre can have on ensuring that this strategic objective is realised.  When I talk to clients about their customer attrition problems I ask them if they are “making every call count”?

Most of them take a few moments to ponder the question and then nine times out of ten they respond by advising that they think they do, but are not entirely sure!

My investigations always offer up further opportunities for best practice success at ensuring that every contact with the customer through the Contact Centre is really helping to retain their current customers.

So here are 9 hot tips that you can instigate in your Call Centres ‘Business as Usual’ activities to help retain your current customers and ultimately increase your ROI values!

1. Really listen to the customer

How many times have you dealt with a Contact Centre where the customer service repetitive (CSR) has not really listened to your conversation or has interjected whist you have been talking?

From my perspective it happens all too often and is really an unpleasant experience.

Many Contact Centres have strong KPI targets set around average call lengths, which in turn can lead to the CSR’s rushing through calls and not taking the time out to really listen and understand the customers’ needs.

Occasions where the CSR is not really understanding the problem can be easily resolved by the proven process of the CSR repeating the callers concerns/issue or questions as part of the usual interaction.

This is called active listening and is the old story of getting your CSR’s to slow down, listen, repeat, confirm and respond!

Of course the other golden rules is to always train and encourage your CSR’s to never talk over a caller whilst they are dealing  with them!

2. Speaking the customers language

I worked with a FMCG company awhile back that sold and serviced highly technical products.  Over a period of time they noticed an increase in their customer attrition. They engaged Genroe to help them discover why their customers were leaving, and to implement initiatives to reduce these occurrences.

As part of the gap analysis it was discovered that the Contact Centre CSR’s were doing the customers an injustice when selling products and servicing their needs, which was driving customer attrition.

The injustice was in terms of bamboozling the customers with too much technical information, and in-house terminology. This meant the customers became confused and embarrassed during the call because they did not really understand what the CSR’s were talking about.

The golden rule in these cases is to make sure your CSR’s are talking to your customers in their own terms (unless dealing with a technically capable person) so that the customer  becomes empowered and understands what is being talked about.

The Company acknowledged this issue and agreed to implement our suggested initiative of “talking in real terms”.

Once in place the Company realised a direct decrease of 1.5% in customer attrition from this initiative alone, a winning formula in anyone’s books!

3. Offering products/services/information  that the customer wants

Here is a classic example I had the other day dealing with an accommodation provider.

I had shot off a “request information” email to a company asking if they could come back to me and advise the cost and availability of a one bedroom unit  &  a one bedroom + study unit for an intended stay.

I was very impressed when I received a return email in a matter of minutes (as I had emailed them outside of usual business hours) but was pretty disappointed when I opened it up and read the content.

They responded and advised the price of a two bedroom unit and did not even include availability information.  Needless to say I went elsewhere for my needs.

This scenario is replicated by many companies .  Often the marriage between what the customer needs, wants or could be interested in are mismatched and results in no transaction or total loss of the sale.

Getting the fundamentals right in terms of matching the customer’s requirements ensures reduced customer attrition.

Next time we’ll talk about servicing you customers beyond expectations and acknowledging that the customer is not happy.

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