Customer retention for a brand like Heineken may seem easy. Yet, a massive beverage-serving network includes many partnerships with bars, restaurants, and more. So, B2B customer support is key to Heineken’s growth.
During the podcast interview, Stephan Visser provided insight into their customer retention strategy. Beer giants wanted to improve relationships with B2B customers.
So, they took feedback from every business.
Whether a bar or a restaurant rates Heineken 0 or 1, Visser’s team will contact them for responses.
These responses helped them plan customer support better and improve retention. Why keep your B2B customers? Because 67% of returning customers spend more than new customers. So, retaining your customers make more sense.
Like Heineken, focusing on customer support helps businesses keep customers. We will discuss the best ways to improve customer support and retain customers. But first, let’s understand the importance of customer support on retention.
How Does Customer Support Impacts Retention?
What are the most important metrics to measure success for any business?
Is it revenue, net profits, or total conversions?
The real metric you need to measure for business success is “value!” Your customers choose products and services which solve their problems. Although the term value can be subjective, its relation with the customer experience is undeniable.
According to Csaba Toth from ICQ Global from Forbes, “Value” is subjective; it goes way beyond price. It is about making your clients feel more valued and understood than the competition.”
One way to ensure customers feel valued is to provide support for every query. Good customer support is like a fixed deposit account. It pays high returns and enables association for a long time.
Customer support allows B2B businesses to establish authority by resolving niche-specific problems. Take an example of Toyota’s social customer service campaign focused on:
- Increasing communication effectiveness
- Improving customer support services
- Initiating conversations for better feedback
- Finding new business opportunities,
- Reducing response time
The conventional setup of an isolated customer relationship department was a massive barrier. So they leveraged internal alignment across the organization. It reduces response time and improves coordination among all the departments.
Similarly, organizations must align all stakeholders to ensure rapid responses. Let’s discuss crucial tips to follow for customer support and improved retention.
5 Ways To Improve Retention Through Customer Support
Which is the best practice for any business to boost retention? There are no straightforward answers to customer retention. Especially when each company has a different set of audiences, you need a strategy. But listening to your customers is where you can start!
1. Understand customers’ pain points
Listening to your customers and being responsive is key to customer retention. You need to respond quickly and be empathetic toward customers’ pain points.
The term “empathy” is a crucial aspect of any customer-centric business. You can showcase empathy to your customers by listening to their problems.
Understanding the pain points is essential to empathize with your customers. Businesses can use behavioral science to understand customer behavior patterns. It helps create an empathetic strategy for customer support and can improve your customers’ perceived value by emphasizing emotional benefits.
Organizations can apply the concept of behavioral economics for enhanced customer services. Behavioral economics is an approach to understanding customers’ emotional aspects. It addresses questions like,
- Why will a customer choose your product over others?
- What is the emotion that drives the sale?
- Which issues with the product trigger specific customer emotions?
- How customer service impacts behavioral economics?
- Which aspect of customer support is driving customers away?
Answering these questions will help you empathize and solve customer pain points. The best way to identify pain points and resolve issues is by finding the gaps in customer support.
2. Identify customer support gaps
Customer support gaps differ between your organization’s expected and delivered service. The delivered service is often known as the perceived service by a user.
Identifying the customer service gaps need tracking user interactions across touchpoints. Measuring the customer support gaps will need metrics. It helps with insights into customer pain points.
Here are some metrics you can track:
- Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) is a metric that measures user satisfaction with a sale. You can ask,” how happy were you with the experience?” and rate it on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10.
- Negative Response Rate (NRR) is a customer support metric that measures users’ negative sentiment. It allows you to measure users’ total number of negative responses. You can calculate NRR by dividing the negative responses by the total customer responses.
- Ticket reopen Rate measures how many customer support tickets have to reopen. The ticket reopen rate is crucial for any business. It helps understand critical customer support gaps. You can calculate the rate by dividing the total repent tickets by the total incoming tickets. The best practice is to keep the reopen rates up to 10-20%.
- First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a metric that helps measure the resolution percentage of all incoming service calls. Especially which you resolve in the first interaction. You can calculate FCR by dividing the total incoming service calls resolved on the first interaction by the total incoming calls.
- Average Resolution Time (ART) is a live chat metric that measures how long an agent or customer support executive takes to resolve an issue. Higher ART means more customer support gaps and efficiency.
Defining the metrics helps you understand specific parameters to track customer support gaps. You will need tools precisely to track such metrics. For example, you can use the Help Scout tool to track tickets with instant conversations.
Apart from the conversation within a ticket, it provides flexible messaging and custom data fields. However, if you need insights on metrics like FCR, ART, and others, there are customer support tools for your customer support service. Customer support tools can also help you improve communications and feedback mechanisms.
Now that organizations know customer support gaps, they can reduce attrition.
3. Improving empathy and personalization
Customer support gaps require efforts across organizations. Improving empathy affects the customer support team. So, businesses need to understand the pain points, train their customer support teams and build a rapid response framework.
For example, organizations need to understand how customer service executives interact. Besides, companies need to improve personalized communication and reduce ticket reopening rates.
Personalization of customer communication requires elaborate planning and enhanced training modules. Organizations can generate customer profiles based on behavioral patterns. They can analyze user interaction with customer support and create personalized communications.
Companies can train agents with support ticket response examples and improve the responses. Besides, it enables organizations to enhance personalization and customer retention. Personalized communications need different channels. Companies must be present on platforms that users mostly use.
4. Leverage omnichannel communication
Omnichannel communication is key to customer retention and increasing interaction touch points. In other words, companies are present on every platform which customers use to communicate, like
- Email communication
- Social media
- Community-based platforms,
- Online chats
Yet, personalization is one of the significant challenges in implementing an omnichannel strategy. Every channel is different, and companies must have a strategy specific to that platform.
Organizations can leverage technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to develop chatbots. It allows organizations to communicate across channels effectively and enhance customer support.
Some of the critical benefits of chatbots for omnichannel communication are:
- Built once deployed anywhere, makes it an effective communication tool
- Customizations and personalization across channels become easier
- Automation of user interaction based on personalized preferences is easy
- Helps in reducing customer support gaps
- Reduces human error and enables problem-solving capabilities
Identifying gaps in customer services and employing automation need a framework.
So, B2B businesses need a framework for implementing different customer support strategies.
5. Build a customer support management framework
Customer support management(CSM) improves response time, resolves issues, and reduces service gaps. A CSM framework will help businesses improve their customer service strategy. A well-built framework will enable higher customer retention through enhanced experience.
Here are the critical aspects of a CSM framework:
- Strategic communication policy involves an omnichannel strategy and personalized messaging.
- Training modules on empathy and personalization-Strategic communication will help train agents for empathy.
- Ticket response management requires real-time ticket response monitoring and identifying customer pain points.
- Businesses need solutions like cloud-based contact centers to handle massive incoming service calls
- Creation of a feedback loop: Creating and maintaining a feedback loop requires automation. In other words, organizations can use chatbots across channels to create a feedback loop.
- Deployment of gamification approach for feedback: Companies can incentivize feedback through gamification. Users get rewards or discounts whenever they give feedback.
- Improving customer support according to feedback: Businesses can improve retention based on feedback.
No matter how efficient a product or service is, users will have some query that needs reliable customer support service. It impacts the customer experience on a granular level and affects retention. So, start strategizing customer support for your organization using the framework. It will help improButntion. But, implementation will depend on business-specific needs.