How to Boost SMB Customer Retention With Better Collaboration

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Retention is vital for every business in every era, but today there’s more riding on it than ever before. Thanks to the pandemic-induced economic crisis, it’s a lot harder to attract new customers than to hold on to the existing ones.

Your current customers already know how awesome your business is and want to buy your products or services; they’re just deterred for the moment by the state of their wallet. But you have a much higher barrier to overcome to convince new consumers to make a purchase. At the same time, you’re competing with big corporations that have huge budgets.

Your biggest retention advantage is that your small business can have a more personal connection with customers, but maintaining that relationship is getting more and more taxing.

Consumers are demanding more

Millennials and Gen Z consumers, in particular, are used to instantaneous communication through social media, email, and messaging apps. They’re short on patience and aren’t about to give you any second chances if you fail to meet their standards. The average company loses 84% of its customers after 3 bad experiences, and one-third of consumers worldwide say they’ll walk away from a company after just one bad interaction.

Upping the ante on internal collaboration can go a long way to improving customer retention, which is why SMBs need CRM software that fits their needs.

Better collaboration stops consumers getting lost in the cracks

When you regularly pass customer inquiries, complaints, or feedback from one employee to the next, you increase the risk that they’ll get lost in the ether or the details of their issue will get distorted in a business version of broken telephone.

While it’s a given that consumers get frustrated if no one replies to their question, they also assume your reps communicate with each other. Customers won’t put up with having to repeat themselves; 71% expect companies to collaborate internally so they don’t have to explain their issue more than once, and 86% expect you to know who they are and what they’re asking about when they switch channels.

The more you collaborate, the faster you can respond

When you improve cross-departmental collaboration, you’ll boost the number of requests that can be resolved in the first conversation and delight your customers. Even if you do need to transfer a customer from one agent to another, excellent collaboration helps you to do so seamlessly and speedily, whether they are pre- or post-purchase.

Consumers aren’t about to wait around for you to get your team in gear; if they don’t get a quick response, they’ll move on. More than half agree that the most frustrating part about a bad customer support experience is having to wait for a long time for an agent.

At the same time, every internal collaboration helps deepen the quality of that rep’s next interaction with your customers, because they’ll have more cross-departmental knowledge at their fingertips. Among sales leaders who predict growth in their company, 73% say that collaboration between customer service, sales, and marketing is vital for success. Whether they are in sales, marketing, or customer support, collaborative employees can respond more effectively to a consumer’s true needs.

Collaboration improves your product offering

Collaboration isn’t just for direct customer interactions and customer-facing departments. When your teams share data and insights, they gain a multi-dimensional understanding of your customers and their preferences.

That, in turn, empowers your employees to develop products and services that are more closely in tune with your target market’s ever-evolving and multi-faceted demands and pain points. Your customers are less likely to churn and feel that they’ve “outgrown” your business if you’re continuously innovating new products that keep pace with their development.

Among organizations plagued by communication barriers, 44% of employees say that they’ve failed to complete a project, 18% that they lost sales, and 13% that they lost clients as a result. 30% of those who lost a sale say it was worth over $100,000. That’s a high price to pay for poor collaboration.

The right tools enable better collaboration

When your SMB finds the software that’s the right fit with your needs, you’ll boost collaboration across the board, but only 44% of customer support managers and 57% of sales leaders have integrated sales and support tools.

CRM software helps you keep all your customer interactions in one place where teams from every department can access them so that no one misses an inquiry, customers only have to explain their issue once, and nothing slips through the cracks. 22% of high performing customer support teams integrate CRM software, compared with just 12% of underperforming teams.

Integrated data analytics platforms are also vitally helpful tools that bring together data from multiple external sources into a single location. Creating a united data source helps overcome silos, democratize data access, and improve collaboration over data to enhance customer experiences.

Improving collaboration can be a keystone habit for SMBs

Retention is crucial for SMBs, who are fighting for every customer in a challenging economy. When you tap into the right tools like CRM software and data analytics, you can improve collaboration within and between departments in order to deliver faster, better customer support, and refine your product offering to make sure that you stay relevant and keep your customers satisfied.

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