Listening: The Best Defense against Customer Churn


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Customer Churn

In the day-to-day management of the call center, when customers decide to leave your company it’s easy to blame the agent. The agent wasn’t quick or courteous enough. The agent didn’t present the retention offer correctly. The agent didn’t use the script. But when a customer is ready to leave and calling for that very purpose, it may have little to do with a particular agent.   How can we truly understand and investigate customer intent? And gather timely insights that have an impact on our business?  We can start by listening.

Customers share with us their intent, and give us insight into why they’re leaving . . .  if we listen.  Capturing the true customer intent is the first step in optimizing Customer Dynamics – in ensuring that you not only keep your customers, but make them loyal and satisfied, even as you make your business more profitable and efficient. 

Author and advertising executive Steve McKee, in a recent BusinessWeek article, “How Not to Go Out of Business,” calls on organizations to:

“Get to know your customers as well as you possibly can. Ask them what hassles and inconveniences surround the occasions when they do business with you. Find out what alternative solutions they may consider, what substitutes they sometimes choose, and what they do (and why) before and after they transact business with you. You can gather this insight through formal research methods or by informally observing, listening to, and having conversations with your customers.”

Picking up on critical insights and identifying customers at risk of churning involves a combination of listening and research. Leverage the call recording and analytics tools you likely have in place today, and instead of monitoring just for service levels and regulatory compliance, take it a step farther and make an impact by actually listening to what the customer is telling you. Easier said than done? Here are two techniques:

  1. Leverage your quality monitoring process. Add a question to your evaluation form that tracks why customers leave. Don’t use it for scoring purposes, but track it for 30 days and utilize this information to take relevant action, such as coaching, updating agent scripts, fine-tuning processes and systems, etc.
  2. Leverage interaction analytics. Analyzing the dynamics of actual interactions with customers as they unfold can help identify customers at risk of churn in real time, expose root causes, and help you personalize retention efforts and offerings.

How difficult is it to listen to customers, understand their intent, analyze interactions to uncover valuable insights and apply those insights to impact business performance… and prevent your customers from churning?  In other words, how difficult is it to take charge of your Customer Dynamics? You may be surprised – it’s easier today than ever, particularly in the contact center, where technology for recording, quality monitoring and interaction analytics is well established. It’s just a matter of hearing the voice of the customer, not just the source of blame.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matthew Storm
Matthew Storm has been evangelizing and promoting customer experience solutions for over 20 years. Before working in the CX technology space, Matthew got his start in the contact center industry back in the 1990s while working for Dell Computer where he implemented solutions for WFM, QM, recording, analytics, predictive dialers and CRM. Matthew holds a degree from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from St. Edward’s University.


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