Traditionally, customer service leaders have been tasked with one thing: playing defense. The holy grail of customer service was to resolve customer complaints, styled as “tickets,” as quickly and inexpensively as possible – pushing agents to move through as many inquiries as possible in a day. As long as a customer wasn’t overly upset, everything was okay.
This emphasis on quantity over quality meant that securing customer loyalty through meaningful service interactions was out of reach, and contributing to top-line company growth wasn’t even on the table. But that’s all changed — a recent Gartner survey revealed that 64% of service leaders ranked “grow the business” as their top priority for 2023.
So what’s spurred on this change? In large part, it’s due to improvements in technology. Customer service leaders can now choose from a bevy of software that allows them to grow customer loyalty, and increase word of mouth and lifetime value, all through providing service experiences that build customer trust and confidence. Along with this, the perception of the customer service function as a cost center has also changed. Customer service leaders now have a seat at the table; they know their value and they have the data to back it up.
What happens when loyalty is out of reach?
Encouraging customer loyalty should be the ultimate goal of each service interaction, but sometimes even the best of intentions fail, and a customer falls through the cracks.
Regardless of how you got here, there’s only one thing to do: act! The time for reflection will come later, once you’ve saved this customer from a terrible fate (not being a customer of yours anymore, obviously). These three prevention tactics will help you hold on to customers that are on the verge of falling out of “like” with your company.
3 tactics to save customers that are about to churn
1. Introduce a knowledge base
Agents should be fully-equipped to answer any question that may come their way. And no, this doesn’t mean you should up the number of training hours and get agents to memorize the answer to every possible customer query. Quite the opposite, actually. Instead, save time and effort and introduce a centralized knowledge base where you can bank your team’s collective knowledge.
In a survey conducted by Dixa late last year, 74% of the 3000 consumers we surveyed across the US and UK indicated that agents being knowledgeable about the product or service they were reaching out about was most important to them in a customer service interaction. Having an informed team also impacts first contact resolution (FCR) – agents are more confident in their abilities and less likely to escalate an issue to a supervisor.
And if you’re worried about resourcing, creating content for your knowledge base doesn’t need to be a momentous task. If you introduce knowledge-centered service (KCS) to your organization, you can simply make the documentation of how to solve a problem part of the problem-solving process. So when an agent gets a question from a customer and uses a support article to solve the problem, if that article has incorrect information, the agent either need to update it or flag it to be corrected. If no support article exists, then the agent needs to draft one.
2. Make proactive outreach part of your day-to-day
By setting proactive outreach reminders for customers who are churn risks, you can ensure that no one slips through the cracks. Set outreach reminders based on data like how many times a customer has been in contact with your service team in the last month or a low CSAT score.
Calling up a customer out of the blue to check in and apologize for their bumpy ride with your company is an entirely unexpected, but much-appreciated, gesture that customers will value. You can compound this good will by sending them a follow up email afterwards with a discount code or providing a free gift in their next order. And if a call isn’t feasible, sending an automated email to check in and offer them that discount or gift will also go a long way.
Delivering customer delight begins with providing something unexpected, but welcome, in each interaction. Customers who are about to churn will most likely have had at least one negative experience with your company, and showing that you care about them will go a long way. Data from our own research shows that 96% of consumers rate empathy from customer service agents as very important.
3. Build smart flows
You can’t cover every front on your own, so automation will be a huge help when saving customers that are in danger of churning. Setting up an “at-risk” queue that routes customers to agents suited to handling more complex and delicate situations will allow you to put your best foot forward in tense situations.
Create action and time-based automations to ensure high-risk customers are never kept waiting. Leveraging external information from your CRM or eCommerce platform, whatever business-critical solutions you use, will allow you to make these flows as intelligent as possible.
Losing a customer is never fun, but when someone leaves due to poor service, it stings a little more. Use these three tactics to save your at-risk customers and maybe even secure their lasting loyalty.