Many studies have shown that increasing customer loyalty is cheaper, easier, and more profitable than attracting new customers. One Bain & Company report, for example, said that a 5% increase in customer retention could increase profits up to 25%. Customer loyalty is easier to earn than some business leaders may think. It’s all about building better customer relationships based on what the customer perceives as valuable. Sometimes it’s money, but often it’s their time that’s more valuable to them.
That’s why your call center and customer support channels are perfect places to start enhancing customer loyalty. These spaces are where customers frequently interact with you and are often where they experience the most frustration.
Here’s three things you can do to strengthen your call center team and build stronger customer loyalty:
Ditch stiff scripts and re-humanize customer service
Relying on point-by-point call scripts removes personality and humanity from your customer service communications. Though designed to expedite resolution and provide service consistency, they often have the opposite effect. Too much scripting can leave customers feeling “processed”, like a number at a deli not like a real person and certainly not like a valued customer.
A more customer-centric option is to utilize a frequently asked question (FAQ) knowledge base and set guidelines and workflows that will lend additional structure to the call handling process. More flexibility lets your reps act like humans and treat inbound calls as conversations, not just another call.
Give personality more weight in call center hiring
Many call centers hire based on prior customer service experience, but a thorough training program can teach workflows and your support’s technical components. It’s much harder to develop the soft skills and demeanor that customer-centric services are built upon like listening, compassion, and a genuine eagerness to help others. Agents with a positive and friendly attitude are essential to making customers feel appreciated and forms a stronger foundation for building a valuable relationship.
Lean on active listening
Active listening, a communication technique where the listener fully understands, concentrates, remembers, and acknowledges the speakers’ point of view, can boost a customer’s call experience. When a customer feels listened to, it can turn an unpleasant conversation around and provide opportunities for agents to ask more questions. Customers, in turn, feel more comfortable and disclose additional information that can help agents find the best and most effective resolution path.
This technique continues to pay off after the call completes. Not only did you resolve the issue and likely address any secondary concerns, but the customer will hang up feeling appreciated and cared for. Plus, the feedback you receive through active listening has the potential to help you correct pain points in your support processes and general issues with your products.
Building stronger customer loyalty begins with your call center and its agents. Don’t define call support only by whether you resolved the issue or not. It’s just as important to understand how the issue was resolved and how the customer’s overall experience contributes to loyalty.