By now, the importance of customer retention isn’t breaking news. According to Adobe, the top 10 percent of your customer base is spending three times more per order than your average customer, while the top one percent is spending five times more per order. The same study also found that repeat customers:

  • Are buying nearly 30 percent more items per order than first-time shoppers
  • Are 9 times more likely to convert than first-time shoppers
  • Generated three to seven times more revenue per visit

The other side of the retention coin is the cost of new customer acquisition, which can be as much as five times more than retaining current customers, according to Forrester Research.

Despite the data supporting the value of loyal customers, many businesses still consider customer retention an afterthought. When it is a priority, customer retention activities usually fall to the contact center, where the key to preventing customer churn is a comprehensive customer retention policy that reinforces the values of your product and services.

Whether you’re just developing a customer retention processes or have a dedicated and experienced “saves” team, the following tips can help achieve results.

Set High Standards
Although it may seem obvious, the first step when considering customer retention efforts is setting high standards not only for products and services, but also customer service agents. You can have the most thorough customer retention strategies and processes, but if your products, services and agents are sub-standard, your customers’ loyalty will only last so long.

In addition to providing agents with ongoing training, coaching and positive feedback, develop a quality monitoring program based on your goals. Monitor net promoter scores (NPS) and other customer satisfaction metrics and take time to review comments and make improvements.

Understand Customer Needs
The best way to thoroughly understand customers is through customer journey mapping. Detailing each interaction between your brand and customers can help identify the points at which they may be more likely to leave your business and choose a competitor. Of all the benefits of journey mapping, perhaps the most valuable is being able to intervene before losing a customer.

Be Proactive
Don’t make the mistake of thinking of customer retention efforts as reactive. Good retention means being proactive and implementing “save” solutions long before a customer considers leaving. Consider initiating customer contact – rather than waiting for them to contact you – when you first become aware of potential issues. In this way, you can solve problems before they become a complaint or escalate. OptimumCX uses a variety of technologies to help clients apply proactive customer retention strategies.

Improve Interactions
Train contact center agents to provide elements of a transformational experience in every customer contact. These include:

  • Build rapport with the customer by connecting with them through active listening, patience and empathy. In fact, the use of apologies has shown to make a big difference in customer retention.
  • Make the situation right (within policies) Appeasement programs that include a variety of solutions are usually more effective than giveaways. Empower agents to determine the best appeasement to fit the customer’s situation and track these solutions for effectiveness.
  • Reduce customer effort is one of the most effective ways to improve customer interactions.

Respect Customers’ Decisions
It’s not possible to save every customer. If you have assessed her concern and made a reasonable attempt to address the situation, yet she still chooses to leave, respect that decision and close the interaction with a feeling of goodwill. Although this may not be the desired outcome, it’s still an opportunity to further your brand by treating the customer with kindness, empathy and respect. Lastly, be sure to convey that the customer is still valued, and your company would welcome her back any time.

Related Content:
Three Ways to Decrease Customer Churn