Your agents need to make the most of your customer data, using it to personalize each customer’s service experience and to inform your marketing outreach efforts. Having a powerful combination of proprietary knowledge and software capabilities literally at their fingertips will help your agents revive and cultivate these relationships.
Your customers’ experience is eclipsing product and price as the deal-breaker for business relationships, so it should be no surprise that your customer service agents are absolutely on the front lines of your profitability. Whether the customer relationship has floundered for five minutes or been on life support for weeks, your agents need to make the most of your customer data, using it to personalize each customer’s service experience and to inform your marketing outreach efforts. Having a powerful combination of proprietary knowledge and software capabilities literally at their fingertips will help your agents revive and cultivate these relationships.
Need some incentive to nurture those lukewarm customer relationships? It’s an accepted axiom that it costs an average of 4 to 10 times more, even as much as 30 times more, to attract and convert a new customer than to retain an existing one, depending on your industry. Harder data is available from a recent marketing study on customer win-back as reported in the Harvard Business Review:
- “Won-back” customers generally stayed longer, and those who defected because of price stayed the longest of all.
- Second-time customers ran up an average lifetime value of $1,410, compared to $1,262 during their initial run.
- Identifying those who are most likely to come back, rather than appealing to every defector, can increase win-back rates eightfold.
So let’s talk about that identification process. Research has shown the value of focusing on only those customers with positive trends in prior interactions, such as serving as a referral source for others, having no history of complaints, or having their complaints satisfactorily resolved. Reasons for leaving are also important; those who cited price as their reason are more likely to come back than those who cited poor service, and those who cited both reasons are the least likely of all to return.
The good news is you probably already have a lot of this information in your CRM. Once you’ve identified the group of customers you’d like win back, check their records to identify the products they bought in the past, how often they purchased, and any other relationship-building points such as the need for a software upgrade, improvements made to the gear they purchased, etc. Put some thought into building an offer, or even several offers, that your team can use to entice them back.
Once your agents have re-established contact, they should:
- Try to find out exactly why the customer has allowed the relationship to lapse and ask at least two more probing questions about what could be done to improve the product or service. No matter what happens with these individuals, their answers to these questions are your data mine for future improvements and programs.
- Ask the customer what they would need to re-enter the relationship. This step doesn’t work unless you empower your agents to fix whatever has gone wrong. There’s no guarantee this individual customer won’t still decline to do business with you, but if the relationship ends on a positive note, they may refer you to others.
- Take the opportunity to update the customer on any news that may encourage them to come back, such as product developments or your incentive offer.
When your win-back campaign is concluded, analyze your returning customer data to identify what points were most successful in winning them back; then dig into your lost customer list to develop a new campaign list of those who match your win-back profile. Don’t forget to analyze the cost impact of your incentive options; the one that appears to be most cost-effective on the surface may not be when you measure it against numbers and characteristics of participating customers.
Clearly, this process is overwhelming without excellent access to your own customer data. Your agents need a single access point for all the data, no matter which channel your customers have chosen to contact them. Your customers need a fully integrated, seamless solution through which to contact your agents – a solution that respects their time and effort and doesn’t encourage frustration and dropout.
One such solution is Virtual Hold Technology’s Notification Suite, which allows consumers to request a return interaction from any channel, input their data once, and eliminate the need to hold for the next available agent. They receive automatic confirmation of callback status, which saves them time and effort and saves you operational expense by reducing repeat calls. It’ll even re-engage customers who abandon before they’ve spoken to an agent. Needless to say, this improves the overall customer experience, helping to turn each call into a positive brand experience. And the suite integrates into your existing contact center infrastructure.
Every single interaction your agents have with any customer can either create a raving fan or a lost opportunity. Make sure your agents have the tools they need to build customer relationships that endure.