However, research by the Customer Contact Council (a division of the Corporate Executive Board) found that this approach only makes customers marginally more loyal than simply meeting their needs and costs time, effort and money!
To examine the links between customer service and loyalty, the CEB conducted a study of more than 75,000 people who interacted over the phone with contact-centre representatives or through self-service channels such as the web, voice prompts, chat, and e-mail. They also held hundreds of structured interviews with customer service leaders and their functional counterparts in large companies throughout the world. The research addressed three key questions:
- How important is customer service to loyalty?
- Which customer service activities increase loyalty, and which don’t?
- Can companies increase loyalty without raising their customer service operating costs?
Two critical findings emerged that should affect every company’s customer service strategy;
- Delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty
- However, reducing the customer effort to get their problem solved does
The study also found that customers are far more likely to leave an organisation as-a-result of poor customer service than they are to remain loyal through being ‘delighted’ citing the reasons for their disloyalty as;
- Expending moderate-to-high effort to resolve an issue
- Being transferred to someone else
- Having to re-explain an issue
- Having to repeatedly contact the company to resolve an issue
In conclusion, there are 5 tactics companies can adopt;
Clear the path
Consider the customer journey to your products and services? What obstacles are stopping them from doing business with you quickly and easily?
You can’t be responsible for the outcomes of every customer interaction but you can own the interactions you have. If it’s not your area of expertise and you do need to pass the customer over to another department – explain the customers’ situation for them, demonstrating that you understand their requirements and care about the customer getting what they want/need.
Next issue avoidance
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today! Incentive systems that value speed over quality may pose the single greatest barrier to reducing customer effort. Most customer service organisations still measure productivity metrics such as average handle time when assessing performance. These productivity “governors” will get in the way of making the customer’s experience easy and increase call volumes from repeat callers. It may take a few more minutes within the initial customer interaction but it’ll save you time, money and customers in the long run.
24% of the repeat calls in the study stemmed from emotional disconnects.
One UK-based mortgage company teaches its reps how to listen for clues to a customer’s personality type. They quickly assess whether they are talking to a “controller,” a “thinker,” a “feeler,” or an “entertainer,” and tailor their responses accordingly, offering the customer the balance of detail and speed appropriate for the personality type diagnosed. This strategy has reduced repeat calls by a remarkable 40%.
Find a simple profiling solution that will allow your front line teams to assess customers quickly and interactions personalised effectively. Profiling tools can also increase staff moral and efficiency so it’s a win-win.
- Tell customers what you CAN do
Words like “can’t,” “won’t,” and “don’t” trigger negative reactions so don’t tell the customer what you can’t do – tell them what you can do” through the use of positive language.