Loyalty is a valuable commodity in business, and a trait that all businesses should attempt to foster in their customers. Companies that dedicate time and resources to identifying target customers, ushering them through a sales funnel, and finally achieving a conversion, are shooting themselves in the foot if they then allow those customers to simply walk away. Research shows that it costs 10% less to retain existing customers than to find new ones. This figure can really add up over the course of a year. It’s also 50% easier to sell new products to existing customers. On top of that, loyal customers are likely to be happy customers, and will be far more likely to spread the word about a service or product in a positive manner via word-of-mouth.
So how can loyalty be built into customers? A number of factors affect how individuals feel about companies they are engaged with. One of the main ones is obviously the quality of the service/product they receive. Customers aren’t going to hang around and continue paying for a poor product, so that needs to be a priority. The other main factor is the standard of service they receive. It can be argued that customer service is actually more important than the product/service on offer. As an example, John Lewis’s profits rose 16% in the last financial year, despite other high street retailers suffering. Analysts believe this is at least partly because of the high level of customer service available at the shop, which means people are willing to spend more on products that they may be able to find cheaper elsewhere.
Research by Bain and Co says that improving retention levels by just 5% can boost profits by as much as 75%. Customer service at Randstad plays a crucial role in customer retention, and is an area that all managers need to focus on. Training call centre staff to the highest standards is the easiest way to do this. The staff in contact centres are the people who customers are most likely to interact with, and who will colour their impression of the company as a whole. Ensuring individuals have a positive experience each and every time they speak to a customer service provider can greatly boost retention levels.
When recruiting for customer service adviser positions, it’s wise to look for individuals who are friendly, confident,and efficient. Research shows there needs to be a balance between speed and quality. A 2010 study, conducted by RightNow media, found that the two top reasons customers gave for leaving a company were receiving ‘rushed and rude’ service, and customer service advisors failing to resolve their issues. On the other hand, however, a study by the Gallop Group found that customers were nine times more likely to fully engage with a brand if they received help that was ‘courteous, willing and helpful.’ These qualities were found to be more important than speed. A combination of efficiency and friendliness is a winning combination when attempting to retain customers.
Investing in employees, and training them to provide the highest standard of customer service, can help any business to increase profits by generating happy customers and, as a result, happy employees.