But What’s Your Return?
After a year of upheaval, unpredictability, and astonishing shifts in consumer behavior, 2021 is shaping up to be the year of rethinking and recalibration. The marketing and CX strategies that seemed spot on just twelve months ago now may be woefully out of sync with the market.
Today, many businesses are under extreme pressure to ramp up new customer acquisition initiatives, in the hope of replacing – or winning back – those lost during the major brand migrations of 2020. As you invest in the marketing, research, and sales necessary to woo, impress, and win these buyers, here are two key questions to keep in mind:
- Do you have the people, processes, and technology in place to keep impressing those new customers as they come in?
- And what about the customers you already have? Are you investing just as heavily in wooing and wowing them?
For all the changes we’ve all endured lately, this story hasn’t changed much over the years: far too often, new customers discover that, once they’re onboard, the courtship ends. Why?
In a word: silos.
Even today, after all the big talk in our industry about Customer Experience and the critical need for brands to ensure that customers feel treated the same across all touch points, for many customers, there is still a woeful disconnect between point of sale and point of service. Rooted in a now-outdated view of “customer service” as an “issue resolution” expense, many customer care teams are simply left out of the brand messaging loop.
That’s no longer an option. Right now, more than ever, missing any opportunity to reinforce the brand promise is a missed opportunity to retain that customer.
And that is a very expensive missed opportunity, indeed. It’s simply too easy for a disappointed customer to hop online and find another brand to try. If these past twelve months have reinforced anything for me, it is this: the only way to grow customer relationships is to continually treat each customer like highly valued, sought after prospects.
The only way to do that is to ensure that your customer care team is capable of fully embracing your brand mission and message and delivering on it, in every interaction. Here are three ways to do it.
Never stop learning who they are, what they need, and how they want to interact.
Who are your customers today? How well do you know them? Beyond the basic demographics, how attuned are you to their values, their motivations for making purchases, and their expectations – not just of your brand – but of every brand they patronize? How satisfied are they with your current and recent performance? An avalanche of recent research shows that customers are seeking brand experiences that leave them feeling cared for… is that how your customer care team is making them feel?
Depending on who your customers are and how they prefer to interact, you can use surveys (online or IVR), focus groups, feedback from agents, or listening to calls, and ideally, investing in social media listening. The point here is that you simply can’t wait for your customers to approach you with a complaint. By then, it might be too late.
Make it a Conversation, not a One-time Effort
Funny thing about asking customers for their opinions and feedback: if they share with you, they’ve just taken the time and energy to help you. The minute that happens, they have a new expectation of you. While they won’t expect you to be able to do everything every customer asks – or to make improvements overnight.
They will expect to have their feedback acknowledged and validated. Whenever your customers give you their insights, you owe them a response. It can be as simple as a follow up thank you – or as personal and in-depth as a personal follow-up call. But if you ask them and ignore them, you’re undermining your own efforts to build loyalty.
Have a Save Strategy: Fix What’s Broken
Gone are the days of seeing one customer’s disappointment as an isolated issue. Today’s upset customer has instant access to an international forum of listeners simply by hopping online. They don’t have to cool down, take 10 deep breaths, or reconsider whether they’re being fair. They just go to yelp or any one of about a million other online review sites, and set their comments to blast. One apathetic response. One inaccurate answer. One frustration. That’s all it takes to put a serious dent in your reputation. A well designed Customer Save Initiative can minimize the damage and help you repair the problem before it spreads. It’s not quick or easy to train a customer care team on the steps necessary. It’s downright impossible to train an agent to be empathetic or people oriented. But with the right team in place, you can turn disappointed customers into raving fans.
At Skybridge Americas, we hire, train, coach, and reward our customer care agents to deliver a superior brand experience during every interaction. If you would like to know more about how we can help you boost customer loyalty, please reach out. We would love to talk!
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Find out how Skybridge Americas can help you delight your customers and grow your business.
We seamlessly integrate our superior customer care skills with your brand messaging. For more information, contact us at 763-477-7720 or submit the form below!