customer service

Seven Simple Ways to Boost Customer Retention Rates

Winning over new customers is a difficult and expensive process, so it’s no surprise that the world’s best companies place a premium on retaining their customers once they’ve acquired them. Here are seven of the best tips to help improve your company’s customer retention:

Maintain a Dialogue with Customers

You don’t need to check in constantly with customers, but it’s important to check in every now and then to see how they are doing. For some of your best or highest-value customers, it may be worth opening up a regular dialogue with them. This might mean making calls to them, or inviting them to events you’re hosting.

Engage with Customers Online

There are plenty of ways to engage with customers that are free (or almost free). With social media, for example, you can set up a Facebook fan page where you can offer tips and advice for using your products, or send out exclusive coupon codes. And with email newsletters, you have a way of connecting with your company’s customers in a way that’s easy and convenient. Just make sure you are actually providing value, and not just spamming them.

Send out Customer Surveys

Surveys are a great way to “check the temperature” of your customers. After all, it’s best to catch any weaknesses or gaps before they turn into real problems. With surveys, you get an early warning system of potential problems.

Build a Great Customer Service Team

Nobody enjoys calling up 1-800 numbers and being put on hold for 10 minutes, then being forced to explain their situation over and over again. So make sure you are providing the best possible customer service at every single touch point—from the representatives on the floors of your store to the people answering the customer service calls.

Know Your Customer

In a best-case scenario, you will know your customer by first name as well as all of his or her interests. Using data that your marketing or sales team already has at their fingertips, that’s now very possible. Many companies are now able to customize a website experience, for example, by knowing exactly who is visiting a website.

Make a Habit of Saying Thanks

Your customers are the ones who keep your business running. So it’s worth it to say “Thanks” every now and then. These might be special offers, exclusive events, or special loyalty discounts. Show them you care, and they will come back, again and again.

Invest in Software

With CRM software, you can develop a much richer view of each and every customer experience. These tools, like the Communications module in Spire, are a great way to combine notes, issues and comments that you have.

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to boosting your customer retention rates and guaranteeing that customer satisfaction rates are the highest they’ve ever been!

Checking In With Your Customers

Having a constant pulse on what your customers are thinking is one way to drive competitive advantage for your business. Always-on Internet connectivity has become a huge advantage for companies attempting to connect seamlessly with customers anywhere in the world. There are simply so many tools for connecting and interacting with your customers, especially now that people take their mobile phones with them literally everywhere.

But there’s a downside to all that connectivity — your customers are probably already drowning in the information overload. They may not be as responsive as back in the day, when they’d gladly pick up the phone to chat. They may notice your latest Facebook status update or your new email newsletter, but simply be overwhelmed with other messages, status updates, tweets, and texts.

Given that reality, the easiest, most effective and cheapest way to check in with your customers is via email. This might explain why customers are deluged with emails on a weekly and even daily basis — everyone else has the same idea. To cut through all that clutter, you need to make it worth their time to read your emails before anyone else’s.

To do that, be sure to state your intent at the outset of the email. Then, use a human, personalized voice, so that they know they are not dealing with a soulless brand. Finally, give them an incentive to respond, such as better service, a chance to try out a new feature, or even a prize as part of some contest.

After email, the next most valuable tool for connecting with customers is social media. As might be expected, Facebook and Twitter lead the way in terms of checking in with customers. The problem is that too many brands view these as broadcast mechanisms rather than check-in mechanisms. Replying to a comment on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter can go a long way. Look for ways to use social media to foster personal connections. After all, they don’t call it “social” media for nothing!

And, if you thought regular mail was a thing of the past, think again. A personalized piece of mail can go a long way in getting your customers’ attention. Of course, you’ll want to avoid bland, impersonalized form letters. But think about ways to show how committed you are to them and how important you view your relationship with them.

Finally, what about meeting your customers face-to-face every now and then? If you’re not already meeting them at conferences or trade shows, organize regular meetings with your best customers. This will help you understand your brand ambassadors, the people willing to take your business to the next level.

It’s always worth hearing what they have to say directly. If they really care about your business, they’ll be up front and honest with you. And there’s an added advantage here as well. Your customers will see that there’s an actual person behind the business, and will enjoy meeting more of your team and understanding the story behind your business.

Getting to know your customers is a win-win for both you and your customers. You’ll learn more about what makes them tick, and they’ll learn and understand your company’s mission.

Providing Good Customer Service with Your Business Management Software

Quality customer service is dependent on the efficiency of your office. Without the proper tools, your business will be left struggling to keep up with the competition and your customers may very well turn to them for service that is more efficient.

So how can business management software aid your journey towards exceptional customer service? Is it very helpful, and if so, how do these tools enhance your ability to deliver on your promises? By identifying the benefits of business management software, we can help answer those questions.

Benefits of Business Management Software

Access to business management software enables you to provide faster service to your customers. For example, should a client call requesting information on their shipment or why they happened to be charged a certain amount you need to have direct access to that data. Customers don’t like to be put on hold, and it’s your job to keep up with their needs and questions when they come calling. Business management software can give you the edge in these situations and help you answer your client’s questions almost immediately.

Another way that business management software assists you in providing quality customer service is through employee morale. Remember, your staff is largely responsible for the interactions between your brand and your clients, and if their attitude is made sour by an impossible data system, that will reflect back onto your clients. Technology can make their life easier and your clients much happier in the end.

Finally, business software can also help your business stay in the know before trouble hits. Without accurate information, you simply will not be able to spot trouble before it becomes a serious issue.

By utilizing advanced software to manage your business, you stand a greater chance of accomplishing your goal of providing high quality customer service.

Customer Service vs. Customer Experience: What’s the Difference?

In business, we hear several terms such as “customer service” and “customer experience” being bandied about without knowing what they truly mean. Often, there is confusion between these two terms and sometimes, they’re erroneously interchanged. So what’s the difference between them?

Customer service is provided in person or via technology before, during and after a purchase. Retail stores have employees that are available to assist customers when they come in. Customer service through technology can occur on your website via live chat or by phone. Whether in person or through technology, customer service is seen as a part of the overall customer experience.

Customer experience is the perception a customer has about a company. It is the sum of direct or indirect experiences, such as their first impression of the brand, meeting employees, reading news about the company or hearing stories through friends. Customer experience refers to every single interaction a customer has with the brand and includes customer service. Because of this, customer experience is more subjective and pertains to how a customer feels about the company over a long period of time.

Customer service and the entire customer experience can affect the customer’s loyalty. It’s possible that if one falls short, the customer may start looking elsewhere in the future.

While both customer service and the customer experience have differences, both are linked together and affect each other. Paying attention to both is good way to have your company stand out from the competition.