A customer makes an enquiry, you make the perfect pitch, win the conversion and ultimately win the customer’s purchase – success! But does the journey end there? Not if you want them to keep coming back.
According to KPMG, customer retention is cited as the biggest revenue driver for businesses putting it above customer acquisition, product innovations, pricing and promotional strategies, and technological advancements.
Coupled with the fact that poor Customer Experience is by far the most common reason for a customer leaving a company (68%), you can see why retaining customers and treating them right is so important.
With that in mind, insight6 presents to you: 9 ways to retain your customers.
1) Follow up and get feedback
If you want your customers to keep coming back then you need to know exactly what it is that they want. To make improvements to the service you offer the best person to ask what could be improved is the customer.
Getting feedback does not have to be a long, complicated, process. It can be gained via exit interviews, email survey forms or asking customers to leave a review on social media. It should be made as simple as possible for customers to provide feedback as the majority of people will not bother to go through a long questionnaire.
The first thing to do is to stay in touch with the customer. Part of providing excellent Customer Experience is to ensure that the customer is happy after they have used your business. Go the extra mile by asking the customer when would be convenient for you to give them a call.
Not only will this keep you in the mind of your customers, it will also show them that you care, you didn’t just forget about them when they left the door.
2) Have a passionate team
When a customer uses your services do you want them to be greeted by a team who don’t really understand your offering, are unenthusiastic and are only there for the money, or do you want them to be greeted by a team who love the service, make an effort to relate to the customer on a personal level and genuinely love what they do?
Ok, these are two extremes but the point stands. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm, and if your team has it then the customer is much more likely to get excited by the brand itself. A customer is much more likely to return somewhere where they got to know the team and felt that they were passionate about finding them the perfect solution.
3) Create something your customer will keep
To keep yourself in the minds of your customers and to keep them coming back, you want them to have a familiarity with the brand. By doing something as simple as offering out a free branded pen, socks, notebook, you name it, customers will see and use the item and build a familiarity with your brand. Then when they need to use your services again, who will they think of first? You.
The great thing about collateral such as this is that when they start using it in front of other people, they will be asked about it. They create more conversations about your brand and if you have provided them with a truly memorable experience, your customers will tell others that and recommend you.
4) Be transparent and honest with your customers
It is often said that relationships are built on a foundation of trust. The same applies to a relationship between you and your customers. If they can’t trust you, how do you expect them to continue to purchase from you? Don’t be dishonest or over exaggerate to get that initial sale, it is just not sustainable.
If the customer is unhappy with a product or service because they feel they have been deceived, then the least they are going to do is simply not come back. You are also risking them complaining, asking for a refund and letting their friends and family know about how deceitful the company was. Does that all seem worth it for that one sale?
5) Personalise their experience
People like to do business with other people that they know and, importantly, like. Small things such as using their name when communicating with them, whether by email, phone or in person, make a big difference to their overall experience. It makes them feel valued and that helps to build trust. The more your business connects with a customer on a personal level, the more they will trust your brand, meaning they are more likely to come back to you in the future.
6) Own up to your mistakes
If something has gone wrong and the customer is not happy, the most important thing for you to do is to listen to them. If it turns out that for whatever reason you haven’t been able to fully deliver what the customer was promised, own up to that mistake and offer the customer some form of apology. You could even offer the customer a discount voucher for next time they come which encourages them to come back or give them a complete refund or replacement, depending on the scale of the problem.
It is inevitable that mistakes will happen, but the majority of your customers will understand as long as you take the necessary measures to put it right. Not everyone will come back despite your efforts but by owning up to your mistakes and apologising you are doing everything you can to keep them happy and to retain them as a customer.
7) Reward loyalty
Offering customers who have purchased multiple items or are a regular user of your service a special reward shows them that you value them. If you show your customer that you not only welcome them back in but will reward them for doing so, they will keep coming back. One of the best ways of achieving this is to set up a loyalty card scheme. There are a number of different scheme types you could use such as ‘10th purchase is free’ or even a bonus system where they build up points that they can spend with you.
Be careful though, you don’t want to devalue the services that you do offer by making discounts and free rewards too easy to obtain. Not all loyalty schemes work for all businesses, so you may have to do some thinking as to what would work best for your customers.
8) Keep the experience fresh
Constantly be updating and improving your Customer Experience to ensure that you stay up to date and ahead of your competition. Keeping things different will prevent customers from getting bored with the experience and gives them a reason to go back to find out what will be different the next time. We’re not talking about changing your seafood restaurant into a Chinese takeaway but make sure you are changing things up every now and again. Go back to point one and look at the feedback you have received from your customers to get the best ideas on what you can do differently.
9) Always thank the customer – even when they do not make a purchase
It sounds obvious, but it is amazing how many times as a customer you do business with a company and they don’t thank you for it. It is so simple and yet leaves the customer feeling valued and respected. Failing to thank the customer can lead to them feeling dejected and that their purchase didn’t really matter to you.
Equally important however is to thank a customer who has decided not to make a purchase on one occasion. It may be the case that they don’t ever come back, but on the other hand, it could just be that they are thinking about coming back later or that they want to explore all of their options first. If you want a customer to keep coming back you have to think of the long run, they may not have bought from you on this occasion but if you show them politeness and a good attitude then they are far more likely to come back in the future.
National Customer Experience specialists, Shopper Anonymous, has rebranded to become insight6.
The transformation from Shopper Anonymous to insight6 is complete.
A leading national provider of client feedback has announced that it has rebranded from Shopper Anonymous to insight6.
The comprehensive rebrand aligns the business to ensure it totally represents its full product offer of Customer Experience (CX) tools and support which it delivers to over 1200 clients.
The change for insight6, which has a Sussex based headquarters, comes after significant research into the needs of businesses in modern times.
Jonathan Winchester, CEO, explained the thinking behind the change: “Our customers spoke, and we listened. Our brand needed to better reflect how we behave and what we deliver. Without doubt this is the most exciting time of our development since we started the business 22 years ago.
“We took this opportunity to rethink not just our name, but our entire brand. We are proud to be ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving industry, and our new brand identity, insight6, will now illustrate just how far the company has come. We shall continue to put our customers first and listen to what they need as well as being ahead of the CX development curve.”
Over the last five years, businesses within the professional, groups, and family sectors have started to use a wider range of CX tools as oppose to exclusively using the traditional mystery shopping service.
The new brand, insight6, reflects these changes in the market and the full range of services that it provides across the UK and Ireland.
The insight6 team of Customer Experience Directors
Research also showed that there is a further need to support businesses locally. Each Customer Experience Director has built up a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience within the region that they look after.
insight6 is unique for six reasons:
- Customer Experience Directors are based across the entire UK and Ireland meaning clients have someone local, who knows the area, to partner with. As well as being CX experts they deliver world class training and mentoring and help business innovate and improve their customer’s experience.
- The CX products help businesses understand how their clients feel at all stages before, during and after the customer journey.
- Its feedback is easy for the customer to understand, through the new CX portal.
- It has developed a 6-stage process – icx6 – which helps develop the very best customer experience for clients’ customers.
- The team are sector specialists able to benchmark CX findings to help clients define where they are positioned in today’s market.
- Transformation comes as standard
Should we be using more technology in customer facing roles? What currently exists and what are the benefits and limitations?
It sounds like a statistic that cannot be true but by the year 2025, it is estimated that 95% of all customer interactions will be supported by Artificial Intelligence technology.
That may feel like it is a long way into the future but actually, 2025 is only seven years away. Technology is developing at a rapid pace. People are becoming accustomed to using technology at home, in schools and in work so it makes sense that it is increasingly expected by customers.
For a long time now, machines have been making manufacturing tasks more efficient and are usually able to work faster and to a bigger order than humans. With technology advancing at a rapid rate, could it really take a more customer facing role and how would this impact Customer Experience?
Where is technology currently used in Customer Experience?
To help us understand the kind of customer facing technology that is available and how it has had an impact on customer service, we explore six examples of where technology, in one form or another, impacts Customer Experience.
What are they?
Chatbots are found online usually on websites where a customer may be looking for extra information. Powered by rules, and often artificial intelligence, they can be used by businesses to replicate an online chatting tool with a human in order to point a customer in the right direction.
There are a number of different chatbots that businesses have started using for multiple different functions. The supermarket chain Lidl uses a Facebook messenger bot to suggest different wines to customers. You can ‘message’ the bot telling it what you are going to eat, or what kind of ingredients you are using and the bot will message you back with some suggestions. Similarly, clothing brand North Face has a function on its website where a chatbot will ask you a series of questions about what you are looking for in a jacket. By typing in answers to questions, such as where you will be wearing the jacket and what style of pockets you are after, the bot will recommend certain jackets based on the answers.
How does this impact the Customer Experience?
Chatbots provide a quick and simple solution to customers who are looking to resolve an issue or looking for some information. Instead of having to search the website themselves, or waiting to talk to someone, chatbots offer instant support. However, the problem lies when the chatbot is unable to resolve a customer’s query which could result in frustration. It is too early to say whether functions such as Lidl and North Face’s unique ways of searching for products is something that will catch on or whether it is a novelty phase that will pass.
According to Gartner, 70% of all customers expect a company’s website to include a self-service application without having to interact with a human.
What is this?
Using artificial intelligence, computers are now able to review a large number of documents and flag up any that are relevant. This has proved extremely useful especially to law firms who can use the algorithms to find relevant cases.
How does this impact customer service?
The document analysis itself does not actually have a direct impact on customer experience, in this instance. What it does do however is free up more time for those working in a law firm to spend with the client, meaning it should be made easier to provide excellent Customer Experience.
What is this?
We have all seen the option to go to the self-checkout queue in shops. This is where customers can scan their own items rather than heading over to the checkout manned by a human. The idea is to speed up the process as much more checkouts can be added in a smaller space.
How does this impact customer experience?
It all comes down to speed versus human service. If a customer would prefer a swift exit they would head over to the self-checkout section. If they would rather have a human interaction while shopping they will head over to the original style checkout It is all about having that choice available.
What is this?
Many businesses have now launched applications that can be downloaded onto the customers’ smartphones. Banks are a prime example of a business that is moving away from customer interaction in store and moving towards online. It is now possible to move money between accounts, open new accounts, apply for a credit card and even pay in cheques all via your phone.
How does this impact customer experience?
Again, it is all about efficiency and making the process easier for the customer. If it is possible to do something remotely or on the go then it is hugely time saving and beneficial to the customer.
Benefits and limitations
To weigh up the potential of using customer facing technology as part of the Customer Experience, we take a look at the benefits that it brings and the limitations that it has.
Looking at the examples above of where technology has already had an impact on customer service, you may spot a common theme – there is limited, or no, human interaction.
This is a massive limitation on using technology in customer facing roles as human emotion is one of the driving factors in customers’ decisions. Technology cannot emote these reactions in the same way that humans can.
Technology can provide intrigue and wonder, but it cannot greet a customer in the same way a human can, it can’t build a relationship with the customer, and it can’t go that extra mile.
Using technology instead of humans can also limit the opportunities for upselling. While it may be quicker and more efficient for customers, machines cannot sell additional products or services in the same way that a human can. Machines can make them aware of offers, as some self-checkout machines have started doing, but the average customer is much more inclined to say no.
|Speed and efficiency||Lack of emotion|
|Up to date technology||Frustrations can’t be resolved|
|Data and insights||Perception there is lack of care|
|Cost cutting||Lost opportunity for upselling|
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence (AI), to put it in its simplest term, makes it possible for machines and technology to perform human like tasks such as playing chess, scanning and registering products in a shopping basket and driving a human-less car. The more AI powered machines interact with humans the more they learn. For example, a chatbot will redetermine its responses for future ‘conversations’ after each interaction by learning from the human’s response.
Customer Experience is only a small portion of the uses that AI has and will have in the future. Even if you haven’t come across it in a shop, bank, solicitors you will certainly have seen it used somewhere.
We have support systems such as Siri or Cortana on our phones and laptops, we use apps such as google maps to track live traffic updates and planes use autopilot features. Using technology and artificial intelligence has become a massive part of everyday life.
The ability to learn is the key to why people believe AI can have a big impact on Customer Experience in the future.
You don’t have to have the most incredible technology to provide world-class Customer Experience. Having a brilliantly trained team who know how to communicate with your customers is much more important, but it does offer a special alternative and efficient way for customers to find information, particularly online.
It is important to remember that Customer Experience is about serving customers – there needs to be a careful balance struck between using technology and providing a human interaction. It is no use having all of the latest technology if the customer can’t find what they are looking for, gets frustrated and doesn’t have access to a human to find a solution.
We live in a time when results are expected immediately. Things happen so quickly – communication, entertainment, deliveries – they are all just a few clicks away.
It is true that technology has helped to make us more efficient in that sense, but it also comes with a warning. It will be the brands which adopt a hybrid approach and find the right balance which really benefit from customer facing technology.