3 Strategies to Make Loyalty Your Currency

You've painstakingly crafted your brand, your organization lives and breathes its values, and customers are responding to its message. During these uncertain times protecting that brand image is paramount. As business changes, so does the need to establish processes to interact with customers, secure feedback, answer questions, and resolve issues. You need a contact center. Whether your approach is homegrown or outsourced, it’s imperative to institute an engagement strategy and to measure how effectively the contact center is maintaining your brand image and recovering unhappy customers.

After all, loyalty is your currency. Yes, coupons and gift cards can demonstrate that you value feedback and that you are willing to acknowledge bad experiences and provide some recompense. However, many consumers simply want to know that your organization cares about their concerns and acts upon them.

As you evaluate your own contact center or consider partners for outsourcing, keep in mind three criteria to inform decisions: 

1) Be Responsive

Negative experiences impact a customer’s willingness to return, which impedes the future relationship (revenues). When a frustrated customer wants to tell you about their bad experience, your brand needs to be available to listen. To this end, your organization must have effective workforce management and agent engagement measures.

KPI: Service Level is a measure of how quickly customers are served and Abandonment Rate measures customers who were unable to engage you. If agents are connecting with customers 80% of the time in less than 20 seconds, and no more than 5% of consumers abandon their call, then you have hit a solid performance level for engaging with customers.

2) Make resolution a priority

An apology for a poor service experience is not a differentiator - everyone does it. Your customers are looking for a connection. Resolution requires that customers feel they’ve been heard and had a great resolution. Without that, customers may defect to a competitor.

KPI: First Call Resolution measures the percentage of customer contacts that ended in resolution at time of engagement (no follow-up required). Strive for this number to exceed 90%. Using a post-call automated survey that specifically asks the customer, “Are you satisfied with the proposed resolution?” will help you evaluate your resolution activities and options. First Call Resolution should match customer sentiment on resolution offered to be in the sweet spot.

3) Trust your best talent with customer relationships

Service agents are brand ambassadors and must be up to the challenge. Highly skilled, trained, and motivated agents need only apply. As mentioned, customers expect responsiveness, a personalized connection and action. They also expect their service agents to be highly knowledgeable and empowered to resolve issues. Remember that customers have already had one poor experience – they should not be set up to potentially encounter a second one.

KPI:  Ensure every customer service associate has completed and passed with top marks all available customer-handling and tool-utilization training. 100% complete = Certification. Strive to ensure 100% of agents remain certified at all times when facing customers.

Contact centers are fertile ground for the expression of positive customer experience and the championship of customer concerns. If you've not given a contact center  strategy correct thought, you could be tarnishing your brand dramatically, and without measurement, you may not know it.

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Contact Center: A solution for your business?

Does your organization execute customer service in a flawless, exceptional manner?  It’s unlikely you’ve said yes – if you have, congratulations! It’s more likely that you’ve recognized opportunities within your organization to improve upon the customer experience. 

What Disappointed Customers Need

Customers who choose to contact you about a negative experience have three core needs. They want to:

  • Be heard
  • Be respected
  • See prompt action to resolve their problem

A customer reaching out to you because of a negative experience (real or perceived) should be recognized as an opportunity to preserve brand reputation, develop a lifelong customer relationship and preserve your share of the customer wallet spend.

How Should Your Brand Respond?

1. Make it easy to give feedback

Do you provide a toll free number for customers to contact you? Do you have office hours that are greater than 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday? Do you offer an ability to connect with your company via phone, chat, web comment or e-mail? You customers want access to you by their chosen means and at their chosen times. This is customer convenience and consumers link this to respect. Are you limiting this exposure and thus reducing your effectiveness to resolve issues and build brand champion customers?

2. Listen

Understand what customers are experiencing. Being passionate about speaking to your customers is important but it’s not enough. Showing respect for your customer means working with them in convenient ways. And make sure that all representatives working with your customers respond to them using your brand’s “voice.”

3. Follow through

Even the most passionate customer centric culture will fail to impress your customers if they can’t reach you or are faced with unnecessary delays or frustrating processes. Waiting in queue on the phone or receiving e-mail responses past 48 hours erodes good will. You must assess if you’re resources are sufficient to match the communication demand and perhaps seek an external partner to help you engage your customers more timely and across channels. Focus on building and responding quickly and effectively. First time resolution should be a goal for everyone.

4. Consider Outsourcing

Managing a contact center is often outside a brand’s core competency. A contact center is a great option – if you find the right partner. Things to look for in your outsourcing partner include  hours of operation, ability to quickly scale when demand increases, responding in your brand voice, and building trust that teams resolve issues quickly and effectively.

It becomes a matter of TRUST!

As you look to grow your company and build brand loyalty, you need customers who actively advocate for your brand. Clearly one component of this strategy is to have a robust communications network that allows you to engage customers, correct mistakes, answer questions and satisfy your customers inquiries.

If you would like more information about Market Force Information’s contact center capabilities, please schedule a briefing with us and we will walk you through our offering for managing your calls, web comments, and social media to create an exceptional brand experience.

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