Let’s play a game of good news/bad news.
Bad news first: too much customer churn is detrimental to business growth. The good news? As a contact center manager, you can deliver a positive customer service experience to reduce customer churn. And with 80 percent of your future profits coming from just 20 percent of your existing customers, winning back potentially lost customers means you’re putting dollars back in your company’s wallet, too.
Turns out, you and your team of agents can prevent 85 percent of the churn that happens because of poor customer service. That’s right, a whopping 85 percent.
Even better, data shows you can reduce customer churn by simply fixing a few key elements of your customer service experience. ThinkJar found that 67 percent of churn can be avoided when a company resolves a customer’s issue during their first interaction with an agent. And, another 11 percent can be avoided when a company reaches out to the customer for a routine check-in.
With all that in mind, we’re shelling out 7 fail-proof methods you can use to reduce customer churn. Starting today.
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1. Measure your churn.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: You can’t improve what you don’t measure. It’s impossible to reduce customer churn without data to use as a benchmark. In simplest terms, customer churn equals the number of customers you lose during a given period of time. To calculate your churn rate, divide the number of customers you lost by the number of customers you started with during a specific period of time.
But, there are a number of different metrics you can use to track your churn. Look beyond just your churn rate to get a bigger view of how churn impacts your company. Ask questions like: How many customers are you losing each quarter? What about each month? How long were they your customers before they made their exit? How many customers did you lose in comparison to how many you gained? Dig into the data for deeper knowledge of your customer patterns.
And whether you choose one churn metric or five, stay consistent with what you measure, so you can accurately track your changes over time.
2. Look at your customers’ interaction history to analyze churn.
Gather detailed data about customers who churn. Look at their interaction history and see when (and how often) they reached out to your agents for help. Do you see any themes among your lost customers? Did they all experience lengthy call times or have to call in multiple times for help? See what drove the initial frustrations for your customers, so you can learn who else might be a flight risk.
Then, you can bundle that knowledge together and coach agents to improve how they handle frustrating customer situations. Packing in agent learning opportunities supported by data makes for a proactive service environment. One where agents spring into action to prevent more customers from following the path of those who’ve recently churned.
3. Coach your agents frequently.
Your agents are the drivers of the CX. If they’re not getting the regular coaching and training they need, your customers’ service experience will suffer. Coaching to keep customers starts with empowering your agents. Empower your agents by serving up actionable and relevant coaching moments frequently. Use in-line training to give contextual feedback and start conversations with your agents about their feedback. Doing so will equip them with the knowledge and resources they need to feel comfortable doing their jobs.
When agents have the autonomy to make decisions for the benefit of the customer (without running to you for approval), they solve customer problems the first time around. Empowered agents solve for the preventable reasons your customers churn. They deliver proactive customer service and pay more mind to the customer experience rather than simply seeking management’s approval.
4. Meet your customers where they are and offer up a seamless experience.
A true omni-channel experience solves dozens of pain points in the customer journey. Pain points that are likely to make your customers live among the 85 percent of people who churn due to poor customer service.
According to Internet Retailer, companies with the strongest omni-channel customer service strategies have a customer retention rate of 89 percent, compared to a retention rate of 33 percent for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.
That 89-to-33 percent difference in retention drives a staggering difference in your company’s bottom line. Meet your customers where they are and deliver a real omni-channel customer service to reduce customer churn. Being truly omni-channel means your contact center can move to any channel, at any time, all from a single queue. And not only that, it means all your channels are connected to share information and work together, too.
Learn more about how Sharpen’s true omni-channel platform helps onPeak average a 95 percent CSAT score. Read onPeak’s customer story.
5. Set your customers up for success.
From better onboarding to customer self-help options, give your customers the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. In addition to meeting customers where they are, giving them the option to entirely opt out of a traditional service experience puts control back in their hands. Janet will be a happier customer when she gets to choose for herself to either sift through a few how-to guides or pick up the phone.
The 2017 American Express Customer Service Barometer survey found that six out of ten customers seek out self-service options before reaching out for help from a live agent. With clear and concise training materials at their fingertips, customers will appreciate the ability to be self-sufficient. You’ll create a bond of trust and omnipresent support with your customers, sliming the chance that they’ll leave for a competitor.
6. Ask for feedback.
Okay, this one seems obvious, but it’s all too often ignored. To reduce customer churn, check in with your customers and ask them how they feel about their experience with your company. Direct feedback from customers gives you the most meaningful and accurate data about their overall journey.
Use CSAT surveys to keep a pulse on your customers’ experience. The surveys will help you collect sentiment after interactions. A few simple answers to your carefully crafted questions can signal when a customer is frustrated and at risk to churn. Then, you can use that information to proactively solve the issues. We highly recommend this proactive approach compared to the last-ditch attempt to win a customer back after they’ve already made an exit.
7. Act on the feedback you get.
Here’s the real kicker: you have to act on the feedback you collect from customers. As you solicit feedback and send out surveys, you’re gathering incredibly valuable information to shape your customer experience. Don’t let it pile up before you decide to act on. Time is of the essence when churn comes into play.
A frustrated customer will only stay frustrated for so long. If you’re not working to eliminate your customers’ pains, especially the pains they’ve directly expressed to you, they’ll run to your competition to get the job done. Getting critical feedback…then acting on that feedback… gets the superlative for best way to reduce churn. When it comes to customer loyalty, nothing tops swiftly and directly addressing customer problems to make for a better experience.
Put these methods to the test and start winning back teetering customers, today. With careful intention and data to support your actions, you’ll reduce customer churn and help your company grow.