Consumers have countless options at their fingertips in today's competitive market. From tables to tablets, the choices are endless across industries. Such possibilities, however, put the consumer in control, giving them the power to drive (or harm) long-term loyalty and retention in the end.You see, while competition continuously pushes brands to innovate and create, it also makes differentiation harder to achieve, Thus, companies must rely on exceptional customer service and experience to attract and retain customers, as these elements are the only qualities firmly within their control. Leaders, of course, are well aware of this fact, for they've had to battle this issue for quite some time, but many still struggle to deliver on the promise they've made to their brand and to their customers.
Ujjal Kohli, CEO of Preact, explains that there are numerous ways in which customer strategy can nosedive, no matter the underlying intention. From ineffective relationship building and overselling, to inferior customer service and weak marketing tactics, these factors can easily make or break customer retention. But that doesn't mean companies can't recover. Kohli notes that there are a variety of ways customer success professionals can tackle these issues, including a rigorous process for improving on-boarding, adopting a proactive approach to customer relationship management, and an analytic approach to matching customer behavior with likelihood of churn.
"Improving customer success and reducing churn requires a proactive approach," Kohli emphasizes. "Don't wait for a customer to voice displeasure with your product. Instead, use health scores to identify any potential issues early on and then get ahead of those issues before they become bigger problems."
Here, Kohli shares his four ingredients for improving customer support and reducing churn:
1. Conduct quarterly business reviews--Create and sustain an open dialogue with customers to identify issues that may arise before they lead to churn.
2. Survey customers to gain insight--Learn how customers feel about your products and services to determine which features might need improvement.
3. Monitor customer health scores--Be proactive. If customer health scores drop below their usual pattern, call the individual to explore what went wrong.
4. Build and maintain relationships--Connect with consumers regularly to ensure they feel comfortable coming to you with any problems to avoid churn.
By clearing the pathway for communication, leaders have the opportunity to collect relevant data and gather insight into how they can bring their customer service strategy to the next level.
"Data science and machine learning continue to enhance decision making across the business world," Kohli adds. "From marketing to customer success professionals, leaders now realize that intuition isn't enough to inform the best decision. Data is needed to measure progress against strategic goals--customer acquisition and customer retention, for example--and also to inform the best next decision to make. Which message should I send to boost conversions? What behavior in the first week is most predictive of retention?"
Leaders, however, must be sure not to drown themselves in excess data, as too much of a good thing can be bad for the company, as well. Brands must strike their own healthy internal balance to guarantee that external relationships reach optimal levels on the journey toward improved retention.