In order to be successful, businesses must grow. While seeking out new business and new customers does play a role in this, retaining existing customers and fostering those relationships so that they become returning customers is equally as crucial. The people working in your inbound call center are on the front lines when it comes to interacting with existing customers and nurturing those relationships, so they also hold the keys to ensuring you turn first-time customers into recurring ones. Here are four ways you can work with the folks in your inbound call center to help improve customer retention.
One of the biggest frustrations of call center agents and callers alike is when agents are so handcuffed that they can do little more than provide information that callers have already seen or accessed elsewhere. When customers call your call center, they do so because they have hit a wall in their ability to troubleshoot whatever problem they are facing and they are looking for your agents to take them the rest of the way to the finish line. Empowering your agents with the skills and capabilities to creatively come to a solution for your customers will stoke trust in your company and brand, plus boost confidence and satisfaction in both your agents and your customers. If customers hang up the phone with their problems solved they will be much more likely to remain customers.
Offer Loyalty Incentives
One thing you can empower agents to do during customer service calls is offer incentives and rewards to existing customers in exchange for brand loyalty. If they are calling frustrated and it becomes clear that their experience may lead them away from the company in the future (even if the agent is able to solve their current problem) rewards or specials that incentivize them to remain customers may be the thing that keeps them from going to a competitor the next time.
The only way to truly know what is making customers decide to stay or go is to ask them on a regular basis. There are a few different ways you can do this. Depending on the flow of the interaction the agent is having with the customer, they can ask the customer questions about their experience and what they see themselves doing in the future during the call. When offering incentives, they can ask whether different ones would influence their decision to bring their business elsewhere in the future—and if nothing being offered is enticing enough to get them to stay, ask them what would be. You can also give customers the option to complete a brief survey at the end of a call, which they may feel more comfortable doing than telling the agents their thoughts directly. Whatever method you choose, collecting this information is crucial to making sure you are taking steps that will support customer retention.
Train and Re-Train Agents
When a customer calls your call center, they expect the person who answers the phone to be knowledgeable, professional and helpful and they don’t care if that person has been on the job for one day, one month or one year. In order to make sure that an agent’s unpreparedness is not the impetus for a first-time customer not to return, frequent and detailed training is key. You should take the time to fully train new agents before they start manning the phones, plus offer tune-up and new skills trainings at regular intervals for experienced agents. This way, when customers call, every agent will be fully prepared to assist.
While training on your products and the solutions you offer may take some time, training on your call center software doesn’t need to. CallShaper’s platform is intuitive and easy for even the least tech-savvy people to pick up. For proof, contact us today.