The relationship with a customer does not conclude following a purchase and the customer experience lifecycle is no longer a line with a beginning and ending. It is merely the beginning of your relationship. The customer experience lifecycle has become circular, with retention and referral connecting a happy customer to continued life with a company. The cost of retaining and continuing your relationship with a current customer is four to 10 times less than the cost of acquiring a new customer. Strong customer service and post-purchase experiences could be the key to strong retention and continued customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty is tested as soon as the first customer service call is placed. A recent study by PH Media Group asked opinions on customer service handling relating to continued customer loyalty. The study showed that 59 percent of respondents believed if the first call with a company’s customer service department wasn’t conducted properly that they will turn their loyalty elsewhere. Every call and interaction should be conducted with the utmost quality and sincerity, creating a customer service culture surrounding your company.
Depending on which generation your company is targeting, the reliance on phone calls differs, though the necessity to deliver strong customer service on each channel remains the same. The older generations tend to utilize traditional channels of customer service, specifically phone calls, when reaching out for assistance. In the 55-64 year-old age group, 63 percent stated a negative customer service phone experience would mean no longer being loyal to the company. Millennials were more tolerant, but not by much. 54 percent of this age group would switch their loyalty due to negative customer service experiences. Investing in your company’s customer service will encourage stronger retention.
Why does the first phone call matter most? It is your first impression post-purchase. Phone calls are still one of the most important lead conversion tools, turning one-time purchasers into loyal customers and advocates. To ensure top service, calls should be scrutinized to ensure consistent service. The tone and manner of the phone calls should be strong, lending an understanding ear to customers. Courtesies as simple as calling the customer by their name could go a long way. Escalations should be done swiftly in order to ensure each customer’s concerns are addressed simply and quickly. Once customers feel they are taken care of by each employee they interact with, their loyalty will grow and word of mouth will extend.
A classic business rule states that 20 percent of your customers will bring 80 percent of your revenue. The first service call could assist in determining if that customer will fall into the 20 percent. Every customer should be treated like part of the 20 percent. Each customer’s loyalty and business will be held to the highest standard. It all starts with the first call.