More than 50% of consumers in the U.S. switched service providers in 2013 due to poor customer experiences. That’s an increase of 5% over 2012. Clearly, customer switching is a problem for U.S. companies. But the problem isn’t confined to just the U.S. It affects companies globally as well. Worldwide, 66% percent of consumers switched companies in 2013—an increase of 4% over last year. If consumer switching isn’t a problem at your consumer, you’re lucky. But that doesn’t mean it can’t become one. All it takes is one bad experience for a customer to bolt. So how can you prevent customers from switching? Provide rich, high-valued customer experiences that exceed customer expectations. That’s what many of the world’s top service-rated companies do.
Poor Customer Service
Poor customer service is among the biggest reasons why consumers switch, if not the biggest.
Customers generally associate the following activities with poor customer service:
- Having to re-contact companies about the same problem
- Being put on hold for an extremely long time
- Dealing with unfriendly, uncooperative employees
- Having to repeat the same information multiple times
- Promising one thing but delivering another
- Making it hard to do business with the company
- Getting different experiences from channel to channel
These experiences can frustrate consumers. So it comes as no surprise that they’re also among the top reasons for switching companies.
What also is no surprise is how consumers chose new companies. They base their choices based primarily on customer service.
High-valued Customer Experiences
The best way to keep consumers from switching to one of your competitors is to provide high-valued customer experiences.
That’s what companies like Apple, General Electric, Toyota, Google, and Southwest Airlines do. Each one works hard at providing good customer service.
In fact, these companies make exceptional customer service a habit. Below are five things you can do to make exceptional customer service a habit at your company
1. Let Consumers Know They’re Valued
Do this as often as possible. It’s critical. A season’s greeting, a birthday wish, an email with special offers just for them—all these things let customers know they’re highly valued.
2. Nurture The Relationship
Dedicate yourself to learning more and more about your customers as the relationship grows. Work hard to overcome the communication barriers between you and your customers. Some companies are good at doing this already. Most aren’t
Up-selling and cross-selling are good for everyone. When you share special promotions, new products, or new services based on personal preferences, it tells customers you really care about them.
Many companies make up-selling and cross-selling a habit by implementing Next Best Action frameworks. They look at a customer’s usage and suggest Best Fit offers in real-time whenever the customer interacts with them and at all touch points
4. For Great Customer Experience, Engage Customers—Don’t Manage Them
Customers don’t want to be managed. They want to be engaged. When you try to manage customers, they start feeling like they’re being manipulated. Nothing will cause a customer to switch faster than feeling manipulated.
5. Provide High-Valued Customer Experiences Throughout The Lifecycle
Some companies think that special promotions drive customer loyalty. They don’t. Loyalty is driven by customer experiences—no matter how trivial the matter. Improve customer experiences throughout the lifecycle and you’ll boost loyalty rates.
Consumer switching threatens every company. That’s because it doesn’t take a lot for customers to bolt—just one bad experience.
Use the 5 habits described above to boost customer loyalty by creating high-valued customer experiences at every touch point.