How many deals have been closed and relationships salvaged from one simple sentence:
“Are you free to have a chat about this?”
This easy tactic has been clinching deals and strengthening relationships since the dawn of business.
That’s because conversations improve customer retention, and we want to show you why.
What Are the Benefits of Having Conversations With Your Customers?
Conversations, the simple interactions between you and customers, can improve your customer satisfaction and drive growth.
How? Because they’re the starting point for action.
Using conversations to follow up on customer feedback, listening, showing you’ve really listened, and demonstrating how you’ll tackle issues and improve, is what really drives customer loyalty.
Additional benefits of taking the time to have conversations with your customers include:
They humanize your brand. Many brands, particularly large corporations, can often appear cold and impenetrable to customers. Unless they’re a prominent account with a dedicated contact, your customers are likely to experience a different customer service agent every time they reach out to you. If this is the case, then having all agents trained to engage in polite, professional conversation can improve your customers’ experience and put a face to your brand.
Follow up on feedback for deeper insights. Surveys like Net Promoter Score (NPS) are crucial for collecting customer sentiment. However, to effectively conduct a root cause analysis, or to dig down into their perspective, you may need more details. Conversations are a great way to access them.
They show you’ve really listened. From your customers’ perspective, participating in the surveys you send out is only valuable insofar as they can see you’ve acted on their input. If they don’t see any shift in your behavior based on the feedback they provide, you could lose them to churn. Your customers want to feel seen, heard, and understood.
This process of acting on and responding to feedback is called closing the loop. It’s the moment at which you consider the information you’ve received from your customers and act on it, quickly and effectively. Taking this a step further, by actively discussing your next steps with your customers can help to maintain their loyalty.
Convert detractors to promoters. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a minute. Imagine they’ve had a terrible experience and have taken the time to tell you about it through one of the relationship or transactional surveys you’ve sent out. A short while later, they receive a phone call from one of your customer service agents — a personal conversation, to talk this issue through and find a solution.
This simple act could change a potential detractor’s impression of your company completely, and could even convert them to a promoter. After all, research suggests that an estimated 11% of customer churn could be avoided if businesses reached out to unhappy customers.
Protect your bottom line. Losing customers is expensive. Businesses in the U.S. miss out $1.6 trillion from losing customers to competitors. Loyal customers, on the other hand, cost less to manage, and are easier to upsell and cross-sell to — so much so that they’re likely to spend up to 140% more with your brand over time.
Leverage your customers for referrals. Conversations can also be a valuable moment to personally and authentically ask customers to recommend you to their friends and colleagues. It’s an important action to take as that’s one of the most important benefits of customer loyalty.
How Can You Increase and Improve Your Customer Conversations?
Now that we’ve established how important conversations are in your customer retention strategy, let’s take a look at how you can go about increasing and improving the conversations you have with your customers.
Know the value of your customers. While the ideal situation is to speak personally to all of your customers, this may not always be possible. That’s why getting insight into the value of individual customer accounts will be important to know where to direct your resources.
We’ve found that the majority of B2B brands (70%) aren’t tying their customer experience insights to financial data. However, when some customer accounts have the potential to be 100 times larger than others, this should be a fundamental part of how your retention strategy works.
Account Experience links this valuable information to your revenue growth to help you see the value of churn risks. With this information, you can talk to your customers knowing how much revenue is on the line.
Pick the right channel. A conversation doesn’t have to be an in-person, sit-down meeting. Instead, it’s important that you pick the medium that’s best suited to the conversation you need to have and the customer you need to have it with.
Your conversation might take the form of a phone call, for example, or an email, or the live chat function on your website. Other customer bases might be more familiar and comfortable with channels like text and social media. In many instances, steering away from formal channels, such as email, can be conducive to having relaxed, open, human interactions.
Pick the Right tone. In order to engage your customers, you need to communicate with them in the right tone. Undoubtedly, it is somehow difficult to find out new ways to communicate with them but there are hundreds of templates available, and you can paraphrase them to save your time and effort.
Ask questions. One of the key attributes of a good conversationalist is someone who asks the right questions at the right time. Don’t pester your customers with an endless list of enquiries. Instead, learn to ask insightful questions that cut to the core of their concerns.
Prioritize after-sales conversations. Were your customers happy with their orders? Are they comfortable with the onboarding process? Do they have comments or questions? Was there something else they were thinking of buying?
Engaging with your customers after they’ve made a purchase is an excellent way of weeding out issues before they become problematic. This attention to detail in your customer service can also help you upsell and cross-sell: 87% of customers who have a great experience with your company are likely to make another purchase.
Get organized. Increasingly, customers don’t just want to discuss your products and services with you. They also want to know about how you offset your carbon footprint, whether your components are sustainably sourced, and what corporate social investment initiatives you undertake.
Gather the information to address complex, but frequently asked questions in a centralized place where your customer service team can access it easily. Having this information on hand will not only help you come across as professional and efficient but will also help you to deal with these queries quickly.
Running an effective retention program involves many things, but making conversations a priority is an important means of ensuring your customers feel valued and heard, which, in turn, improves loyalty.
How CustomerGauge Can Help
Knowing exactly how, when, with whom, and what to communicate can be tricky. Especially if your business is finding it difficult to engage with the many requests it receives every day.
Streamlining this process by having a firm handle on your NPS, and developing a robust customer experience management strategy and customer retention program can help.
Sound overwhelming? It isn’t with us.
At CustomerGauge, we teach all our clients Account Experience (AX), the customer retention methodology we designed specifically with B2B brands in mind.