According to research collated by Invesp Consulting, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. And yet that same research also shows that some 44 per cent of companies put a greater focus on finding new customers rather than making sure their existing customers don’t jump ship. So, if it makes more sense to keep your customers satisfied, what’s the best way to go about it?
Ilya Pozin, founder of Pluto TV wrote an article for the Inc. website earlier this year in which he outlines his belief that the customer experience is becoming more critical than ever. He argues that whilst most companies invest heavily in getting their online digital service experience right – and so they should given that some 55 per cent of consumers surveyed reported that a single bad website visit would alter their opinion of a brand – they should take care not to neglect the offline customer experience because it can be just as important.
Pozin cites four practical steps that business owners can take to keep their customers happy.
1. Handwritten notes
In a world of the daily deluge of email, the warm and fuzzy feelings that come from receiving a handwritten note saying a simple ‘Thank you’ or ‘That was a great presentation you gave’ shouldn’t be under-valued. Hand-writing anything to someone is a uniquely valuable and personalised experience, says Pozin, and all the more effective for being unexpected.
2. Get rid of the service roadblocks
Pozin believes that the typical customer service is mediocre at best, typified by crazy hold times, ineffective solutions and customer service agents who couldn’t care less. He quotes RightNow’s annual research which shows that 86 per cent of adults in the US will pay more for a better customer experience. Eighty-six per cent! That shocking figure ought to be enough to inspire any service organisation to seek ways to improve the customer experience.
Pozin goes on to point out that one of the good things that comes out of doing so is that it often entails giving customers the tools they need to help themselves. Introducing self-service, for example, can save companies huge amounts of money each year, reducing the burden on call centres and increasing the quality of their service levels.
3. Advantageous personalisation
Now that the General Data Protection Regulation has come into play, companies should give their customers a level of personalisation that makes them happy for the company to keep their data. Pozin believes companies will have to go above and beyond to earn the right to keep customer information – and that’s no bad thing.
4. Coming from the top
Forward thinking leadership that actively promotes customer-led initiatives from the C-Suite down will win the day, says Pozin. Employees must see visible evidence of senior management walking the customer experience talk. It’s no longer enough to say that a great customer experience is something the customer can hope for. They should expect it as their right, and that simply must begin at the top.
Pozin concludes by saying that the good news is that companies who take the time to willingly provide excellent customer experiences will stand out in their industries; not only attracting new customers but happily retaining existing customers, too. Forget participating in a price war, he says. Customers will happily pay more when they know a company values them.