What’s in this article:
- Five critical mistakes brands make that can destroy even the most loyal customer relationships — and how you can go about avoiding them, yourself
- Systematizing your processes for making will ensure that your team takes effective action based on the valuable customer feedback collected
You don’t need us to tell you that the quality of your customer experience and your ability to retain your customers go hand-in-hand.
Of course, “customer experience” is a pretty broad term — meaning you have a lot of ground to cover to keep your retention rates up. Unfortunately, if even one part of your brand’s experience falls short of your customers’ expectations, you’ll run the risk of losing them for good.
To be sure, there are an infinite amount of ways for your CX to go off the rails, causing your customers to run for the hills. In almost every instance, though, the failure comes down to negligence of the customer’s needs and expectations.
In this article, we’ll dig into five critical mistakes brands make that can destroy even the most loyal customer relationships — and how you can go about avoiding them, yourself.
Let’s get started.
Become the best CRMer you can:
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To Lock or Not to Lock Customers (into CRM Journeys)
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Breaking Your Customer’s Trust
Now more than ever, consumers are basing their decision to stay loyal to a brand on the company’s authenticity and trustworthiness.
According to data collected by Cohn & Wolfe:
- 49% of consumers would pledge loyalty to a brand that proves to be authentic
- 52% refer authentic brands to their friends and family members
- Almost 90% of consumers reward authentic brands with additional engagement and business
Above all else, your customers need to know you have their best interest in mind at all times. If it’s clear that you only appear to be customer-centric — but are really just interested in keeping them on the hook, without much thought to their individual needs — you’re not going to keep them around for very long.
(Keep this idea of customer-centricity in mind, as it plays into everything else we’ll discuss throughout this article.)
Transparency is also a major factor for building trust and retaining your customers, as well. The conscious consumer wants to do business with brands that:
- Operate ethically across the board
- Make their processes, policies, and rationale public knowledge
- Practice internally what they preach to their audience
Unfortunately, no brand is impervious to missteps in these areas.
Everlane and Away, for example, have both faced recent scrutiny for alleged toxic workplaces. While it remains to be seen how these stories impacted the brands’ retention rates, it’s safe to say both brands’ images took a pretty big public hit.
Meanwhile, many brands in the fast-fashion industry are in the midst of an existential, ethical crisis that is causing once-loyal consumers to think twice about where they buy their clothing.
(However, some fashion brands, like H&M, have been focused on becoming more ethically responsible, overall.)
Your loyal customers become loyal because you’ve built a positive reputation for your brand in their minds. If, at any time, your customers have any reason to question the image they have of your brand, they’ll also likely question whether they should return at all.
Delivering Customer Service on Your Terms
The importance of delivering an omnichannel experience to your customers has been well-established by now.
The basic idea, of course, is to be wherever your customers need you to be, with whatever they need from you, at any given moment.
If your team can’t make this happen, your retention rate is going to suffer. Case in point, while omnichannel brands see an average 89% retention rate, omnichannel laggards are only able to retain one-third of their audience. What’s more, 56% of churned customers report a lack of omnichannel experience as their reason for leaving.
Now, providing a true omnichannel experience is incredibly difficult — and may not be logistically realistic for your brand. Still, it’s important to cater to your customers’ expectations as best as possible through each channel you operate on.
If it’s possible to do on a given channel, and it makes sense to deliver it on said channel, you better do it — whatever “it” is. The last thing you want is for your customer to expect to be able to engage with your brand for a specific purpose, but not actually be able to do it.
It’s not just about “omnichannel operations”; it’s about delivering the customer experience on the customer’s terms.
One key area to consider here is customer service and support. If a customer needs your help, they shouldn’t have to work hard to get it. By today’s standards, there’s no excuse to not deliver some kind of 24/7 support to your customers — be it via live support team, automated chatbot, or your many self-service options .
Failure in this area can all but demolish your ability to retain customers: After just one poor customer service experience, one in two customers will churn — with 80% of customers leaving after another subpar experience.
Yes, the “nice-to-have” omnichannel experiences you offer your customers are important. But failure to deliver the service and support your customers need on the channels they prefer will render your other efforts moot — and may prevent your customers from the other experiences your brand has to offer.
Waiting for the Customer to Return
One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is assuming its customers will stay onboard just because nothing has overtly gone wrong.
To be blunt, your customers don’t have to come back. Even your most loyal customers can stop doing business with your brand for any number of reasons — or for no reason at all.
Failure to be proactive essentially leaves their return up to chance.
There are two issues at play, here.
First of all, your customers need to get into the habit of regularly using your product or service, and regularly engaging with your brand. No matter how much your customers love your products, you never want to assume this is enough to keep them coming back for more.
The thing is:
This means delivering timely reminders, triggered offers, and otherwise engaging with your individual customers to get them focused on their next purchase. Over time, you can use these tactics to get your regular customers to engage more frequently and increase their average order value , as well.
Speaking of increasing value, delivering the “same ol’ thing” to a given customer time and time again will get old pretty quickly — causing your customers to lose interest just as quickly. That said, you always want to be thinking of what more you can offer your individual customers whenever they engage with your brand.
Concierge services, VIP programs, special events — and any other creative initiative your team can come up with — are also key to retaining your customers. If your customers feel like they’re missing out by not staying up-to-date with your brand, they’ll be increasingly likely to check in on a regular basis.
Again, the common mistake here is assuming that maintaining the status quo is enough to retain your customers. Eventually, the law of diminishing returns will cause your once-loyal customers to question why they’re still giving you their business.
Don’t ever take your customers for granted — and always be looking for opportunities to deliver more value to them.
Neglecting Customer Feedback
Listening to your customers — and taking action based on their feedback — is an absolute must for keeping them onboard.
For one thing, it allows you to hone in on their specific expectations when engaging with your brand. This, of course, makes it easier for your team to deliver the consistent value needed to retain your customers.
Secondly, soliciting and taking action on your customers’ feedback proves your dedication to their satisfaction. Again, you’re not just operating to your own standards, but to your audience’s expectations.
Conversely, showing relative indifference to your customers’ comments and concerns is the easiest way to lose them — by a very, very wide margin.
It’s surprising, then, that over 40% of companies fail to collect and/or act on customer feedback at all. Knowing that, though, it’s unsurprising that only 12% of consumers actually believe brands when they say they “put the customer first”.
Now, this all isn’t for want of trying: Though teams understand the importance of collecting and acting on feedback, the challenge lies in actually doing so.
There are three keys to making this happen.
First, you need to constantly be on the lookout for feedback from your customers. Whether this means proactively soliciting customer responses at key points in their journey with your brand or seeking out mentions of your brand on the web, customer feedback should never be placed on the backburner.
Similarly, you also want to create opportunities for your customers to provide feedback on an ongoing basis. Remember: Being where your customers are will make it easier for them to communicate their needs to your team.
Finally, systematizing your processes for making data-driven improvements will ensure that your team takes effective action based on the valuable customer feedback collected. Without these standard operating procedures in place, your team’s efforts to improve will easily become disjointed — and will likely fail to bring any meaningful results to your customer experience.
To be clear:
Asking for feedback from your customers only to turn around and not do anything with it won’t reflect positively on your brand. Before you start asking your customers about their experience with your brand, make sure you have a plan in place for how to use it moving forward.
Not Delivering That “Certain Something”
What does your brand offer your customers that no other company in your industry does?
Broadly speaking, most companies in a given industry offer similar products or services that provide a relatively similar level of value. Yes, some brands’ products are objectively higher in quality than others — but, in many industries, the differences between products often comes down to user preference.
That said, it’s crucial that you offer something to your audience that allows your brand to stand out from the competition. In the interest of maintaining a loyal customer base, developing a unique selling proposition is non-negotiable.
It’s just as crucial, though, that your USP aligns with the specific needs, desires, and expectations of your niche audience. After all, if your customers don’t place much value in the “certain something” your brand offers, it’s not going to do much to keep them onboard.
In some cases, your product can, in fact, be your brand’s USP. Pipcorn’s “mini popcorn”, for example, is a healthy alternative to most other popcorn products on the market.
Or, you might offer a guarantee that goes above and beyond anything your competitors provide. LL Bean’s lifetime guarantee on all products is a prime example of such a unique selling proposition.
As we’ve discussed before, Stitch Fix’s concierge-like service helps differentiate the popular fashion brand from the vast majority of clothing stores out there.
The idea is to offer something that your customers would miss if they were to decide to check out a competing brand’s products or services. The more of these “somethings” you offer, the greater your chances of keeping your customers onboard for life will be.
The post 5 Customer Experience Mistakes That Can Kill Your Retention Rates appeared first on Post Funnel.
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