Customer Retention or Customer Acquisition? It’s Not Even Close.

Landing a customer is one thing, but retaining them is a whole different game. It’s a well-known fact that acquiring a customer is more expensive – and more difficult – than keeping one. Let’s face it – a customer knows your brand and is already familiar with your products and services, so – while not effortless – keeping them as a customer has to be easier right?

The proof is in the numbers.

According to studies done by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention by 5% can lead to an increase in profits of 25% to 95%. More to the point, the likelihood of converting an existing customer into a repeat customer ranges from 60% to 70% while the probability of converting a new lead is only 5% to 20% at best.

An article at the Harvard Business Review (The Value of Keeping the Right Customers) summed it up perfectly: “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”

So how do you retain a customer?

The Rise…and Fall…of Loyalty Programs
The last twenty years has seen the rise – and also a bit of a decline – of loyalty programs. For a time, they were a fundamental tool for retaining customers and rewarding return business. But on the retail side, they are beginning to be relegated to “keychain clutter” – cards that are little more than incentive discounts, rather than loyalty-building programs (though some brands are better at it than others).

Airline loyalty programs – namely, frequent flier programs – have also become increasingly unfriendly to travelers, diluting their value. Once restrictions kick in, customer ire rises.

Two points from tell the customer loyalty program story:

  • 68% of millennials say they wouldn’t be loyal to a brand if it doesn’t have a good loyalty program.
  • The top two reasons why consumers stop participating in a loyalty program are: the program did not provide offers that were of interest (56%), and it was too hard to earn points for rewards (54%).

The takeaway: if done right, loyalty programs can increase retention. If poorly implemented, they can increase frustration and customer desertion.

Retention in the Call Center

In the call center environment, retention groups tend to have an additional barrier to overcome. Many customers come to the call having already made the decision to cancel or downgrade service – a decision which the call center agent needs to try and change.

So what methods today actually do work to improve retention?

Some of our retention techniques at CSR include:

  • It’s important to get to the ‘meat & potatoes’ of your customer’s discontent. Ask effective, relevant questions to gain a clear understanding of the customer’s situation, and better understand how you can help them.
  • Listen and respond by using the information you gathered to support your solution. Demonstrate the value and benefits of your products or services to the customer, and more importantly how that value helps resolve their problem or challenge.
  • Go beyond just satisfying the customer. Show that you care about resolving their issues. Make them feel valued and appreciated by expressing genuine interest and compassion.
  • You are the expert & brand ambassador. Display confidence in what you are presenting to the customer.
  • Provide seamless service. Your customer needs TLC – don’t make them jump through hoops. Do what you can to make sure that they won’t have to make a follow up call. You want the customer to ‘walk away’ saying “that was easy.”
  • Last but not least, solve the customer’s problem! Present a compelling solution for the customer to keep your product or service and ask them to stay with your company. The solution should be specific to their needs, and should address the reason for their discontent in the first place.


Authentic Chat: Transform Text-Based Customer Service Delivery

While voice customer service still reigns supreme, over the last decade chat customer service platforms have grown in popularity – surpassing email support. From a Dec. 2016 blogpost at Playvox: Microsoft’s 2016 State of Multichannel Customer Service Report found that 64% of people polled use live chat for customer support on a regular basis. An survey found that…

The Challenges with Call Center QA Analytics

Surrounded by ever more powerful technologies, we are clearly living in the era of big data collection and analysis. Defining Call Center Analytics What, exactly, are call center analytics, and how do they impact call center QA? Analytics are the information that results from analysis of data or statistics. From ‘Call center analytics allows…

Mystery Call Coaching: Leveraging Measurement to Achieve Improvement

QA: Measure All You Want, but Measuring Alone Won’t Change Anything Getting in shape and losing weight is a great analogy for call center quality assurance (unless you’ve decided your New Year’s fitness resolution was just so last year!). In a fitness program, we measure (or weigh) ourselves often – perhaps even daily. In quality…

Achieving FCR: Are Your Customers Satisfied?

Measuring customer satisfaction in the call center is part-art, part-science. But call center QA firms uniformly consider First Call Resolution (FCR) one of the key measures for achieving customer satisfaction in the call center. But FCR – as a measurement tool – is challenged by customers with increasingly complex inquiries for which an immediate answer…

2017 Call Center Trends

2017…yes, we made it! First some good news: call centers aren’t going away this year (well, not exactly – but more on that later). And while call centers are expected to see an uptick in staffing in 2017 (did you know that 4% of working Americans – about 5 million – already work in a…

Proven Strategies Cable Companies Can Use to Retain Customers

In cable television, customer retention is a growing problem – and many of our clients turn to us specifically for retention call center services. Many factors contribute to difficulties with retention, including increased competition. Frequently, customers have issues with: Price Programming or service offerings Service or billing Time constraints Technology Now more than ever, your…

5 Must-Haves for a Successful Call Center Quality Program

An effective call center quality program is vital to keeping your call center running at peak efficiency. But making sure the program itself is also high quality is just as critical. At best, a poorly-designed or badly-executed program will give you an inaccurate picture of what’s working and what’s not. At worst, it can do…

Top 5 Best Practices for Deploying a Behavior-Based Mystery Calling Incentive Program

While mystery calling incentive programs remain one of the most effective ways to encourage agent growth and improvement, it’s important to handle them right. The key word is incentive. Time and again we’ve found that agents respond more favorably to programs they see as opportunities for reward rather than “gotchas” that lead to punishment. Our…

Bringing it into the Home: Customer Service in the Field

Customer service isn’t what it used to be, but I don’t mean that in a negative sense. In fact – by nearly every measure – companies are working harder than ever, from training through resolution, to resolve customer issues quickly and to provide a positive customer experience. Today, Customer service offers fewer and fewer opportunities…