By Brenton O'Callaghan, Avantra
Customer loyalty has never been a race to the finish line. More so, the term has come to define the slow yet methodical build that creates a foundation for your company to grow on. The best way to retain customers is to deliver excellent service and produce great work. However, a superior product coupled with less-than-average customer service can result in a disgruntled customer that can affect your company image and your bottom line.
Radical change is now the standard when considering consumers and their evolving behavior in response to the COVID-19. For many companies, understanding which changes are likely to stick around will help companies plan for the recovery they want and need. What has become paramount to understand is what it means to create and maintain customer loyalty with new and current customers and avoid the possibility of churn at all costs.
Churn becomes a real headache for many companies as it merely shows how good (or bad) they are at keeping customers on their side. As businesses continue transitioning their technology infrastructure from on-premise to the cloud, or a mix of both with a hybrid cloud model, loyalty becomes the number one form of currency for many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies.
When customers are unsatisfied, they stop doing business with you. It's that simple.
More businesses are moving their technology stack from siloed, on-premise software installs to the cloud in search of improved accessibility and reliability. But with this switch comes tough competition. Business leaders with their fingers on the pulse of change understand that if clients are evaluating other SaaS options, they have the opportunity to stop clients in their tracks from switching to another vendor.
To outshine the competition and reduce customer churn, organizations should take the following practices into account:
Rethink Customer Service
Reconsider how you're connecting with consumers while addressing their needs. Amid the global pandemic, companies expect to encounter structural changes and upheaval across multiple segments of their business. Running a company at scale, without a well-planned customer support system in today's tech ecosystem, is next to impossible unless you consider automation.
Leaders realize their customers are sophisticated, educated, tech-savvy, and more demanding than ever. Meaning, it has become mandatory to cater to their needs to the greatest extent, making automation your next best bet on providing a top-level customer experience. Thanks to AI (Artificial Intelligence), customer service duties such as customer support tasks, ticket creation, routing queries to the correct customer support teams, and improvised response times, can happen simultaneously and seamlessly. The outcomes? Minimized human-to-human touchpoints, reduction of errors, and, most importantly, time is saved.
Build A Solid Experience With Future Forecasting
As customer priorities shift, companies are tasked with making insightful accommodations for customers in ways that drive product usage and the renewal of the service. One way to do this is to build on the customer-client experience through constant future forecasting.
Future forecasting allows companies to provide enhanced customer service by predicting imminent scenarios and preparing for them. Anticipating customer demand involves looking at the services and products your client is currently using for their business and extracting the data from their usage to predict trends. The key here is asking for the data because your organization cannot accurately assess how to move forward without it. In this instance, trust becomes a necessary form of currency. With trust, you will have the tools to predict their needs. This process goes far beyond your current customers; you must also think about potential future customers. Our ability to increase customer loyalty stems from helping our clients forecast how to embed IT within the future of their IT operations.
Self-Help Tools Becomes Vital To The Customer
COVID-19 has proven that through chaos emerges innovation. In times like these, driving value for your customers often means revolutionizing what consumers value most about your service or product offering. Besides reassuring customers that your company's current services and products remain intact, it's essential to communicate what resources have been created to help them through these uncertain times. This may require servicing your customers in new ways by providing self-help troubleshooting materials or sharing how they can expand your product's use into other areas of their business.
Going digital during COVID-19 is not only reserved for non-tech related industries. Tech leaders also have had to reimagine digital at every state of their business, not just one. Organizations will emerge from the pandemic with loyal customers by approaching business with the right "customer-centered" attitude.
Even as customers in every industry and vertical spend less, they are continually searching for trusted companies and partners to help with their business sectors, even more so, in uncertain times. Regardless of your sales or marketing strategy to win and retain customers, loyalty remains vital to drive repeat customers and sustain business continuity.