What contact center doesn’t have a wall plastered with letters and e-mails from customers praising the extra work that service reps went to on their behalf?
Indeed, 89 of the 100 customer service heads we surveyed said that their main strategy is to exceed expectations.
And managers often assume that the more satisfied customers are, the more loyal they will be.
But, like others before us (most notably Fred Reichheld), we find little relationship between satisfaction and loyalty.
You can probably think of a few examples, such as the traveler who makes a point of returning to a hotel that has a particularly attentive staff. Now ask yourself: How often do consumers cut companies loose because of terrible service? They exact revenge on airlines that lose their bags, cable providers whose technicians keep them waiting, cellular companies whose reps put them on permanent hold, and dry cleaners who don’t understand what “rush order” means.
Dating direct customer services telephone number
Most customers encounter loyalty-eroding problems when they engage with customer service.(For more detail, see the sidebar “About the Research.”) Our research addressed three questions: We defined “loyalty” as customers’ intention to continue doing business with a company, increase their spending, or say good things about it (or refrain from saying bad things).During a three-year period, we surveyed more than 75,000 B2C and B2B customers about their recent service interactions in major non-face-to-face channels, including live phone calls, voice prompts, web, chat, and e-mail.The idea that companies must “delight” their customers has become so entrenched that managers rarely examine it.But ask yourself this: How often does someone patronize a company specifically because of its over-the-top service?But a study of more than 75,000 people interacting with contact-center representatives or using self-service channels found that over-the-top efforts make little difference: All customers really want is a simple, quick solution to their problem.The Corporate Executive Board’s Dixon and colleagues describe five loyalty-building tactics that every company should adopt: Reduce the need for repeat calls by anticipating and dealing with related downstream issues; arm reps to address the emotional side of customer interactions; minimize the need for customers to switch service channels; elicit and use feedback from disgruntled or struggling customers; and focus on problem solving, not speed.Doing so increases the likelihood that they will return to the company, increase the amount they spend there, and speak positively (and not negatively) about it—in other words, that they’ll become more loyal.To meet customers’ expectations, reps should anticipate and head off the need for follow-up calls, address the emotional side of interactions, minimize the need for customers to switch service channels, listen to and learn from disgruntled customers, and focus on problem solving, not speed.Second, acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs, and decrease customer churn.According to conventional wisdom, customers are more loyal to firms that go above and beyond.