Customer Experience Consultancy, Customer Service

We have for years been throwing around the hot potato of customer loyalty – every client wants it, every client talks about incentivising it, so how are we in a place where customers are grossly penalised for their loyalty?

 

It is said that 13 million households are paying a hefty loyalty penalty across products and services, some essential. For loyalty to a broadband provider, customers on average incur a loyalty penalty of £113 pa after their initial contract period – that’s almost a 50% increase on the initial price. For home insurance, a customer buying​ ​the​ ​average​ ​cheapest combined​ ​policy​ ​and then staying loyal would​ ​pay​ ​an​ ​extra​ ​£13​ ​after​ ​1​ ​year​ ​and​ ​£110​ ​after​ ​5 years.

 

Companies certainly exploit their customers’ tendency to stay rather than go, but is staying a conscious customer decision? Is it even loyalty at all. “I didn’t want to stay, I just didn’t get around to leaving”.

 

These days customers are more likely to notice a​ ​price​ ​increases​ ​but still only a quarter​ of them do! The other three quarters don’t even notice the increase. Of those customers that do notice the increase, only a third renewed without checking for better deals first. That implies a conscious decision on the part of customers ‘not to bother shopping around’. But is it? In reality many of these contracts auto-renew a short while after the new price is communicated. How many of those customers just run out of time or simply forget – life’s hectic, right?

 

How does a customer feel when they realise they’ve slipped into another 12-month contract at an inflated price because they missed the window of opportunity to switch? Managing household contracts and making wise and well thought out purchasing decisions feels like full time job in my house! Are companies taking advantage of us time poor customers?

 

They sure are. And they are also taking unfair advantage of vulnerable customers who are at a greater risk of experiencing the loyalty penalty. Older and lower income groups are more likely to ‘stick’. Customers aged 65 and over are more than twice as likely than younger customers to have been in the same contract for over 10 years.

 

Customers who don’t switch away can no longer be considered loyal. Too many are simply still your customers because they have failed to get away. One day they might – what are the chances they would ever come back? Maybe the real test of loyalty is not whether a customer stays but whether, having left, they harbour a desire to come back.

 

And if you want to see an example of a delightful approach to customer experience at that awkward moment when a customer leaves you – cancel your Spotify subscription. You will be presented with a goodbye playlist of songs that will warm your heart and make you smile, feel valued and looking forward to returning. I have both cancelled and returned.

 

Heart-warming Customer Experiences by Customer Whisperers

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The Self-Fulfilling Failure Prophecy

 

At Whisperers we love to challenge the status quo but we also love to introduce really simple ideas that make a huge difference. One of our favourite reactions and we get it all the time from client is “OMG why didn’t I think of that, its obvious!”. Well, all of our clients are very bright people, they didn’t miss the obvious because they were stupid – sometimes the simple things are really easy to overlook or not realise the value of. Whisperers make a big fuss about language too – the words you choose determine how people behave in response.

 

The Lost Property department. Many clients have some form of lost property system, for some clients it is a key function and has a department and set of process all of its own. But it is a Self-Fulfilling Failure Prophecy. These departments (or boxes, whatever they are) collect mountains of lost property, hidden away in dusty cupboards some of which are vast. Items are transported, catalogued, stored and after a period of time, sent to charities or disposed of. Few items get returned to their owners. Every step of that process has a time and money cost.

Think about this process from a Customers’ point of view – and we’ve all been the customer who has lost something. It can be a mini crisis. We need help, we expect help. An item returned to us has weighty customer experience value. Loyalty, Recommendation, Trust and Reputation boost! An item not returned is seen to be lost or stole by the company because surely someone, somewhere knows where it is. Loyalty, Recommendation, Trust and Reputation take a nosedive.

This is not a core business process and its often seen as a nuisance, but from a Customer Experience point of view it is crucially important – it is your Defining Moment.

 

STOP!

 

What if we simply renamed it Found and Returned Property? We have done 2 things immediately. We have changed the mission and purpose of the team/function – the focus is no longer on cataloguing items details and storing them to await a customer making claim. We have also altered customers’ expectations – what they see is an organisation that plays a positive and active role they find and returns things. This perception rubs off on both customers who experience the service and customers who see the service being offered. Of yes, its now become a service not a function.

 

What’s interesting when you do something like this and change the mission, you change the purpose and you change the activities and behaviours of people in the team – more items are returned to their owners. In parallel customer satisfaction increases and so does employee satisfaction. Fewer items are taken through the whole process, so it takes less time and costs less. Returned items get to their owners much quicker as the first step in the process becomes find the owner not catalogue the item. The team act proactively, seeking the customer, using innovative approaches – and what a wow that is.

 

Your Found and Returned property service now is a feature of your customer experience that differentiates. Your Defining Moment becomes your crowning glory.

 

So…. ponder this. What similar opportunities might exist in your organisation?

 

Need some inspiration? No problem! Get in touch using the button below.

 

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Are you ready for Crowd Service?

 

Remote working for contact centre staff has been patchy in its uptake. The technology has existed for years, the appetite to trust remote workers has been slower to develop and it has its challenges, for sure.

But let’s stretch the thinking a little further. Crowd Service. What if the people working remotely, answering customers queries were not your contact centre employees but actual customers? Not only is it possible, it is being done and it delivers very high CSAT/NPS and quality. Giff Gaff is a great example, their innovative approach means the bulk of their customer support is delivered by ‘Ambassador’ customers. Might the days of vast row upon row contact centres be numbered?

 

You may have experienced Microsoft’s Expert customer approach – same principle and personally, having used it to set up my son’s Xbox, I love it! We too have been surprised by just how good customers are at providing service to other customers. This approach can reduce CX costs, increase capacity, maintain quality and increase customer engagement. It reduces contact centre recruitment, induction and onboarding and for clients where attrition is an issue or recruitment is difficult that’s a real win.

 

If you’d like to chat about how Crowd Service might be integrated into your organisation and the benefits/challenges it could bring, we’ll happily share all we know – hit the button below and let’s set it up!

 

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8 out of 10 is only just good enough!

 

Whiskers may have bragged that 8 out of 10 cats prefer it, but in today’s world that simply ain’t quite good enough!

 

We’re often challenged by clients to prove that investing in Customer Experience delivers a significant return on investment. Fair challenge. So let’s think about the potential commercial benefits in terms of Loyalty, Advocacy, Trust and Reputation. And let’s think simply:

 

Loyalty – existing customers continue to buy and potentially buy more

Recommendation – existing customers talk positively influence potential customers to buy from you

Trust – people who want to buy from you feel safe confident doing so and are more inclined to buy new products/services from you, they believe that if something goes wrong you will sort it

Reputation – existing and potential customers have a positive perception of you and are more inclined to buy when the need arises or talk about you positively

 

All good – £+!

 

Organisations who’s customers rate you 9 or 10 out of 10, get exceptionally strong commercial benefits:

 

Loyalty – 96%

Recommendation – 91%

Trust – 96%

Reputation – 85%

 

But as you slide down that customer satisfaction scale, at some point those levels of commercial benefit are reduced by HALF. And most people guess that happens at between 5 and 7 out of 10 – most customers are happy, right? Maybe, but its cost you dear.

 

The commercial benefits are halved at between 8 and 8.9 out of 10 – organisations rated by customers at that level demonstrate:

 

Loyalty – 66%

Recommendation – 46%

Trust – 48%

Reputation – 36%

 

Food for thought?

 

If you’d like to talk about how you make the step from where you are now to consistently achieving customer satisfaction at 9 out of 10 and over or you’d like to work through the commercial benefits for you, get in touch, we’d love to help.

 

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Data from Institute of Customer Service UKCSI