Data: Finding Customer Retention Issues

This guest post is written by Jeannie Walters CX Consultant.

Many companies are so dependent on metrics alone they’re often blind to small moments that create pain points in the customer journey. Small as they are, they chip away at your customer experience while you focus on the “bigger things.”

These nuanced moments often remain invisible in a data-driven environment. But over time, this steady “chip, chip, chip…” creates a chasm that’s claimed far too many customer relationships before its impact shows up clearly on your dashboard.

It’s far too common to assume acquisition rates are high enough to offset a decline in retention rates. Don’t be fooled into thinking that data is balancing out! It’s been well-documented that it’s much more expensive to attract new customers than it is to keep existing ones. This kind of thinking can cause a lot of damage for the long term.

Are you ready to put your charts aside and expose those small moments before they do undeniable damage?
Consider some of these ways to expose and eliminate those unseen pitfalls in the customer journey.1. What if you’ve made the wrong changes?
Customers aren’t always thrilled with changes we make in hopes of creating a better experience, and they rarely let us know their feelings. Think about your recent changes from their perspective. A change in your product, the experience, the pricing structure, or anything else could silently lead customers away to your competition.2. Check if you’re doing business on their terms.
This one can be incredibly subtle, so it takes special attention! Perhaps you’re not resolving issues on the channels where some customers are the most comfortable communicating. Or maybe a recent press release makes them feel insecure about an impending merger. There is typically a small group that is quick to jump ship, but don’t dismiss that as part of the deal while it slowly grows into a crowd. (There’s that “chip, chip, chip” again!) That small group can be instrumental in informing you on how to keep your churn rate from spiraling out of control. Take advantage!

3. Is the quality of your front-line service consistent?
It’s no wonder that rapidly growing companies or those with high employee churn see huge fluctuations in satisfaction rates. Is every customer-facing agent trained and empowered to deliver the same stellar service as your well-seasoned superstar? Because when he is suddenly replaced with a well-meaning but less knowledgeable sidekick, your customers will feel like they’ve been short-changed. It’s critical to expose weaknesses and inconsistencies not only in training, but in how talent management and client communications are handled on a continual basis.

4. Customer expectations are always changing. Are you delivering?
It’s not always about groundbreaking new technology with a lot of surrounding fanfare or publicity. It’s often subtle – like when an underdog quietly gets a flood of new prospects by offering simple ease of use or reducing customer effort. They might not have the budget to create a huge buzz around their innovation, but they often stake their claim on your once-loyal customers. Don’t assume what’s working for your customers today will still work for them tomorrow. Always look for opportunities to innovate.

5. Check up on your competitors, and check again.
That struggling startup you never considered a threat may have made great improvements in the customer experience while your back was turned! Don’t wait until they’ve stolen a bunch of your customers to take them seriously. Savvy competitors seek out weaknesses in the experiences you deliver so they can offer what your customers have been missing out on for far too long. Remember when we used to buy books in book stores? Who thought Amazon would become as successful as they are now?

If unchecked, at least one of these is a ticking time bomb.
If you’re willing to dig in to find these subtleties with a heightened awareness of how much impact they can have in the long run, you can quickly neutralize those hidden pain points before they add up to devastating losses.

And as much as we all need them, please Don’t be fooled by the metrics. Look for nuances that Don’t stand out in your data.

If it’s easier for customers to find a better experience elsewhere than to continue doing business with you, you have a much bigger customer retention problem than you think. Don’t underestimate the nuances.

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