The Top 5 Ways to Drive Customers Away

31st May 2017

Business analyst have found that it generally takes more effort and expense to gain new customers than to retain existing ones. So, it follows that investing in existing customers is one of the biggest profit strategies around. According to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention results in a 25% increase in profit in the financial services industry. That’s a pretty small effort for such a big payoff.

Yet some companies seem determined to put customer experience (CX) on the backburner when it comes to a growth strategy, apparently never fully calculating the ROI of customer loyalty, advocacy, or retention. One doesn’t have to look far to see such customer experience “strategies” at work. But how did some large and well-known organizations get so good at being so bad?

Well, if you’re aiming to emulate subpar CX performance, there are some tried and tested principles to follow that are guaranteed to leave your customers unimpressed. Here, as a public service advisory on what not to do, are some of the top five “worst practices” observed by companies that excel at giving their customers the short shrift:

1. Always Be Dozing
You may have heard the expression “always be closing,” and that’s great advice: Always try to upsell your customers on extra products and services, even at the most inappropriate times. But it’s also good to “always be dozing”—keeping contact center costs at a minimum by understaffing and replying to customers at a leisurely pace, especially over email, live chat, and social media channels. Incoming phone calls can be ignored if you leave the customer on hold long enough, and “courtesy disconnects” can encourage more persistent customers to take the hint.

2. Be Reactive, Not Proactive
When your focus is on the bottom line, it’s possible to cut costs by cutting corners, and that can start with your CX. Spending money to develop self-help website FAQs, offering live-chat prompts for customers browsing your site, or making your call center phone number easy to find are surefire ways to make it too simple for customers to get the help they need. And forget about anticipating customers’ desires by offering proactive automated voice messages and app notifications, or by learning from their habits and preferences. If customers want to engage with your company, they will find a way.

3. Continue Thinking Omnichannel is a Fad
In the movie Ghostbusters, crossing the ghost-trapping energy streams resulted in certain doom. The same thing must then apply to the average contact center. With every enlightened company these days focusing on multi-modal, omnichannel integrated contact center solutions, it’s good to remember the virtues of simpler single-channel times. By using omnichannel software to manage customer interactions on the customer journey and bridge the silos between departments of your organization, you could be setting yourself up for success. To avoid this trap, keep departmental interaction reporting isolated and customer experience channels separate, thereby making it difficult to track customer communications effectively.

4. Keep Things Impersonal
Addressing customers by name and being overly friendly may slow down transactions, especially when customers just want to buy something or have a problem resolved. Instead, keep things aloof, businesslike, and dryly professional whenever possible. It also helps if you require customers to identify themselves more than once, or force them to repeat their social security number to every supervisor they ask to speak with during a single call. Above all else, never go off script. The more personable and engaging you are with customers, the longer they may want to interact with you, and those bloated chats and call-time metrics will only make your contact center look woefully inefficient.

5. Let Every Engagement Be Like the First Time
In life, who doesn’t appreciate the sense of freedom that accompanies a fresh start? By never maintaining a coherent, comprehensive history of your customers’ interactions with your contact center—and, of course, never coordinating communications with a single customer across multiple channels—you can ensure that customers always feel the same sense of novelty they experienced the first time they engaged with your brand. After all, who didn’t like the movie Groundhog Day? Always strive to mismanage customer journeys by making it hard for customers to connect with your brand in a consistent way, keeping them confused and guessing with every interaction, every time.

As they say, an obstacle a day keeps the customer away. By building these five principles into your company’s customer experience strategy, you’ll be guaranteed to drive customers away on a regular basis, allowing your company to devote more attention to searching for the bottom line.

Or…your company could be an outlier and do the exact opposite of everything recommended above. It’s your choice, but some billion-dollar businesses really do seem to practice the five missteps above pretty religiously.


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