How Not to Miss Out on Creating Loyalty

It turns out there's a lot more we can be doing to help customers feel valued.

Ask consumers to describe their relationship with a brand and you'll find they describe themselves as the center of the relationship. This isn't new information. In fact, brands know that consumers run the show. Brand managers also know that the minute a brand performs poorly, the consumer is out the door.

Often, a change in brand loyalty happens after a customer service interaction. But why is this, when we know that this point interaction can be a pivotal moment?

It's at this moment that the customer relationship is most vulnerable. But it's also the moment when consumers are most open to loyalty-building. So, how do we get it right?

Start on a Positive

Imagine this scenario: A member of a credit union has questions about her auto loan payoff amount. When she calls in, she knows exactly what she wants to ask the agent so she can resolve her issue and get on with her day. The last thing she wants to do is wait on hold while thinking about all the timely information she needs. In fact, the longer she waits the more dissatisfied she becomes with the interaction, the agent, and the entire credit union brand.

Instead of using this interaction as an opportunity to build loyalty, the credit union has used it as a way to inconvenience and disappoint the customer. Not only should this activity be reduced, it should be eradicated.

Meet or Exceed Expectations

A simple way to start on a positive note is to show customers that their time and efforts are respected as part of every customer service interaction. This can be as simple as supplementing the hold option with a callback option or adding a click-to-callback option in online channels. This enables customers to speak with experts at their convenience, choosing to be called as soon as an agent is available or at a time that works best for the customer.

Once a customer schedules a callback, the brand has created an expectation that greatly impacts the experience. How important is this expectation? Customers who receive punctual callbacks behave as if there was no wait time at all.

Don't Waste Your Second Opportunity

Making good on a callback promise is only part of creating a convenient and respectful relationship--one that encourages loyalty. Once connected with agents, it's crucial that customers are given access to experts who can answer questions efficiently based on information provided (once) by the customer.

Look for any and all opportunities to integrate contact center systems to eliminate collecting data from customers multiple times.

Creating new interactions with customers only to request duplicate data they already provided, to transfer them, or put them on hold doesn't translate into warm fuzzies. It takes the customer right back to a 10 on the frustration scale.

Leave Immediate, Positive Impressions

By putting ourselves in our customer's shoes, it's easy to see opportunities for improvement. Brands are wise to continually test their own customer service systems against the satisfaction to frustration 1 to 10 scale. Anything less than an 8 should be unacceptable. Quick and impactful solutions like callback can leave immediate, positive impressions at a pivotal point in the relationship-building process.

But don't stop there. Look at all your customer service channels, test the processes, and look for tools that put the customer first. Don't miss out on opportunities to build your brand and create loyal customers.

Wes Hayden is CEO of Virtual Hold Technology.