Are you investing in your customers? If not, you should be. This guide will explore the benefits and best practices of an effective customer care strategy that develops brand trust, loyalty, and long-term profits.
The way you treat your customers says a lot about the core values of your business. What does your strategy say about your company? Here’s how you can make sure it sends a positive message.
- A customer care strategy is a consumer-centric approach that sets the standards for your customer experience team to deliver service and care.
- Retaining customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
- A customer care strategy values long-term consumer trust over short-term profits.
What is a Customer Care Strategy?
A customer care strategy goes deeper than basic customer service. Your business should be consumer-centric, and a customer care strategy makes that possible. It defines the standards your company will uphold for the level of service and care you offer your customers.
Just as a marketing strategy guides ecommerce and marketing initiatives, a customer care strategy sets the infrastructure and policies for your customer experience team. It gives them the tools, training, and goals to solve customer issues and represent your brand. A customer care strategy is a critical piece in the final stage of the customer lifecycle.
Why is a Customer Care Strategy Important for Businesses?
Acquiring a new customer costs five times as much as retaining an existing customer. A company’s probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%, but the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.
With those numbers in mind, why wouldn’t you be investing in your existing customer base?
A customer care strategy helps businesses:
- Understand customer needs, desires, and expectations
- Identify and fix pain points in a customer’s experience
- Deliver consistent levels of support and service
- Increase brand loyalty
- Enhance a company’s reputation
- Encourage positive feedback and word-of-mouth marketing from happy customers
- Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, product design, website navigation, etc.
6 Factors You Should Include in Your Customer Care Strategy
When creating an effective strategy for your business, consider the company values you want to uphold. Here are six factors that should be part of your plan:
1. Product Knowledge
An unhappy customer should not have to be transferred multiple times just to reach someone who knows how the product works.
When customer experience reps are familiar with the products, services, and company policies, they’re equipped to handle issues without needing to escalate. This is a better experience for the customer and the business. One employee can resolve the issue without pulling other people away from important tasks.
Factual responses are only part of the equation. In many cases, customer interactions have emotional exchanges, too. If the business is going to convert an angry first-time customer into a loyal repeat consumer, employees must form an empathetic connection while addressing the issues.
This is a defining difference between customer service and customer care. Do employees go beyond the bare minimum to resolve an issue? Do customers end the conversation feeling like their concerns were heard and taken seriously?
Consumers expect brands to have an omnichannel marketing approach in today’s digital era. This creates multiple touchpoints where prospects and customers interact with your brand, and each of those touchpoints should factor into your customer care strategy.
Your infrastructure must be able to handle multiple forms of communication while keeping tasks as organized as possible for employees. Reps need to seamlessly manage phone calls, emails, live chat, and other points of contact. Many customers also expect brands to respond promptly to comments and direct messages on social media.
Investing in a customer relationship manager (CRM) is one way that companies are addressing these omnichannel challenges.
4. First Contact Resolution (FCR)
One of the fastest ways to lose a customer is to keep escalating them up the ladder and making them repeat their problem over and over.
The experience is irritating for the customer, and it’s also stressful for secondary employees who have to deal with the consequences even though they weren’t involved with the initial outreach.
Providing the proper training can help to alleviate this issue. Another way to minimize transfers is to give your employees the power to act on their own. Trust them to use their best judgment and offer promo codes when appropriate. Let them process refunds, reshipments, no-charge replacements, etc. without micro-managing.
If calls rarely have to be escalated, customers are happier, employees are less stressed, and managers can focus on administrative tasks instead of dealing with angry customers.
If your company makes a guarantee, stand by that promise. But if you can’t do it due to circumstances outside of your control, give your customer care team the tools they need to regain the customer’s trust.
For example, your website guarantees two-day shipping, but a customer receives their package on the third day. Your team shipped the order on time, but the carrier experienced delays en route. It’s not your company’s fault, but the customer still expects you to stand by your guarantee.
A business model that values consumer trust over profits is investing in long-term loyalty.
6. Personal Accountability
Your customer experience team should have a personal investment in seeing resolutions through to the end.
Here is an example of what should NOT happen: A customer is upset that her brand-new purchase broke the first time she used it. The CX rep did everything right – she listened to the problem, apologized, formed an empathetic connection, and promised to send out a replacement at no charge. The customer was satisfied with the resolution.
But the order never made it to the shipping team because the rep forgot about it as soon as she answered the next phone call. When the customer calls back weeks later, she’s not only mad that her product broke, but also that the company broke its promise. Earning her trust back will be much more difficult now.
Your customer care strategy should encourage employees to take a personal, vested interest in every situation to ensure complete follow-through and accountability.
Check out this video to learn more about the benefits of great customer service.
Develop a Customer Care Strategy That Fosters Lifelong Loyalty
In a market where customer reviews can make or break a business, there’s no room for error with your customer care strategy. You can’t buy loyalty. Investing in your existing customer base now will set your business on the path to a successful future.
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