Steps to Creating Lasting Customer Loyalty
1. Build loyalty
one customer at a time
Loyal customers are earned one at a time. Loyalty isn't built solely with
technology or ACD statistics or investing a lot of money in your contact center.
Loyalty is gained by focusing on customers one at a time, one interaction at a
2. Make it everybody's business
Building customer loyalty is everybody's business. It is not just management,
not only the Quality Assurance department and definitely not the sole
responsibility of any Customer Service department alone to satisfy the customer.
An enterprise wide approach to customer service and satisfaction needs to
be adopted if you truly want your customer to believe in you business’
integrity. Make all your employees not just the customer interactive employees
and call center agents partners in the business of building loyalty. Involve
them in improving the processes that impact your customers. Encourage them to
take ownership over those activities that hold the promise of building and
enhancing customer loyalty.
3. Capture the voice of your customer
The difference between a contact center that's a cost center and one that's a
profit center is based on what you do with the information your customers
provide. Are your customers telling you something and you just aren’t
listening? Take advantage of the feedback that customers offer and then prospect
this information for ways to improve. Accept complaints as an opportunity to win
over the situation and turn a negative experience into a lasting positive one.
Make your contact center a key strategic asset and the heart of your company's
business by capturing this valuable information and then becoming the proactive
voice of your customers. Customer complaints and feedback are gifts — are you
squandering opportunities by ignoring those who can best help you improve your
4. Evaluate the experience
Use call monitoring to focus on the task of evaluating interactions with your
contact center from your customers' perspective. Do you make it easy for
customers to do business with you? Are the tools available to enable you to
deliver great service to your customers? Are your systems user-friendly? Are
there too many steps taken to resolve your customers' concerns or needs? Seek
out and listen for opportunities to improve people, processes, and systems in an
attempt to enhance the quality of the customers overall experience. Evaluate
each interaction with your contact center as an opportunity to improve your
business and build customer loyalty.
5. Get the complete picture
Monitor screen activity as well as voice because what you don't see can hurt you
and your customer. Screen capture enables you to evaluate the productivity of
your agents accessing or processing information on the system and the accuracy
of their data entry. Screen capture is an essential addition to your tools for
improving contact center performance. Do
your contact center agents need to access several applications to resolve an
issue? During order entry are your
agents required to take extra steps to enter and search for general information?
Is your system agent friendly? Following the flow of information through
your system will give you a better understanding of productivity of both the
individual agents and the enterprise in general.
6. A balanced approach
Nothing destroys your customers loyalty or a quality improvement program's
credibility more quickly than inconsistency. Monitor a consistent sample across
all agents, and provide feedback in a timely and consistent manner. Be sure to
benchmark and then agree on what your standards are first. Ask your all
supervisors to evaluate the same calls in order to get a less bias understanding
of the call. Compare their scores with your own, or use calibration sessions to
listen to calls in groups comprised of managers and supervisors. Let agents
evaluate their own calls and compare their supervisor's evaluation to their own
evaluations — this can be very telling. By using this approach, you send a
powerful message on the importance of the program and you establish an
atmosphere of fairness and objectivity. Use a "Buddy System" to team
quality agents with new agents. Bottom line: evaluate and communicate consistent
standards across your contact center.
7. Do a 360 degree evaluation
Ask Customers: "How are we doing?" The best Quality Management
programs in the world have little value if your customers are not satisfied with
the end product. Check and re-check how you are scoring with the customer; after
all, they're the experts!
8. Reinforce your message
Does your Performance Appraisal system encourage customer loyalty and promote
quality improvement? Clearly communicate your vision of what is expected of the
team to succeed. Then repeat, repeat, repeat those messages in a powerful and
memorable way that reinforces your total commitment to customers and to quality
of service. Some ways to do that can include:
Share recorded examples of superior service from across the organization.
Have your junior management set an example by having agents monitor supervisor
calls. Hand out buttons that say, "I Love My Customers," and mirrors
that say "Put a Smile in Your Voice!"
These are all low implementation cost examples of ways to reinforce and
encourage a higher quality of customer contact.
9. Make it fun and don't forget to
Don’t forget to throw the occasional party after job well done. Be sure to
reward quality improvement and offer encouragement for saving a customer,
delivering awesome service, improving a process or procedure that affects
customers. Keep in mind that rewards don't need to break the bank — try a
shorts pass worn around the neck entitling the winner to wear shorts to work or
a pass to have a supervisor take a call for 15 minutes. Deliver candy with a
card thanking them for "Being So Sweet" to their customers. Small and
oftentimes low-cost rewards can have high value. It is a good habit to brag a
little — you and your team deserve it! Advertise your teams successes and
contributions across the organization.
10. Get to the root by working backwards
Analysis that looks only at the individual agent won't deliver the information
you need to successfully understand the workings of your contact center. Analyze
by team, by trainer, by supervisor, by full-time versus part-time staff. Analyze
data from the back door all the way up to the center floor. By looking only at
the floor and agent statistics, you may never get to the root. And make Quality
Management data as easy to view as ACD statistics — put it on every desktop.
11 Close the loop
Close the loop with specific actions for improvement and follow up to verify
your results. Follow up with specific coaching examples and "How To's"
through Quality Blitzes that focus on a specific area each month that needs
improvement. For example, deliver one recording per day of an excellent example
on how to "Turn around an irate customer." By the end of the month,
everyone will be an expert on overcoming that challenge! Place mirrors on every
desktop that ask, "Is there a smile in your voice? Say cheese!" and
watch your customer satisfaction ratings on "friendliness" shoot up!
12 Experience your customer
Get closer to your customer — listen to customer calls in your contact center,
on your commute, at the start of every management and team meeting, in the
boardroom, or to and from the airport. Share the voice of the customer with your
president, head of marketing, and other senior decision-makers — but listen to
calls from your customer's point of view. Send recorded calls that request
action to top executives, give compliments about products, or provide ideas for
new services or products. Bring those furthest from the customer back in touch
with the business of building loyalty.