Customer Loyalty and Why You Should Give a Damn About a Bad Reputation

They say that any publicity is good publicity. But that’s not always the case with your brand reputation. One wrong move could cost you customer loyalty.

Great customer experiences stick with consumers. Unfortunately, so do terrible ones. It’s a lot easier to lose a customer than it is to create a loyal one. And earning customer loyalty among millennials and Gen Z consumers is more difficult than it was with previous generations.

Currently, millennials and Generation Z are the largest groups living in the US. And, their buying power is immense — with a potential to spend $600 billion collectively each year, reports Accenture. Not only that, but those shoppers can — and will — let others know via social media if you’ve wronged them.

To attain customer loyalty staying power, you need to know how to reach — and keep — those consumers. In its “2018 State of Global Customer Service Report,” Microsoft found that 48% of respondents switched to a different brand because of poor customer service — 61% of those respondents were age 18 to 34. And the channels you choose to answer their questions or address any concerns they have make a difference.

The study found that 77% of respondents age 18 to 34 have a favorable view of companies that address questions or complaints via social media. Investing in modern platforms, such as those with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, let these consumers contact you when they want — 24/7 — through their channels of choice. In fact, many millennials and Gen Z consumers prefer to interact with a bot rather than a human (the Gen Xer in me can’t blame them for that one).

Implementing the right customer experience platform gives consumers that seamless omnichannel journey. They can start and stop interactions with you on different channels — whether that includes phone, chat, email, messaging or bots. This increases your ability to offer a more seamless customer experience — and that builds customer loyalty.

An omnichannel customer experience platform with AI and predictive capabilities gives your agents more insights into where customers have been in their journeys — and where they might go next. And customers choose a brand that’s invested in their journey over one that creates frustrating or siloed experiences.

Customer Loyalty and Your Bottom Line
Customer loyalty and retention isn’t just about positive tweets and shares. A bad customer experience will affect your bottom line, too. According to NewVoiceMedia, US companies lose $75 billion to competitors each year because of poor customer service.

Not only is it less expensive to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, but loyal customers are more profitable for your business and generate more revenue. An RJMetrics study of eCommerce buyers found that your loyal top 10% of customers will spend three times more per order than the lower 90%. And engaged customers often are more willing to take surveys, offer feedback and try something new that you offer after good customer experiences.

Loyal customers also create buzz — drawing attention to your brand and bringing in new business. The 2018 Customer Experience Index by the Sitel Group found that 49% of consumers will share a positive experience they’ve had with your brand on social media; only 30% will share a negative one.

Three Steps to Build Customer Loyalty
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that your customers become your biggest advocates, brand ambassadors and evangelists.

First, listen to your customers; ask questions and conduct surveys. Learn what your Net Promoter Score is — and then actually act on the feedback you receive. Make changes to suit your customers and you’ll create customer loyalty in the process.

Second, don’t make changes on a whim or simply as a gut reaction to a bad score. Involve your customers in the process — whether you’re creating a new business procedure or overhauling one that isn’t working.

Finally, use your agents thoughtfully. They’re often the first point of contact for customers when there’s an issue or things go sideways. Putting the right people, in the right place, at the right time — and using the channel that your customers prefer — speaks volumes. Implementing a contact center solution that lets the customer journey travel with them throughout interactions shows your agents are knowledgeable and they’re paying attention. And it gives your customers the feeling that you care enough to learn and understand them personally.

Don’t Live in the Past; It’s a New Generation
The customer service dynamic is changing. Reaching and satisfying all customers was never easy — and it’s only getting more difficult as new channels crop up and millennial and Gen Z consumers take over the market.

There’s no single approach to building customer loyalty. But ensuring you have the right contact center technologies to engage with customers of all ages — on the channels of their choice — gives you an advantage in the customer loyalty game. Joan Jett might not have given a damn about her reputation, but you definitely should pay attention to yours.

Read this ebook for seven ways to build customer loyalty in your contact center.