The Green Sheet Online Edition
October 14, 2013 • Issue 13:10:01
Boosting customer retention
Given that acquiring new customers is far more expensive than retaining existing ones, payment professionals continually strive to limit churn in merchant portfolios. However, sometimes retention efforts miss the mark. If this is true for your business, it could be time to revisit four basic questions you may not have addressed lately:
- Are your staff members properly trained to handle all issues they must address? In the dynamic payments environment, where new products and services roll out with regularity, it's important to ensure that all members of your customer service team are up to speed on your current offerings so they can troubleshoot effectively.
- Do you make it easy for customers to contact you in the ways that they prefer? It's smart to offer a mix of media for customer interaction. This could include telephone, email, social media and live chat, because, for example, if a merchant wants to speak with a live representative by phone and finds out the only available option is email support, the merchant could become frustrated and turn to another provider.
- Do you instruct your telephone representatives to do everything possible to swiftly resolve problems to each customer's satisfaction? And do you give them enough authority to make reasonable decisions on the spot so they can make that happen? If reps must stick to canned answers or have no authority to take remedial action, this could also contribute to portfolio churn.
- Do you encourage reps to apologize when your company has made an error? Even the best of us make mistakes. Remedial action should be taken as soon as errors are brought to light, of course, but customers also need to feel that you truly care about any inconvenience or upset the error could have caused. A sincere apology will help soothe feelings and foster lasting goodwill.
Taking steps to ensure that you demonstrate a sincere interest in your customers' welfare can go a long way toward establishing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the merchants in your portfolio.
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