Companies have the burden of maintaining customers. Millions of dollars per year are invested in programs that are designed to ensure that clients stay. Yet, even in the midst of the bustling humdrum of customer retention, people can still get left out. Not because of lack of engagement, but because of complacency and neglect in the company-customer relationship. If left unchecked, this relationship can devolve into what is called, “customer prospects”. This means that even though customers are staying, they are evaluating competition. These prospects are officially “in-the-market.” Customer prospects are hard to detect because more often than not, their existence isn’t known until it’s too late. Below are some helpful characteristics and strategies for interacting with customer prospects.
There are several characteristics that can be used to identify customer prospects:
- Customers making more frequent inquiries about their accounts: When customers frequently make contact regarding current policies or services, chances are they are gearing up for making comparisons with companies they are considering doing business with.
- Customers who are interacting with you less: Specifically, in retail banking this is a trigger. A smaller account balance and fewer transactions are red flags.
- Customers who only receive your holiday greeting card: Don’t be surprised when this leads to loss of customers. Communication is critical in retaining customers. One communication is bad enough but making it impersonal is even worse.
- Customers who give you poor ratings or are detractors: Unhappy customers are the biggest detractors and they will eventually leave. It’s important to utilize case management in cases of “at-risk” customers because it can reveal a larger systemic issue at hand.
- Customers who do not always choose you: Find out why customers are switching companies and why they aren’t staying. Doing so will help understand the market better and how best to improve services.
- Identifying and recovering “at-risk” customers: It’s essential to look at the customer base in terms of risk. Consider viewing “at-risk” customer as a subgroup of the broader transactional and relationship research process. These features are both inherent in the MaritzCX platform.
Once prospects have been identified, it is necessary to take action in order to win back customers. There are a few tools that can be used to aid in reducing customer desertion.
- Spotlight, prediction and quick action:
- Spotlight: This data mining tool can process operational and transactional data in a matter of seconds. Spotlight reveals data trends and patterns behind the data to recover customer prospects.
- PredictionCX: This prediction tool allows for predicting the sentiments of the majority of people that don’t respond to surveys using info that’s already been acquired. Specifically, it’s designed to address declining survey response rates, the potential for biased data, and customers who can find another provider in a heartbeat.
- Quick Action: Once customer prospects are identified, it’s time to take action. case management is essential to handling customer interactions personally and in a timely fashion. With action planning, corporate level changes can be enacted to fix the root problem and provide against future issues.
- Regularly explore the marketplace: Benchmarking can provide insight into the competitive gaps that separate companies retaining customers and those who end up losing customers. CXStandards is a MaritzCX proprietary benchmarking study that can aid in identifying the competition that customers may be considering. It is also capable of tracking specific activities that impact customers’ perceptions.
Customer prospects, while undesirable, can provide unique insight. If engaged in the correct way, they can illuminate what can be done to improve and perhaps what the competition is doing better. These customers are in the best position to give the most candid and actionable information to support retention strategies. If acted upon, chances are they could be turned into promoters of the brand.