Building Customer Loyalty Through Integrated Customer Experiences

September 4, 2015 Andrew Harrison

Long gone are the days of achieving customer satisfaction and loyalty by simply selling them a good product. Now more than ever, it takes consistent positive brand interactions, from consideration all the way through to the post-sale experience. Outstanding customer support provided through a well-run contact center can strengthen loyalty and helps to move brand experiences and business forward.

A recent survey by Call Center IQ, sponsored by Harte Hanks, found that 82 percent of contact center professionals agree, “What is good for the customer is ultimately what is good for the business.” But, as the study concluded, different businesses—or even different components of the same business—often view “what is good” differently. That’s because every organization is unique, with its own mix of priorities for customer satisfaction and loyalty. There is no cookie cutter solution to customer loyalty and each brand needs to define its own objectives and measurable goals to achieve loyalty.

Transitioning a customer from satisfied to loyal takes focus

What’s really important to understand is customer support provides brands with an opportunity to differentiate themselves through the entire journey, including the post-sales experience. I am sure your organization suffers from what a lot do – siloed departments – and, typically, support is one of them. In some cases, raising the visibility of the support function can help an organization attain company-wide objectives and goals as they relate to customer loyalty.

Bring customer support along for the loyalty strategy ride

In order to grow and maintain customer loyalty and retention, we know customer support organizations should align with the company goals related to customer loyalty and brand experience. Don’t be afraid to bring all parties from marketing, sales and support functions to the table when creating a brand experience and loyalty strategy that includes a measurement plan. It makes sense, right?

I know, typically contact centers are most concerned with performance metrics like average handle time and average speed of answer. As the marketing, sales and support teams start to align, these and other traditional measures remain integral to customer satisfaction—but they are no longer the only priorities. Successful companies go beyond daily pain points to build a customer experience that’s consistent across the channels of their customers’ journey that not only delivers satisfaction but also reinforced the brand, creates loyalty and supports growth.

So how do you create a successful journey to customer loyalty?
Businesses executing best-in-class customer loyalty programs look left-to-right across their organization to ensure all functions are fulfilling the brand promise. From conversational phone interactions to branded live video chats to personal email follow up, the best experiences integrate customer support in a unique way, and do so in a relevant manner. The tone and flow of the customer interaction should reflect the brand promise by creating reinforced customer experiences from end-to-end.

You know what it’s like when you call a company’s 800 number – you often are repeatedly asked to provide account numbers or personal information, and, if you’re lucky, you get to talk to an actual person. Properly trained agents are able to conversationally navigate the process with the customers and make them feel valued and understood. We all hate those clunky interactive voice response systems, rigid and impersonal scripts and poorly integrated agent desktop software. They don’t do anything to achieve an optimal customer experience. This type of customer interaction can have a huge impact on customer loyalty and can and should be measured and taken into account by the marketing organization.

We can help you map out your loyalty plan

Harte Hanks has a long-standing heritage for driving customer loyalty and can help devise and implement an overarching strategy that touches your customers across all engagement points, including the contact center solutions. We identify and create synergies and harmonization between marketing, support and sales functions to create an immersive and holistic brand experience.

About the Author

Biography

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