Blending Customer Service with Customer Loyalty

September 05, 2017 in Customer Loyalty

Both are critical players in the customer experience and both have limitations of their own. Can Customer Service and Customer Loyalty work together to offer a better experience for the customers and maximise retention? Here are the reasons why they should;

Average US household participates in 29 different loyalty schemes. Most of them offer some sort of discounts and other incentives about the same product or the service. And probably you need to collect a meaningful chunk to be able to claim something worthwhile. Almost none of these loyalty programs are compatible with each other. The reward customers get for their loyalty feels less rewarding, becomes harder to claim and makes a little difference. That is probably why up to 20% of the loyalty incentives never get claimed by the customers.

Here are some more data about loyalty and the success of the business;

  • 80% of your business’ future revenue comes from just 20% of your existing customers (Gartner)
  • Loyal customers don’t just bring in the benefit of increased direct sales, as recommendations from friends and family remain the most credible form of advertising (Nielsen).
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% – 70%; a new prospect is 5-20% (Marketing Metrics)

Organisations try to maximise customer retention because of the reasons similar to the ones above. A seamless customer service is as important factor as a competitive customer loyalty scheme for better customer experience. However, the relationship between the customer and the organisation is getting more complicated as the products and and solutions become sophisticated. In many businesses, customer's demands can not easily be fulfilled by the call centre floor or call centres simply can not scale for the demand. That is why many businesses give a chance to chatbots, speech recognition and other self-service tools even though they are not better than a direct communication with a subject matter expert.

So, we have a customer loyalty market that can not reward the loyal customers and customer service that is limited and can not scale. How can they possibly work together?

Customer service can not just be the responsibility of the call centres. We need to expand customer service beyond call centre floor and offer direct communication channels between the customers and the subject matter experts for the ever growing customer demands. This needs to be through omnichannel features such as persistent chat, callbacks, team email and team Twitter. You can add chatbots and other self-service options into this set as well. This requires a significant change in customer behavior since current customer behavior is to pick up the phone and call the customer service number. Customers can be incentivized with loyalty points to use omnichannel features and they can be directed to alternative channels with the queue announcements.

This still leaves us loyalty points that are still less value and with the fact that omnichannel customer service needs to be mobile-first to be adaptable. And yes, we still need to expand customer service beyond call centre floor with the minimum disruption. I will cover the solution for those problems in my coming posts. There is a lot to talk about.