The Ins and Outs of Creating Closed Loops
Closing the loop. Bridging the gap. Businesses love using terms like these to describe efforts to provide excellent customer experiences. But what looks like a closed loop to a business leader might still look like an unanswered question to a customer. The challenge is to identify those holes and fix them in an efficient and scalable manner.
Let Customers Know You’re Listening
When it comes to acting on customer insights, for example, many companies collect customer feedback and make improvements based on the feedback, but often fail to close the loop by communicating those improvements back to customers. And if customers aren’t aware of those improvements, it’s as if they never happened. In other words, listening to your customers is not enough. Communicating with your customers could be as simple as following up on an email or message to update them on the change that was implemented. It is critical to let customers know they’ve been heard and that their suggestions were implemented.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Another example of an unclosed loop is when companies fail to address the root of an issue. If a credit card company customer, for instance, calls the company to question a charge, the associate could provide the answer and the company would consider that a closed case. But that may be only the beginning of the problem. Perhaps the customer is also unsure whether the payment will be processed in time to avoid a late fee and must call back. Or perhaps the questionable charge is a symptom of a larger cybersecurity issue and numerous customers received similar fraudulent charges.
Empower Associates to do the Right Thing
Companies must train customer service representatives to ask probing questions in a subtle manner. A customer service specialist, for example, could inquire about how the customer intends to use an external hard drive to recommend the hard drive with the appropriate storage space. Otherwise, the customer will most likely contact the company again when he or she needs to replace the product.
Performance metrics may also need to be updated so that associates are motivated to focus on customer satisfaction instead of less meaningful results like call completions. Additionally, companies should invest in technology like data analytics to identify patterns in customer complaints and flag problems before they escalate. Furthermore, automated solutions that connect a CRM system with data from a marketing or sales cloud could provide employees with comprehensive insights into the customer’s history with the company.
Covering all your bases as a company is about more than doing the right thing; it’s critical for retaining customers. While research has shown that even excellent customer experiences do not guarantee customer loyalty, studies have also shown that poor customer experiences or complaints are closely aligned with customer churn. In other words, companies should strive to give customers as few reasons to leave as possible. And that means closing the loop on the customer experience by making every interaction as convenient and frictionless as possible.