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The CX Optimisation Guide: How to Transform Your Customer Retention

If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you are having some issues with customer retention and you suspect that the way you communicate with your customers could be a significant part of the problem.

Let’s be clear up front – there are plenty of other articles and guides out there that will teach you what customer retention is and how to use tools and measures for customer retention campaigns. This guide is about helping you solve high customer churn rates by focussing on the issues related specifically to your customer communications management (CCM).

Read on to learn what common customer communications issues cause churn, how to identify the problems in your customer journeys and how to fix them with effective CCM strategies.

Customer retention resources

As you read through this guide there will be links to our other articles that go into each subject with greater depth. We’ve compiled them all here too:

What’s causing customer churn?

First we need to understand the problems behind the problem. Only then can we remedy the situation.

The number one reason for low customer retention is a poor customer experience. In terms of communication, this comes down to complexity, inefficiency and an inability to effect change.

If your processes are complex and inefficient – like relying on paper forms, letters and calls – not only are you demanding too much effort from your customer, but you are driving up costs for your business.

Many companies already know they have outdated operational processes causing a poor customer experience. But something is stopping them from rectifying the problem.

When a customer is interacting with siloed departments, there is inconsistency of service, poor data quality and overlapping customer journeys. Without a single view of the customer, communications are inefficient and can be contradictory, and they may just end up leaving you.

And many companies that understand the issues are simply too busy to make changes to their processes. There’s a perception that there just isn’t enough time or money to start a major overhaul.

This is easily overcome when the problem is broken up into manageable steps. Focussing on small, tactical changes to specific customer journeys. Starting with a customer journey map.

Full article: The Top 5 Causes of Customer Churn

How to identify the issues

The simplest and most effective way to identify friction points is by mapping out each customer journey.

By looking at a single customer journey, understanding the processes behind each customer touchpoint can show you where the friction is.

For example, looking at an income and expenditure process, we can highlight the customer communications and operational processes that are causing friction. Here, posting a paper form (as well as all of the follow-up letters) not only commits your staff to weeks of manual work, it also puts pressure on the customer.

Once you have pinpointed issues like this, you can optimise your customer journey touchpoints with digitally led multi-channel processes.

Full article: Optimising Your Customer Journey Touchpoints

Fixing customer churn

The best approach is two pronged. Remove both inefficiency from your back office and friction from the customer journey by implementing two-way multi-channel communications.

Small changes can get big results. Many companies wanting to take this approach often mistakenly think that the answer is a big strategic overhaul. The words “digital transformation” can be scary. It’s too expensive, disruptive and labour-intensive. And needs authorisation from the C-suite.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By identifying trigger points in customer journeys with customer journey mapping, you – the team manager – can make small tactical changes to specific touchpoints (like manual, paper-based customer communications processes). And in less than 3 months.

Full article: 5 Actionable Strategies to Retain Your Customers

Digitising paper processes

While paper still has a place in CCM, we see it as part of a multi-channel capability that includes everything from email, SMS and app notifications to letters and calls. The point is to offer the right channel to your customers at the right time in the journey.

At Adare SEC, working with customer journeys reliant on paper forms are our clients’ most common customer experience problem.

They cause operational inefficiencies and high costs for their businesses and a high level of friction for their customers.

Why make it hard for your customer to stay a customer (especially at renewal time?)

By identifying these paper-based processes, you can replace them with a digital process that:

  1. Eliminates human error and dramatically improves data capture and quality.
  2. Mitigates back-office tasks so your staff can focus on more meaningful and profitable work.
  3. Requires less time and energy from your customers, and helps them get what they need in a single interaction (rather than weeks of back and forth.)

Full article: How to Improve Customer Retention by Digitising Paper Forms

Importance of good UX/UI

It’s not enough to simply bring in a capability. Execution is a large part of removing friction from the journey.

The user experience and user interface design has to be good enough that customers can easily navigate to what they need or it defeats the purpose of avoiding complexity. With complexity comes confusion, and more calls from customers into your contact centre – which cost the average business £10 per call.

The look and feel also needs to be high quality and consistent with your company branding, or it can damage your reputation and people might not trust that the technology is good enough. Cue more calls into your contact centre from worried customers.

Full article: The Importance of Great UX/UI for Customer Retention

How to choose a CCM vendor

If you have the budget, the internal will to make change and time, many of the big consultancies will help you optimise your communications systems with a digital transformation project.

However, if you need to make a change quickly and effectively, this is not necessary. Small, tactical changes to customer journeys should not take more than 3 months to implement. A vendor that focuses on point solutions rather than the entire customer communications operation will let you get back to business quickly so you can start to see the ROI as soon as possible.

In fact, we've written an article about two projects that helped our clients do just that. The stepping-stones to digital transformation – two real-life projects.

Your vendor needs to exhibit the skills required to implement a digital solution. Your IT team is most likely focussed on other projects, so they need to be confident that the solution doesn’t require their full attention.

Look for a solution that enables two-way communication with customers over multiple channels. There are vendors who can replace letters and calls with emails and texts, but we believe the best solution gives your business and customers channel choice. And offering your customers the option to ask questions on the appropriate channel allows them to get what they need in one single interaction.