How to build loyalty in the face of customer expectations

Spoken | August 9, 2016

Teamwork hands HeidiBlog HS by Heidi Miller, Chief Conversation Officer

Every week, we monitor the best of the web to spot trends in the customer service space. This week, the buzz is all about customer expectations and customer loyalty. What is the relationship between the two, and how do you match expectations while creating loyalty?

The news and trends on customer expectations and loyalty this week:

  • Customers expect less and less. The good news is that customers seem to expect less from call centers. Customer Service Zone reported on dwindling customer expectations and the odd paradox that while customers want more from companies, they have actually come to expect less in terms of customer service.
  • Loyalty is not the opposite of dissatisfaction. Bruce Temkin in Customer Experience Matters posits that eliminating dissatisfaction results in a neutral feeling towards your brand, not necessarily a positive one. Identifying both drivers of satisfaction and of dissatisfaction is key if you want to create loyalty, not just neutralize a negative experience.
  • It’s not enough to please customers; you need to get them. Inc.com reports on the value of empathy marketing in customer loyalty: “The goal of empathy marketing is to establish an emotional connection with the “brand” and embed the message in the mind of the consumer.  Neuroscientific studies show that humans are hard wired for empathy and consumer behavior is determined by the emotional stimuli that a marketing message delivers.”
  • Call Centers hold enormous potential for brands. While this may not sound like news at all, Forrester reports that customer satisfaction scores have flattened since 2007. All the investments being put into call centers aren’t yielding higher customer satisfaction. The article reports: “My recent research found one thing that contributes to a customer-centric call center culture more than anything else: the agents’ passion for delivering outstanding customer service.”
  • Don’t call us; we’re not here to help. Juxtapose that with Sprint Nextel’s recent action of cutting off customers who call too often to the customer service call center. In a bold move, Sprint has taken action to cut off contracts with customers who call the contact center over 25 times a month. While I don’t criticize the action–if customers are calling hundreds of times per month, one wonders why they themselves don’t switch service–I do wonder about the message this sends to consumers.

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