Why Your Customer Retention Plan Must Include Employee Satisfaction

A customer retention plan that ignores your employee satisfaction rating is doomed to fail.

Your business relies on great customer satisfaction to grow. Highly satisfied customers stay longer, buy more, and refer you to their networks. This improves your customer lifetime value and reduces your cost of acquisition, which increases your customer ROI by lower cost and improving retention.

While new customer acquisition can cost up to 5 times more than retaining an existing customer, just a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect of reducing costs by 10%!

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The business proof for excellent customer retention is clear, but how do you achieve it?

As in so many things, developing a customer retention plan is the place to start. But, sadly, many customer retention plans fail to include the importance of an engaged, satisfied workforce in improving customer service and retention.

It may seem counterintuitive to decades of the “customer first” school of thought, but to increase your customer retention significantly you must put your employees first—even before your customers.

Your employees interact with your customers everyday, either directly or indirectly. Particularly when it comes to your front-line employees, fatigue and burnout is a very real issue that degrades motivation and engagement. As your front-line employees work with customers day in and day out, they are often dealing with the same problems, over and over again. This tends to have a wearing effect on their positivity and engagement, energy that your customers will notice.

There are several things that you can do to keep these employees engaged, and they don’t have to cost a lot of money.

Proactive Problem Solving

Include your front-line employees in proactive problem solving. This certainly means your customer service staff, but should also include your sales department and potentially your social media manager. These are people who are interacting with your clients on a daily basis. They hear what your customers are saying about your brand and have their fingers on the pulse of your brand. Get these people together to share their insights and help create plans for proactively dealing with or fixing common problems that impact your customer experience.

Job Swaps

Job swaps are becoming more popular, particularly as younger employees who become bored with day-to-day tasks increasingly enter the workforce. This is not a practical solution for every organization, but if you can figure out a job swap program that works for you, it is a great way to accomplish several employee engagement and retention objectives.

  1. It can give your front-line employees a bit of a break from being the face and voice of the brand to decrease fatigue.
  2. It provides employees an opportunity to develop new skills, build new ideas, and learn from their peers.
  3. It breaks down silos by giving your team cross-functional perspectives and encourages people to develop closer working relationships.

Customer Service Training

Even for the most veteran customer service professional, a good refresher course is a great way for your team to gain new ideas, best practices, and make connections with other professionals outside the company. Often, the most simple tactics for dealing with dissatisfied customers are best, and those are really timeless. Invest in your team by developing a deeper commitment to customer service through customer service training.

Your customer retention plan must include important steps, such as understanding your customer expectations, touchpoints, and brand experience. But without incorporating realistic, effective employee motivation and engagement programs, your customer retention plan is doomed to fail.

Take care of your employees and your employees will take care of your customers. Your two most valuable business assets work together to improve customer retention and your business growth.

January is Customer Service and Communication Month at Crestcom.
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