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How Agent Follow-up Can Increase Customer Retention After a Bad Experience [Video]

When a customer has a bad experience, it is often up to the contact center to turn the relationship around. Watch this video, brought to you from the Calabrio Academy, to discover five concrete steps agents can take in their follow-up to show the customer that your organization truly cares.

How to Save a Customer after a Bad Experience



Read the Transcript

It’s happened to all of us–a customer has a bad experience and your call center is charged with figuring out how to hold on to a loyal customer, keep them using your products or services and turn them back into brand advocates.

Most every organization has a plan to deal with customers in these situations. In fact, you may have an acronym or a five-step process that you’re supposed to follow. Odds are your process talks about listening well, showing empathy, reassuring the customer, acknowledging their frustrations and taking ownership.

But I’ve been looking at some data. And I’m surprised at what commonly resulted in winning back the customer. It turns out, top performers consistently followed up with the customer and not just to resolve the issue. They followed up even after the case was closed.

Here are five tips for effective follow-up so you can better save a customer after a bad experience.

5 Keys to the Agent Follow-up that Improves Customer Retention

1. Pay attention to the timing

There’s no magic time window for when an agent should follow up with a customer to make sure that their issue was resolved. When an agent follows-up right after the initial contact, the customer will feel too much like that agent is following a checklist. But if the agent waits too long, it’s going to feel like an afterthought. For most organizations, between a week or two weeks after the case is closed is a good guideline.

2. Be specific when reaching out

Even when an agent waits the right amount of time, their additional effort will be wasted if they send a generic templated message that lacks personalization. Instead of just generally asking about how things are going, refer to specific issues of the customer’s case. By taking a few minutes to customize the follow-up, it shows the customer that the agent truly cares about the outcome and their experience.

3. Make an effort to be personal

When helping a customer with an issue, it can be easy to get laser-focused on the technical solution. But chances are, your agent also engaged in some small talk with the customer–especially if the issue was complicated to resolve. It can add an extra touch to an agent’s follow-up if they include something personal they remember about either the customer or their organization. It’s one thing to recite back anything that someone could read in the case file. It really shows you care about a customer if you follow-up about a sick child, or remember that they had plans to go camping the previous weekend.

4. Being proactive can make a difference

Sending a personal, specific message at the right time will help, but you need to be certain that future experiences with your organization runs smoothly if you hope to retain this customer. This is something your agents can impact in their follow-up as well by thinking ahead to help the customer avoid future issues. Take, for example, a customer who reached out to your contact center because they had an issue with step two of a 10 step process. If your agent knows that other customers have struggled with a future step, they can proactively give guidance on the best way to proceed.

5. Remember the focus is on helping the customer

Finally, while follow-ups are typically viewed as a way to ensure that the issue is resolved and the case can be closed, your organization can actually improve customer relationships just by asking if the customer needs help with anything else. Don’t just send the customer back into the wild if they have other issues. See if you can do anything else to help them resolve other existing issues, help them create a new ticket, or direct them to another part of the organization that can help them out.

When a customer has had issues with your organization, it can be hard to get them back on board. It’s important to do what you can to limit those bad experiences. Your agents, however, have the opportunity to truly make a difference with how they follow up after the issue has been resolved. When agents go the extra mile, this shows the customer that the bad experience they had was just an isolated incident and can often be the difference between losing a loyal customer and retaining them.

The Calabrio Academy videos, produced by the Innovation Design team at Calabrio, offer engaging ideas for how to achieve excellent customer service, build a better team in your contact center, better understand your analytics and much more.

As an Innovation Designer at Calabrio, Tanya Juarez-Sweeney utilizes video and other digital media to share industry best practices and thought leadership. With over 20 years of experience in a variety of creative roles, Tanya challenges herself, coworkers, and customers to continually innovate and grow to new levels of success. Tanya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in Technical Communication from Metropolitan State University. In her free time, Tanya volunteers as a tour guide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and hosts TV shows for kids at Children’s Minnesota.
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