While all customers are unique, and use different values to make purchasing decisions, there are seven common customer expectations for customer service that have basically become the MINIMUM LEVEL that today’s customers DEMAND be meet by the organizations which they buy from.
Because these are the minimum requirements, they are also the ones that must be met if you are to achieve any significant level of customer retention. These 7 C’s of Customer Retention are:
Caring Attitude — employee that are caring, friendly, helpful, cares/shows empathy, values me as a customer, apologies for company errors.
Customized Practices — flexibility in applying company policies, simple documentation, forms that are easy-to-understand and use, suspension of disputed charges, willingness to extend additional services, ability of organization at all key contact points to know and understand the customer’s relationship with us.
Competent CSOs / CCPs — Customer Service Officers / Customer Contact Personnel who communicate well, accurately, take action, meet commitments, keep customers informed of status, are fully aware of all the organization’s products, services, procedures, and policies.
Call/Visit Once — the customer’s initial contact person in your organization handles the problem, or gets it resolved. The CSO or contact person makes necessary decisions and the customer only needs to explain the problem once (even if moved to another service provider). All contacts know the customer’s account status, as well as the nature of the problem under resolution.
Convenient Access — your operating hours of stores, branches, outlets, offices and call centers are structured with the needs of customers in mind. Your access numbers are easy to get through, are answered promptly, and the length of time on hold and the number of transfers internally before the problem is resolved are kept to a minimum. Your web site is easy to understand, navigate, use and the ordering process is simple and caters for international orders (if you are willing to ship goods and products outside your home country).
Compressed Cycle Times — customers receive an immediate response to inquiries, products and services meet customers’ timing, adjustments or changes (such as address changes) are made before the next billing or statementing cycle, and your organization provides consistently quick turnaround (especially for problem solving).
Committed Follow Through — the CSO and/or customer’s contact person commits to what/when/how, follows-up to confirm action, checks on satisfaction level, and your organization takes corrective action to prevent reoccurrence of an error or problem.
These 7 C’s are the minimum requirements your customers have. And if you don’t deliver well against these criteria, then you cannot expect to have high levels of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, or customer retention.
Download the 7 C’s of Customer Retention Checklist for a list of actions that you take to help ensure your business unit’s service delivery on these seven customer expectations.