Posted on 31st January, 2017

Opinion: The only loyalty touch point that counts

James Walker on touch points of engagement between the business and the consumer

The traditional customer engagement model focused on multiple touch points of engagement between the business and the consumer. This has been disrupted with self-service. Businesses looking for efficiency improvements have focused on getting consumers own their engagement with their services. This ranges from self-service checkouts to Apps to manage our services. This is reducing the cost of service delivery helping businesses to be more efficient but with one major expense, consumer have engagement and less brand loyalty.

To help encourage this movement towards self-service requires some consumers to be encouraged and this has been achieved by making it harder for consumers to engage with businesses or to move to lower cost channels of engagement such as live chat where one agent can handle between 3 and 9 concurrent conversations.

How long will it take you to find the phone number or email address for an organisation when you want to contact them. Businesses have built barriers between them and their customers.

The impact is the key battleground for customer loyalty becomes complaints. If consumers at best are happy to self-manage and at worst are discouraged from contacting then when a consumer has an issue it becomes the point after purchase that a consumer needs to engage with an organisation.

It was said once to me, look at the names complaining this month and then you will see the same names leaving next month. Complaints have always been seen as a liability, not an opportunity, but, businesses need to realise their customers are going to determine their future loyalty. Complaints instead of being a liability are actually the best opportunity an organisation has to create brand advocates and retain future revenues.

If a customer no longer touches a brand and then struggles to get hold of the brand then they have already experienced two negative experiences and are no closer to resolving their issue. The consumer is being driven to make more effort to solve a problem with the brand taking less responsibility.

It can be easier to simply leave than it is to raise an issue. Why bother trying to engage when the consumer simply feels unloved or unwanted and others are willing to promote their shiny new service. The typical cost to acquire a new company is £100 to £150 and yet to resolve a complaint is a fraction of that, yet a complaint is seen as a liability and not an opportunity.

To acquire a new customer comes with low or little loyalty, to effectively resolve a customer issue delivers more than a customer it creates a loyal brand advocate something that marketing cannot buy.

The businesses that are to succeed in a self-service focused market need to realise complaints are the key loyal touch point for consumers of their services or products. Stop seeing complaints as a liability but as the only opportunity to prove why consumers should love their customer. Love complaints and love your consumers.