Hello? Is anyone there?

Every brand loses customers from time to time; churn is a concern across all customer bases, regardless of their size or industry. It takes time, effort and money to acquire new customers; customers are more willing and more able than ever before to switch brand loyalty at the click of a button. So that’s why regardless of your marketing strategy or available technologies, customer experience is paramount in reducing churn. And as with any good relationship break-up story, it’s often the little things that make the difference.

One of those little things that often gets forgotten or neglected but yet can make or break a customer’s sentiment towards your brand is Reply Handling. It may feel like we’re talking back to basics but when it comes to customer value, the basics still really count.

It’s the simple process of allowing email recipients to reply to your marketing communications and in doing so, begin a real conversation with your company, in order to achieve a specific outcome.

Most of us have at some point or another tried, and failed, to get a message through to a company we’ve received an email from. It’s an incredibly frustrating experience to send off a reply and not hear anything back, either because you’ve sent to an unmonitored email account or non-existent mailbox. An email with a ‘do not reply’ reply-to address is possibly even more aggravating. It’s not enough to include an alternate address in the body of your email, given most of the time a customer is trying to reply to a specific mailing to discuss a related issue or question they have. Requiring them to contact you via a customer contact centre or the like, immediately breaks the conversation that you chose to begin with them. Picture yourself being asked a question or given a fact about yourself from a colleague or friend and trying earnestly to respond… but they are just not listening.

It’s tempting to think that the number of direct replies to your emails are minimal and the cost vs benefit of adding a monitored inbox to your replies just isn’t worth it. Or perhaps you’re not even sure where your replies are going to. When it comes to customer care, the devil is in the detail and appropriate Reply Handling is one detail you just can’t afford to ignore.

It all comes down to improving customer satisfaction which leads to the bottom line of reducing your customer churn rate. Every year there are new statistics shared that show the cost of acquiring a new customer verses retaining a current one. What is less often quoted is that a customer that feels valued will not only stay with your brand out of loyalty but also advocate for your brand’s continued success, meaning you’re in the win-win scenario of retaining current customers and letting them do the hard work of acquiring new ones too. An example of this is the hotel industry in the Forrester’s Customer Experience (CX) Index, where 90 percent of  customers who feel valued, will advocate for the brand.

Customer churn is and should be a top priority for all businesses and Reply Handling is a relatively easy win in the majority of cases. Depending on the structure and volume of your mailings, Reply Handling setup will require minimal configuration and the management of it can often be absorbed into current structures and systems. At the very most, the additional staff investment which may be required to properly manage customer replies, will be quickly transformed into churn reduction profits. One thing will always remain true of humanity – we are emotional creatures – easy to charm but even easier to offend. Get in touch with Purple Square today to review your marketing administration settings.

By Maree WallisSenior Consultant