Customer Retention

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Yesterday, I performed my yearly ritual with CenturyLink to ask why my internet bill went up double what I was paying the previous month.The backstory is I have been a customer with them for over 4 years. Each year I have a “promotional” rate that is good for 12 months, and every year I go through the same motions when that promotion goes up. With a little bit of work, I get that discount renewed, sometimes at a better rate than the previous year.

Typically this is how it goes. I online chat with customer care rep asking why my rate went up. They tell me the promotion had expired. I ask how may I keep that promotional rate. They tell me, “If you bundle with DirectTV you can get your internet rate to be ____.” I tell them I don’t want to bundle. Then I ask for the phone number to call for renewing my discount (trick is I found out they have a department specifically for this matter). He transfers me via online chat to the “Customer Retention” department and essentially I calmly and politely tell them that I have been a loyal customer for 4 years and would like to continue using their service at my current rate. They honor my request and gave me a credit to my currently higher bill, and we all leave with smiles because the customer was retained.

But this is what baffles me:

  • Why does an organization have to have a customer care AND a customer retention department?
  • Were they wanting to help the economy by creating more jobs?
  • Did they have too many employees when the recession hit so they created another department?
  • Were they trying to get customer care to only well…care about future customers and forsake all others?

I know other companies (DirectTV anyone) have a similar issue. They give the customer a great promotion rate and hopefully thinking the “new” customer won’t look at the bill or question why the rate doubles at the end of the promotion. Companies probably know that too many people complain about these issues but won’t take the time to resolve and simply ask, “Why?” Maybe it’s because customer care handles the complaints but can’t handle the solutions.

I don’t know the reason behind customer retention. I do know that a customer will remain loyal if treated well. Whether they know it or not, customers want a reason to like a company or organization. Yes convenience plays a factor (hence why McDonald’s is all about real estate and not burgers), but at the end of the day, a customer wants to have a reason to like you. Customer service is the face of a company so instead of sending a loyal customer down a path to this little know branch that actually tries to keep a customer, why not try to keep the customer from the very beginning.

You actually will save yourself time as well as the customer’s time.

For me, that’s how a customer will remain loyal and be retained.

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