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New research gives you 25 billion reasons to understand why customers say goodbye


Frank Sherlock

July 30, 2018

Avoidable consumer churn costs businesses 25B per year
Avoidable consumer churn costs businesses 25B per year

Today, CallMiner published the CallMiner Index – a survey report that reveals a switching epidemic that is costing British businesses at least £25 billion a year.  And most of the reasons are completely avoidable. Almost nine out of 10 people (84%) switched 1.91 suppliers each last year, with electricity suppliers hit the hardest. While these numbers are alarming, the report shows that the rate of switching last year is almost three times the average over five years (0.68 suppliers per person).

It’s time to treat customers fairly

This kind of customer churn is simply unsustainable. So, it’s worth understanding the reasons why consumers say goodbye. Price is always a factor but what stands out in the Index report is that most reasons relate to not being treated fairly. In fact, after price, the next three reasons for customer switching are all related to being treated unfairly:

  1. Prices are too high or have increased (71%)
  2. There is no reward for contract renewal i.e. no reward for loyalty (45%)
  3. Discounts offered to new customers are not automatically applied to your account (39%)
  4. Feeling like you are not being treated fairly (31%).

This shows that the way suppliers handle interactions with customers simply does not satisfy what neuroscientists call the five deep-seated ways our brains work. These five needs are: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness (SCARF). They are based on the innate reward/threat response that is hardwired into our brain.

Amy Brann, a leading neuroscience expert at Synaptic Potential, explains: “Being unfairly treated triggers a response in similar networks of the brain that controls physical pain. The reaction can genuinely hurt! That’s why people will go to great lengths to right wrongs. In the case of suppliers this can include burning lots of time in having a complaint handled, defecting to another company, bad mouthing the supplier online and offline and in more extreme cases, pursuing legal avenues.”

Let your call centre protect you from the churn epidemic – by listening!

The other thing that struck me in the report is the pivotal role call centres play in the battle for loyalty. In fact, it’s clear that customers don’t really want to say goodbye. While 68% are likely or extremely likely to switch suppliers if they have a bad experience with a call centre, more people (74%) would stay loyal to a supplier if they have a good experience with a call centre.

 So, what makes the difference? The short answer is listening. But call centres are only getting that right half of the time. The number one thing consumers want before they call a call centre is to be listened to. Almost half (46%) say that. But only 23% say they felt they had been listened to after a call.

The good news is that it’s possible to turn your call centre into the perfect defence against this churn epidemic. Managing a call in a way that converts an unhappy customer into a happy one is incredibly valuable. You can give your agents the information they need to take the heat out of the situation by using Interaction Analytics to analyse 100% of calls and identify words, phrases and acoustic qualities that trigger a positive response from customers who arrive unhappy.

Armed with this insight, agents can adjust what they say and how they say it according to the behaviour of the customer. By providing agents access to post-call analysis it will be possible to identify best practice and reinforce positive behaviour. Real-time acoustic analysis can also identify when a call is deteriorating and prompt the agent to adjust their tone in time to rescue the call and deliver a better customer experience.

By analysing every customer interaction, you will be able to identify and eliminate most if not all the sources of churn. You can arm your agents with the insight, preparation and coaching they need to be able to listen effectively and ensure every call delivers a positive outcome.

Aimee Lucas, Vice President and Customer Experience Transformist, at Temkin Group, sums this up nicely: “It’s imperative that companies use the available tools to their advantage to identify reasons leading to negative customer experiences and churn and coach their call centre staff on the behaviours that create more positive interactions with customers.”

The CallMiner Index report is packed with thought-provoking insight. I’d love to get your thoughts on what it has uncovered at our upcoming webinar with customer engagement experts Rant and Rave on 11 September, 2018.

Download a copy of the CallMiner Index report, 3 industry breakouts, and check back to register for our upcoming webinar with Rant and Rave

Contact Center Operations Customer Experience EMEA