[Report] Effective Responses to Complaints can Increase Customer Retention Rates to 70 Percent
With complaints to UK watchdog Ofcom continuing to rise in Q1 2014 and almost 15,000 complaints a day made about financial services organisations in 2013 to the FCA, companies must be prepared to do more than ever to retain customers in the wake of a negative experience, according to The Grass Roots Group.
The prevalence of social media has meant that negative interactions with a business spread to twice as many people as positive ones, and a massive 65 percent of consumers now rely on Twitter to get in touch with companies rather than going through a call centre.
This very public and immediate way of complaining could be extremely damaging for those companies who don’t react in the right way, and result in them losing existing customers as well as alienating new ones.
Figures have shown that reducing customer defection rates by just five percent can increase profits by between five and 95 percent, making it all the more important to respond to unhappy customers at the right time and in the right way.
Indeed, responding with the right gesture has been found to increase customer retention rates to a massive 70 percent.
Vikki Zelkin, Head of Client Services, Promotions and Incentives at The Grass Roots Group, said: “A simple and timely gesture can mean the difference between a customer sticking with you and singing your praises, or shouting about their bad experience all over social media where it will spread like wildfire.
“The first step is to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, following up with a timely and unexpected gift to show that you value your customers, making them think twice abut taking their business elsewhere.”
“However, it’s not just those who shout the loudest that could be damaging for a business. For every person that does complain, there are 26 who stay silent, choosing to show their dissatisfaction by defecting to a competitor. Businesses therefore need to ensure they are not only responding to the vocal minority but the silent majority.”
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”