5 Training Strategies to Improve Customer Retention

Many corporate dollars today are directed at retaining customers and building loyalty. Once you’ve won a customer, it’s much less costly to keep them than win a new one. But customer retention depends on the whole company, not just the sales departments.

According to recent research, 68% of customers who leave a company will not return, and 80% of them would have stayed if the company had done something to retain them. So helping every employee from CEO to IT learn how to make buyers happy makes sense.

Here are 5 training topics that can help your employees create a better customer experience before, during, and after the sale.

1 – Communicate.

One customer may interact with several departments over one phone call. And there’s nothing that says “We don’t care” like asking the caller to restate his or her problem with every transfer.

Ask employees to learn and love the customer records database. Encourage them to get in the habit of updating those records and sharing details with colleagues whenever they hand off a phone call.

Corporate systems can get in the way here if they don’t connect, but ultimately employees must take responsibility for a smooth hand-off.

2 – Teach customers how to be delighted.

Don’t assume that your customers know everything about your product. Employees should not only answer direct questions but also help customers learn how your company can make their lives even better.

Train employees to know more than the features of your product or service. Help them understand use cases. Train them to engage customers in consultative conversations. Also ask them to practice explaining how to use a product or process in clear, simple language without talking down to customers.

3 – Say “Thank you!” in a surprising way.

People get thanked a lot by companies that don’t seem to mean it. We are thanked for choosing airlines as they pile on fees and overload the trips. We are thanked while waiting hours to talk with customer service.

But a personalized thank you that shows up when unexpected can make a huge impact. Teach employees several ways they can appreciate customers. Handwritten notes, small gifts, even a thoughtful cup of coffee will stand out. Here’s a list of 25 ideas to get you started.

And don’t assume that everyone knows how to write a thank-you note. The practice is not as common as it used to be, so train people on the skill if necessary.

4 – Listen.

We’re all busy doing our jobs, or trying to figure out what to make for dinner. So we often neglect to pay close attention to what others are saying. But we may be missing important clues to how we can make their lives better.

Ask employees to learn basic listening skills and make a note of any customer comments that could identify a recurrent problem and a chance to improve.

5 – Cross-train.

It might not seem obvious but asking employees to swap jobs will improve the customer experience. Having a chance to learn new skills can revive employees’ sense of excitement and interest in their jobs, which improves morale. Customers sense this and feel better about the company.

Also, cross-training helps people understand how the company works and their roles in the organization so they’re better able to help customers navigate the system and find what they need.

You might implement this strategy in such a positive way that you realize you can help other business owners do the same. In this case, why not create an online course teaching people how to cross train employees, or even how to offer better customer service? You’ll need to think carefully about the content, and you’ll have to find the best online course platforms, but once you do, this could be a very useful additional income stream – it’s certainly something people will be willing to pay for. 

Just learn.

Whether you train in the 5 areas above or not, keep your employees learning. People feel more engaged when they’re growing in their jobs, which makes them more attentive to customer needs. In fact, 25% of employers have seen customer loyalty increase after requiring more employee education. And with today’s multitude of options for individual or group learning, helping your team become customer loyalty experts is easier than ever.


Carol Bleyle
Carol Bleyle
CAROL handles client services and marketing for Software, a training platform designed to promote experiential, on-the-job learning and development. She works to realize the vision of turning the 70% of informal learning we do at work into a powerful training and development tool. With an M.A. in Cognitive Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley, Carol views skills development through the lens of cognitive science and psychology And over the past 23 years, whether in traditional classrooms or on-the-go mentoring in her own company, Carol has constantly searched for realistic ways to make learning more natural and engaging. As a writer, trainer, consultant, entrepreneur and public speaker, Carol helps business owners find practical solutions to employee performance. She and her husband reside in beautiful Loudoun County Virginia with three energetic dogs and two lazy horses.

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