By Ben Walker, CEO for Transcription Outsourcing, LLC.

Nobody likes missing out on getting a contract or having a customer leave to go to a competitor. Customer churn hurts a business financially and mentally. With the right tools and strategies in play, customer churn can be a thing of the past.

We learned a valuable lesson in customer churn when we lost a contract with one of the largest companies in the area who was interested in our transcription services. When they explained what they needed from us, we thought we were able to handle everything. It ended up that they needed more help than we could keep up with. After missing out on that account, we took a step back to see how we could prevent that from happening again.

Our experience in losing a large transcription client made us realize the importance of the different types of communication. Many businesses have come to use email as their go-to channel for communication -- it's quick and it's easy. Customers want a quick answer and to feel that you care about them and their needs. The problem with email is the amount of empathy you can show a customer often gets lost in the text. According to an IBM survey, by 2020, 85 percent of all customer service interactions will be handled without the need for a human agent. While this may work for some industries, we've found that our customers appreciate a phone call.

Pick Up the Phone -- Right Away

Think about those automated phone systems that take forever to get you to the right representative. Frustrating right? That's why we found that being good about answering the phone and returning calls quickly has made us stand out from our competitors. Our customers appreciate our response time, and since, we've seen an increase in the number of referrals we get each year. It's important to be the company in your industry known for being easily available.

In the case where you do get inquiries via email, answer them right away. A slow response time makes customers feel neglected and that their business with you isn't important. Responding to 99.9 percent of email inquiries will impress and retain your customers. Again, they'll appreciate the extra effort you go to to make yourself available. We keep an eye on our inboxes for the subject lines from our online form. That way, when someone does fill it out, we catch it as soon as possible and email or call them right away. We've found that if you respond to inquiries within five minutes, the odds of potential customers becoming a client are over 95 percent.

Use Value-Based Pricing

The cost of your services helps maintain your company's integrity. People want to be mindful of their budget when they are considering using your services. There is a lot of competition in the transcription industry, as more and more services become available online. When customers approach us about our fees, we use value-based pricing to justify them. When we explain to potential clients how our company works compared to the online services, we make sure to emphasize what differentiates us from the rest. The majority of the time, the client agrees that their projects need a more accurate transcription when they chose us over low-cost alternatives.

The most important lesson we learned about customer churn when we lost that client was that we thought we could keep up with the needs of the customer when it wasn't possible. Being honest about what your service or product does is the difference between gaining or missing out on a bid. Be honest with a customer who approaches you about your services. If you can't help them, they will appreciate your honesty and keep you in mind for future projects.

Now more than ever, people rely on ratings others give you in their business decision making. Racking up too many reviews that discuss how you weren't able to fulfill what you promise will cost you. With great communication skills and honest business practices with a fair price, you'll find yourself experiencing less customer churn and an increase in business opportunities.  

Ben Walker is the CEO for Transcription Outsourcing, LLC and has made contributions to Entrepreneur Magazine, The Associated Press, & Inc.

Published on: May 17, 2018