VoIP Customer Retention - What's the Key?

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Acquiring a new customer is labor-intensive and costly compared to retaining existing customers, yet many VoIP providers appear to focus far more extensively on customer acquisition and not enough on customer retention. As a rule, the VoIP industry sees a lot of customer churn - especially after introductory incentives/pricing come to an end. But there are many aspects that vendors can work on to retain customers and these improvements can also drive customer acquisition.

Customer/Tech support

Not many technology vendors focus on customer support, to their detriment. One of the biggest drivers of enterprise VoIP is hassle free maintenance. Most VoIP customers switch to hosted services so that they can avoid having to purchase and repair their own hardware. But these expectations translate to other areas as well.

When something goes wrong - as it inevitably will - or bugs are found, customers expect those problems to be resolved through a phone call or an email. A common complaint across vendors is that customers have to talk to multiple agents or search through forums for solutions to common issues. Ensuring that service agents have proper communication skills and the technical knowledge to troubleshoot phone problems remotely will show that positive customer experiences is a priority at your company.

Technical Problems

These can be service interruptions, dropped calls or poor audio quality. Sometimes they are not actually the provider's fault but they still get blamed for them. Vendors can prevent these problems at the outset by testing the client's network, bandwidth and Internet connections before setting up the service.

Nevertheless such issues can arise due to changes in the underlying infrastructure as time goes on. It falls on the vendor to ensure that their hardware/equipment is robust enough to scale appropriately as additional customers are added to the network. Changes in the audio codecs being used or other software can also adversely affect the audio experience for customers.

Poor Communication

Sometimes a client is acquired by another company or their needs change. If the vendor is not frequently in touch with them, they may not be aware of additional plans that may be more suitable. So customers may end up leaving the provider for competitors. By maintaining continuous contact with existing customers, the vendor can easily offer custom tailored solutions that match customer expectations over time. Customers are also frequently disappointed that the best prices are reserved for annual contracts - which they were hoping to avoid. It is better to be honest and upfront about flexible pricing rather than have the customer feel like they have been cheated.