1. Make it convenient.
It’s a pretty safe bet to assume most of us have seen a commercial touting “the best in customer service” or “the best coverage” only to find that’s not the case. The fact is that a customer’s opinion of your service is going to be determined by individual experience or word of mouth from other customers, not a commercial telling them how they should feel. Undeniably, claiming to be the best helps get people through the door, but it’s more important to keep them coming back.
We’re officially in a period where customers have vast and never-ending options, or so it seems. Many products are the same or similar, the biggest differentiator being where you make the purchase. I can buy the exact same item from Store A or Store B. If Store A is Amazon, then I’m always shopping there. It’s not the prices or promises that keep me coming back; it’s the customer service and knowledge that my purchase will arrive in a timely manner. And if it doesn’t, I know Amazon will promptly make it right. For this very reason, we must close the gap between what customers experience and what they expect.
2. Make it a multichannel experience.
Technology is changing everything, literally. From the way kids do homework, to how we shop for furniture, and even how we see our doctors. I’ve had a few conversations with people who have a love-hate relationship with technology. It makes our lives easier and also more frustrating. But I hypothesize that the frustration comes from the learning period of how to make technology less intrusive and more helpful.
A few companies are ahead of the curve because they know that easy, multichannel shopping experiences and repeat customers are positively correlated. For example, I adore Pinterest. In fact, almost every woman I know has a Pinterest account. I use it for a lot of my fashion choices, to track private Christmas lists for my family, and because it has virtually replaced every cookbook I own. There are several times when I see an item – a pair of shoes, an ingredient, etc. –- but I can’t find the item in my local store. One retailer is remedying this gap and cutting down on customer hassles. Nordstrom now uses real-time data from Pinterest to determine which items are displayed in stores. The more popular the item is online, the more visible it is on shelves.
This forward thinking response provides massive value to customers as the majority of shoppers consider TIME the most important factor for good customer service--77% to be exact. Creating a multichannel experience values the customer’s time, which is exactly what Nordstrom did. The shopping experience started on Pinterest which leads to the Nordstrom website, and from there, the shopper decides that they don’t want to pay shipping or wait for arrival, so they drive to the mall and complete the purchase in person. Other stores, however, make it harder. In fact, about 97% of companies are lacking in the multichannel experience.
I recently was gifted a pair of tennis shoes from H&M. I really like H&M; they’re on the forefront of humane and fair wage factory productions and offer a large variety of clothes for my entire family. But shoes I was given were too small, so I took them in to the shop to exchange them. I was told that I could only return the shoes to the warehouse with the self-addressed envelope they sent me. It’s not too much of a bother to throw the shoes in an envelope and drop them in the mail, but having to wait several weeks to get a replacement pair makes me and the person who bought them for me not want to use their online service again. Because H&M isn’t offering me convenience, I’ll order online from another store that will.
3. Make it fast and informative.
Given the amount of data available on customer service trends, it is sometimes mind-boggling that companies aren’t paying attention to the stats.
- 91% dislike having to make multiple contacts with a company for the same reason.
- 90% want shorter call wait times.
- 43% of millenials will abandon an online purchase if they can't find a quick answer to their question. And that's just for starters; there is much less patience in the older generations.
- Only a 58% satisfaction rate with online help sections, (read: we've got an avatar for that!).
- There are 196 million digital US shoppers in 2014, and the number keeps growing.
- 40% of men 18-34 would shift all shopping to online.
These trends should be a focal point of development for any organization selling online, from retail to healthcare. There are already a lot of companies making upgrades and opening all connection avenues to consumers. Those are the companies that will thrive and grow in the future online landscape, and I sincerely hope your company is one of them.
So, is there anything your company is doing to set you apart from the rest? We want to know in the comments below. And if you liked this post, here are some more for you to check out:
About the Author
Marijah is the resident Blogger and Script Specialist. In high school, she was given the nickname “The Champ” in reference to her ability to “get it done,” no matter what it is. In college, a very persuasive English professor helped her realize that she had a knack for writing which led to a four-year stint as a college English tutor. She now spends her days blogging, collaborating, and breaking into random dance and song.Follow on Google Plus More Content by Marijah Adams-Cleek