The rise of digital has disrupted the world of retail forever. New touchpoints mean customers have more ways of shopping – and more places to shop – than ever before. And with your competitor just a click or a gesture away, it’s more vital than ever that you give the great customer service that will keep people coming back for more.
In the US alone, customer service specialist NewVoiceMedia estimates that businesses are losing $41bn a year from customer switching – and 44% of people who take their custom elsewhere say it’s because they feel underappreciated: the company they were dealing with simply didn’t make them feel like they cared.
But even without the figures, it’s obvious that good service is better than bad service. After all, it’s cheaper to keep regular customers than find new ones. So how do you wow your customers into making your link the only one that matters?
Be old fashioned.
Think back to the old days. When your only choice was to deal face to face with the people in your local store, what was it that made you loyal? Here are a few tips from the past that are still vital today:
- Create a culture of service and ownership If everyone in the company cares about its future and its customers, they’ll treat customers better. Empower employees to take decisions and do what’s right for the customer: the people that pay their wages. Treat your staff the way you want them to treat your customers.
- Sweat the small stuff Little things make a big difference
- Treat compliments like complaints Finding out what you did right can be just as informative as seeing what went wrong.
- Be consistent Customers appreciate consistent service experiences
- Keep it people focused Your people are your strongest asset. Give them the freedom to build relationships so your customers come back for more.
- Sample your own service See how it feels to be your own customer, so you can see what works and what needs to change.
Your biggest chance to make things right is when they go wrong
Every retailer knows that one of your best chances to get a customer for life is by making things right when they go wrong. What’s more, an unhappy customer made happy is one of the best ambassadors your company can have.
Amazon knows this. That’s why their latest Kindle Fire HD tablet comes with a “Mayday” button, linking the customer to live video tech support within 15 seconds if things go awry.
Face to face service for a digital age
Offering face to face video conversation for unhappy customers is a powerful way to build customer relationships and inspire excellent customer service – and it is a powerful differentiator for companies wishing to establish themselves as a complete retail offering. In many ways it’s a remote equivalent to the ‘Genius Bars’ that have helped establish Apple as a model of customer retention strategy.
Video service offers online retailers a chance to give the good old fashioned personal service of a store without having to lay down a single brick.