The Best Customer Services in 10 Steps
Here are some reasons why Customer Service is Critical for a Successful eCommerce Brand:
- It plays a role in the customers decision
- It is a core function of any business
- It drives conversions and eliminates issues
- It provides assurance and information
- It demonstrates professionalism and expertise
- It can be deeply creative and emotional
- It is expected from customers
- It can be used to cross sell
- It can be prepared in advance with templates
- It can be automated and timed with precision
- It can be used to develop your understanding of the customer
Your average customer service “how to” guide enumerates a few very important aspects pertaining to the customer's journey. They all involve some sort of definitive list of things you “need”, but I believe that they all miss a critical and deeply nuanced point. We can create a checklist for you to follow that will give you the sort of customer service that lands you right in the middle, but I believe that there is a single truth that can help you elevate above the standard.
1. Genuine Loyalty comes from Sincerity towards the Customer
When we are designing roles in your customer service department, when you are selecting your product portfolio, or even when you are sending your customer emails. At each stage of your business model, the most important factor is inevitably going to be the genuine nature of your Loyalty, and not theirs. It's a very natural rule that dictates these terms; which tells us that we cannot make demands when the choice is theirs to freely make. When we think about terms like nurturing leads, deep value, being customer centric and personalization. We think of ways to implement deeper values into our business model for the customer to enjoy. What we haven’t realized is that these values are how we also secure our future as an organization. The truth is that there are huge established businesses out there that dominate the playing field with their brand strength, and the average business struggles to out spend them. Whenever you feel a sense of despair, know it is the big fish that causes it.
2. Can customer service create the sort of difference to help us compete against these big brands?
The answer is plainly yes. Customer service is the foundation of personality, values and dedication. As the saying goes, you must give to receive. For most shoppers, customer service is the first interaction that they will have with any real person. We can either treat this encounter as simply shoppers seeking clarity, or them giving you an opportunity to impress them. Either way, every interaction is a brilliant opportunity to show that you care much more than big business.
3. Can Customer Service Replace Ad Spending?
Ad spending is thought to be a superficial marketing tool that drives traffic but creates no tangible benefit for your business other than cash flow. The idea is that acquisition of new customers is often unreliable and expensive which makes for a dangerous combination. Instead focusing on customer retention with deep value and understanding of your customer is how we create a successful brand. The idea can be summarized with the phrase “Customer Centric”, which is commitment to the customers needs and how we earn their loyalty.
4. Why is Customer Service Important?
Society's opinion controls the outcomes of all things and the direction they are headed. Wait what does that mean? When we see a fashion trend or a viral video, it is our impression of these things that give it momentum. The following, likes and comments we create give these “things” life. All marketing is based purely on what the consumer likes or fits the demographic. We are social animals and that is exactly why Advocacy & Loyalty are pillars of transformation. If we were to agree with this previous statement, we still have another issue. The freedom of choice.The person considering buying your product or service has the inherent right to do so at their discretion, potentially choosing from limitless options. Unless you have a truly novel, one of a kind product, there isn’t much that differentiates your brand from the next. It is for this reason why we must rely on marketing so heavily to appeal to the customers interests. Sometimes the situation just cannot be helped by ad placement.
5. Understanding the Customer Is Powerful!
The abundance of information which you gather from Customer Services places you in a unique situation, where you are able to monitor customers' experience with your business. This information which is gathered, occurs over numerous encounters giving you enough insight to improve the customers journey. The elements of loyalty and advocacy are inspired from this information. It is then that we are able to confidently say we understand our customer base, knowing exactly what they want and need. This is what it means to be customer centric. Building a business and building it around the customer are two separate organizations. Once we manage to resolve this critical matter, then we can begin to nurture our customers, while building loyalty. This is how we create deep, lasting value for a dedicated demographic. This is the basis upon which loyalty and advocacy is built upon. Once this is established we can begin scaling our business through retention strategies.
6. What is Customer Service?
Customer Service is an extension to the selling process that seeks to nurture the customer across their journey. This is done by streamlining any unwanted issues and improving the customer's experience. Customer service can have a variety of different meanings but it can be generalized as building assurance and confidence in your brand. Customer service is an important element as it can be a key factor in their comparison between long term options. The main reason has to be the degree of creativity and versatility of the customer service, and how this can be leveraged to produce an intimate relationship with the customer. We see an elevated experience when we enter into a luxury brands retail store, but this does not imply that such qualities must be reserved only for those companies. It is these established brands that sometimes fail to see the intricate nature of consumer personalities and overlook their customer needs because they target larger broader demos.
7. What is Excellent Loyalty?
What is the meaning of true loyalty? Answer that and you discover “Golden Loyalty” is the quality of perfectly understanding your immediate demographic and having a finely tuned approach to your services. There is a clear contrast between interacting with a lifeless website and a person that is trying to make your experience stellar from A to Z. This difference is obvious and it’s so impressionable on the customer that they remember that experience far into the future. This is particularly important in e-commerce because of the lack of a human presence. Customer Service is a creative topic with broad implications across all your business functions. As a requirement it is unavoidable and as a competitive factor it can be highly impactful at all stages. In early implementation you have the ability to compete with bigger established brands on retention tactics. The potential of customer service is vital, one of the first things any new business should implement should be a creative customer service approach. What does it mean to possess golden loyalty? Truly understanding the customers vision and relating to it when brewing up your plan is important. There is a reason why people build businesses that they relate to or also themselves love. This gives them the sort of insight they need in order to create a product that is perfectly fitted to the customers needs.
8. Can Customer Service Reduce Our Risk?
The first sign that the business that you're dealing with is poorly managed and possibly deceptive, is in the manner of their presentation and customer service. If you fail to provide these fundamental aspects, people also expect complications at later stages of the purchasing journey. For this same reason we can say things like, customer service is a critical part of retaining a customer and convincing them to complete their order. If a customer arrives at your store and never completes their purchase because they never received an answer to an important question, how are we expected to last? Providing great customer service is a way of building trust and assurance in the safe delivery of your product. Having easy access to your team can keep the customer from feeling isolated.
9. Application of Great Customer Service
There are several ways to implement customer service from tailored solutions to simple email. The key is in how you go about doing so! Remember that nurturing your customers is a must, meaning you need to make them feel well taken care of in your tone and the content of your communications. We recommend that you add extra flair to your communications like helpful recommendations and warm comments. Sending automated emails with great content that probes their levels of satisfaction, or blog articles that may help them use the product better is a great example. We have seen handwritten thank you letters make huge differences in how the customer receives your product. Warmth and nurturing is the way forward.
10. Tips for Great Customer Service
- Cancellations: Let the customer feel like they are not trapped, send them information in advance on the cancellation process.
- Returns: Build transparency on your returns policy so that they understand beforehand that it's not a one way street. A simple follow email is sufficient.
- Shipping Terms: Make your shipping terms crystal clear so that the customer can anticipate a delivery time.
- Expected Arrivals and Delays: Inform your customers whenever there are any delays so that they aren’t dissatisfied.
- Review Requests: Ask the customer directly what they think about your store and catalog, or even some help advice they may have.
- Recommendations and Instructions: If your customer orders a kitchen appliance, send them a recipe book for free or include instructions on how to use it.
- Demonstrate openness: show your willingness to help by accompanying them through the entire shopping experience, and make them feel cared for.
- Remain Prompt: Always keep yourself available and be prompt with your response, reduce the time for each question.
- Cross Sell: Keep the conversation going, make recommendations that they will love, use this opportunity to cross sell.
- Lead them Towards Loyalty: Use this opportunity to induct them into your Loyalty Program, make it worthwhile to continue shopping with progressive tier discounts.
- Memorable Unboxing: Spend extra effort on the unboxing experience, make it an event to remember with a beautiful experience.
- Extra Little Gift: Add a little trinket in the package, something like a pin that they can keep around them. Try a handwritten letter expressing your gratitude.
Loyalty, Advocacy, Trust, Security, Deep Value. Keep away from the basic business values and focus on providing a genuine experience. Your best hope of creating a lasting experience and a lifetime customer is through understanding, and being customer centric. Customer service is the first and best way to do that. Place the customer first by making it more than simple problem and solution, make it a nurturing experience. Growave is a marketing platform that can help you manage your business with a rich bundle of tools. These tools may be the difference between a static site and a dynamic and powerful website. Read more about Growave.