For as long as retail has existed, customer service has been at its heart. Ensuring your customers are satisfied with your product and service determines whether they think about you fondly and purchase from you again, or whether you lose them for good.
And this is nothing new. In fact, customer service is thousands of years old – the first recorded customer complaint was made way back in 1750 BCE. But, although the need for customer service is long-standing, the expectations of today’s shoppers are a lot different.
Customers want an immediate response when they make a complaint and want to be able to contact customer support at all hours. Plus, with the rise of social media, customers have the power to share their opinions (both good and bad) across public platforms.
But that’s not all, customers are also becoming more wary of the brands they buy from. Four in ten customers no longer trust social media ads. And, only 14% of customers believe brands when they claim that they “put the customer first”.
Although it may seem daunting, these rising expectations give you the opportunity to show how your approach to customer service is leagues above your competition.
To succeed, and to secure customers for the long-term, you need to do what you can to elevate the customer experience you offer. A loyalty program, for example, differentiates you and shows that you value your customers’ long-term loyalty. Meanwhile, the use of chatbots, SMS notifications and instant messaging give retailers the tools needed to respond reactively.
In this blog, we’re going to look at the ways you can take your approach to customer service to the next level. Let’s get started.
Keep the lines of communication open
Once a customer becomes a member of your loyalty program, they have shown they want to hear from you – so don’t ignore them. Send them regular emails that remind them that you’re there, value them and have great products to offer them.
Make these emails personalised by including the loyalty points they have waiting for them and product recommendations related to their previous purchases. On average, loyalty emails perform 35% better than regular marketing emails as they’re personalised and hold added value for the customer.
With instant gratification driving many consumers purchasing decisions today, messaging platforms are also a great way to stay in touch. They immediately pop-up and urge your customers to click-through and make spur of the moment visits to your site.
Try notifying your customers of their points balance or new perk you’ve added to your program via SMS or through Facebook Messenger. 75% of customers prefer brands to personalise messaging, offers and experiences so make sure it’s unique to their purchasing behaviours.
Make your brand truly customer-centric
Many brands use the term “customer-centric” but few really practise what they preach. Only 58% of companies survey their customers and a measly 48% monitor online review sites and social media to gauge opinion.
A missed opportunity as your customers are what make your brand a success story or a flop. You need to understand their wants and needs so you can better tailor the experience to them.
To learn more about your customers’ desires, incentivise reviews through your loyalty program. You could even gift more points if customers add a photo – this way you can see how your products translate in real life.
A positive review will act as a credible source of social proof for new customers – with 84% trusting them over recommendations from friends. Meanwhile, a negative review provides a learning experience and a better understanding of your customers so you can deliver the products and experiences they want. It also gives you the chance to respond and show you care.
If customers see you putting in the effort to act on their opinions, they’ll appreciate it and tell others about your customer-centric approach.
Bring at-risk customers back from the brink
Often shoppers will become “at-risk” when they haven’t shopped with you within a particular time frame. This could because they’ve forgotten about you, had a bad experience or are struggling to navigate what you have on offer.
To bring these “at-risk” customers back from the brink and to encourage them to return to spend with you, upgrade your customer service approach so they feel valued.
You could use your loyalty program to gift your customers surprise points or give them early access to your latest product launch. Or, if you have loyalty tiers, delight them by moving them up a tier. This way, they’ll have more exclusive and experiential rewards to engage with and will be encouraged to return.
At-risk customers want to know you haven’t forgotten about them and that you still care. Loyalty points are a fantastic way to show that they’re still in front of mind even if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
Make cart abandonment an opportunity
Cart abandonment is every retailer’s worst nightmare. You’ve done all the legwork to get your customer to the check-out but they still don’t convert.
Turn this hurdle into an opportunity by first understanding why it’s happening. Some of the main causes are costly shipping, distraction or if the journey to purchase is long and complicated.
To win these customers back, offer rewards in exchange for completed transactions. This will be particularly effective if the customer sees the instant benefits of spending their cash. So, remind them in a place they’ll definitely look, such as in SMS messages or on Facebook Messenger.
With 61% of customers citing that they abandon their carts due to high shipping costs, you should also incorporate free shipping as a reward in your loyalty program. If these fickle customers see this perk is on offer, they’ll be encouraged to shop with you over the competition.
Level-up your customer service
It’s no surprise that an impeccable approach to customer service is vital to ecommerce success. But what’s challenging to many is meeting today’s customers’ high expectations.
A great place to start is by upgrading your customer experience so it’s clear to these shoppers that you care about them on a personal level, value their loyalty and don’t want to lose them to the competition.
About Mollie Woolnough-Rai & LoyaltyLion
Mollie Woolnough-Rai is a Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion – is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform trusted by thousands of ecommerce brands worldwide. Merchants use LoyaltyLion when they want a fully customised loyalty program that is proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.