To survive and stay competitive in today’s customer-driven economy, organisations can’t just deliver a great customer service anymore. They need to look for every opportunity to increase the value of each interaction, whether that’s to increase the sale value or reduce operating costs.
But how can you do that?
If your customers are looking to buy your products, they will typically look at three factors;
- product choice
If you offer products that competitors can also provide, then even before they visit your website, price comparison engines will probably already have told consumers whether you are competitive on price and if you have the product they’re looking for. This leaves service as the differentiator.
Clearly customer service can influence someone’s decision whether to buy or not, particularly when it comes to repeat purchase and also becoming a positive or negative ambassador for the brand. A recent study 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer by American Express found:
- 74% consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences.
- 68% of consumers state that they are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service, on average they are willing to spend 14% more.
- When it comes to poor customer service experiences, nearly all (95%) consumers talk about them, with 60% reporting that they talk about these experiences all of the time.
- 93% of consumers talk about their good customer service experiences, at least some of the time. 46% tell someone about them all of the time.
Consider the customer experience as a seed which can grow in two directions, through both lost and loyal customers.
So how can you make that all important difference to the service you provide to your customers?
1. Focus on the point of conversion
If a visitor has clicked on your ‘Add to shopping cart’ or ‘Order now’ button, they’ve more or less made up their mind to buy, although there are still hurdles that could get in the way of a successful purchase.
However, what about those consumers who walk away without clicking that all important button? What more can you do?
Focus on the product pages. Customers will make their final buying decision here. They’ll look for information about the product, accessories, delivery times, costs and customer reviews.
An example of a well thought out product page is loaf.com
On left-hand side there are clear icons for ‘at a glance’, more product info, delivery, returns and customer reviews (very important). This means you can quickly get to the bits you need.
They have also clearly thought of the major pain points when ordering large items – such as ‘will it fit?’, but offering a downloadable guide.
Plus the all-important delivery service levels – waiting in, assembly and mess.
Loaf makes it easy for customers to navigate and find out extra pieces of information very easily from the main product page, with additional links to FAQ’s, methods to get in touch, ordering a brochure or free swatches.
In particular introducing a FAQs section on your product pages or website is a good idea to promote a readily available self-service option.
FAQ’s can help to avoid more expensive cost-to-serve queries through other channels, such as a customer sending an email or picking up the phone.
Tip: If you have customers registered with you, do a survey of those who aborted the final step. Ask key questions to give you a better understanding of the customer’s process. What factors were involved? Would it have helped to be able to click to be put through to a live agent there and then? A click-to-call option could be generated from your system, or they can call a dedicated sales hotline with a reference number and be put through to an agent.
Alternatively, live chat is increasingly popular as a customer service channel since it’s an instant source you can access to solve issues immediately. However, as with any customer services solution it is important you can deliver against expectations.
2. Look at where you’re forcing customers to switch channels
If you have implemented separate systems to deal with each channel, you are immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding your customers’ channel activities.
Often customers choose one channel when they’ve not been able to get the service they want on their first choice. In Microsoft’s recent 2015 U.K. State of Multichannel Customer Service study the majority of UK consumers typically use four channels to interact with a company (telephony, email, web chat and social media).