5 ways to win on the customer experience battlefield
Shopping used to be simple; a consumer goes to a physical store, speaks with a sales clerk, makes their purchase and is on their way. However, with the bombardment of new technologies, platforms and methods to shop, shopping is now more of a chaotic battlefield, with companies competing to see who can create the best experience for shoppers.
Customer experience is the new competitive advantage
Customer experience has never been more important and for good reason. It has been proven that a good customer experience works: when consumers have a positive emotional experience, they are 6x more likely to buy, 12x more likely to recommend the company and 5x more likely to forgive a mistake.
So what are some of the most important ways to not only meet but to exceed customer expectations?
- Have real-time interactions with your consumers
No matter where your customers shop, they will have questions before, during and after purchase. And they will need an easy way to connect with you in real-time to get answers to those questions. Chat is the fastest way to do that, as it is 55% faster than SMS and 99% faster than email. Similar to phones, many companies target a less than 30 second response time.
Be everywhere your customers are
Customers don’t treat each channel of shopping as a separate entity, so why should you? Customers jump from one channel to another in their buying experience in their own way, on their own time, but only 2% of retailers achieve a consistent experience across every single channel. As they go from channel to channel, how can you jump across channels with them? You need to follow them and join them in their unique journey in order to really be everywhere.
Value your customer’s time
Customers will leave the retail site in five minutes if they don’t find the information they need, so it’s incredibly important to respond quickly and efficiently; answering customer contacts in less than 30 seconds is a good rule of thumb.
Give real and personable advice
When customers reach out to a customer service rep, they want authenticity, not a sales pitch. Arm your representatives with the tools and knowledge to provide genuine advice so customers can make the purchase best for them.
A customer was shopping the largest home improvement chains’ site to find paint for a very specific purpose, so she chatted with a product representative for a recommendation. Since this representative had such deep knowledge on the brand’s paint products, they were able to guide the customer to the right product, and the customer was confident in their purchase. Without this deep knowledge, the customer would not have gotten the answers she needed and would not have completed the sale.
Track your success
Leverage data to understand your customers and constantly adjust and improve your experience. Important KPIs include customer satisfaction improvement, customer lifetime value growth, acquisition and retention cost reduction, and increasing add-to-basket rates.
Meet Kevin Gardiner
Kevin is an expert in Client Success, Data Intelligence, and Agent Services. He was the Director of Operations and Strategy at the Macy's Flagship Store on State Street in Chicago, and Manager of Online Operations for ToysRUs/BabiesRUs.com and ToysRUs/BabiesRUs.ca (Canada) at eBay Enterprise. When he's not focused on improving customer experiences, Kevin loves to play the drums, piano, and to road bike around Connecticut (or wherever the road takes him).