The cost of poor customer service is going up, rising from $41 billion lost in 2013 to $62 billion in 2015, according to research reported by NewVoiceMedia.
The cloud service company reports customer experience is the key differentiator in driving retention and acquisition, as companies that thrill customers at every touchpoint of the buyer journey are the ones most likely to keep customers around. Data from the customer analytics platform Kissmetrics shows the average value of a lost customer is nearly $250, while customer acquisition costs an average of seven times more than retention. By focusing on making the customer experience a positive one throughout a website or app, customers will stay loyal to your brand and market for you, garnering referrals through the positive sentiment they spread about your business.
Independent retailers are in a unique position to really set themselves apart from big corporations with the special touches they add to customer experience. Here is how to amaze customers online and increase sales:
Make It Super Easy to Connect with You
Forget just having a great product. Customers today want to feel like the brands they support through their purchases are actually invested in them, too. The Harvard Business Review reports a recent 10-year study showed the value of customer relationships doubled, while brand valuations like trademarks and domains steadily declined. This is great news for indie retailers. If you are there for your customers, they’ll want to be there for you.
A strong customer relationship is rooted in exemplary customer service and support. On your website, include a toll-free number to allow anyone in the country to call you without hassle. Call management that allows customers to get in touch more quickly with the right person, like forwarding with automated systems, removes the pain usually associated with calling a company from your brand. Be sure to display social media channels prominently on your site, too, and consider featuring fill forms with less-than-24-hour responses, as well as live chat, as other forms of instant support for inquiring customers.
Inject a Personal Touch
While nearly half of marketers agree personalization is key to growth, eConsultancy reports only 37 percent of customers say their favorite retailer understands them. This presents a huge opportunity for independent retailers to really delve into the inner workings of their customers and cater to them. Not only will you stand apart from most of your competitors, but you could easily become many customers’ new top choice for purchases.
Make a customer feel special by:
- Greeting them by name in emails or when they visit your website
- Using visit history to present product selections based on their past purchases or what they’ve left in their carts
- Sending them special offers tailored to their buying history and demographic
- Acknowledging special occasions in their lives, such as birthdays, with freebie offers
- Speeding up the customer service process by keeping complete history on file and giving new agents access to it when they’re communicating with a customer
Not only does designing a website with personalization in mind speed up processes and make the customer buying journey more intuitive, it also increases sales and decreases stress on customer support, since your brand is proactively marketing and providing service with each individual customer in mind.
Put Data to Work
You’ll be better able to improve the personalization process of your website or app by using data to dictate certain actions that affect your customers. 71.5 percent of contact center analytics found data improves customer service agent performance. Even the most minute data observations can clue a customer service team in to tweaks that can drastically improve the customer experience.
Determine your customer experience goals and identify where to mine for data that explains more about where customer dissatisfaction and drop-off is occurring. On what page or pages are visitors most likely to abandon your website? What does heat map data tell you about where customers are paying the most attention on your home page and how can you use those elements elsewhere on your site? At what point after your app has been downloaded do logins tend to decrease or stop?
Using digital surveys is another way to garner valuable feedback. Present a survey on your site or social media channels in exchange for a discount offer or freebie. Customers will love having the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions, and the reward they receive keeps them tied to your brand.
Always keep setting goals, and measure and test each new change you implement. Make it a priority to build relationships every way you can by surveying customers and connecting with them through customer service. Use what you learn about them to personalize their journeys, make them feel special and motivate them to continue building a relationship with your brand. Then take advantage of data and analytics to keep improving every step of the way.