Considering how the current COVID-19 pandemic is breeding feelings of insecurity and instability for both the general public and business owners, offering great, personalised customer service has never had such a high priority. With so much of the world currently in a state of flux and situations seemingly changing on a daily basis, ensuring you are taking the time to strengthen the bonds between your business and your customers can be the difference between struggling and thriving during these trying times.
Premium customer service plays a vital role in retaining customers and maintaining financial success, factors which have a greater level of importance placed upon them given the state of the world right now. In fact, right now, customer service can be a huge differentiator between yourself and competitors.
Customers are the central pillar of your business and maintaining their happiness should be a main priority as it is intrinsically linked to success. This is backed up by recent studies that illustrate how 77% of people are likely to recommend a company to someone they know if they themselves have had a positive interaction with them. However, this isn’t just limited to raising awareness, great customer service can significantly impact your bottom line with 86% of shoppers claiming they are willing to spend larger amounts of money if they receive a better customer experience.
Your customer service and the ways you interact with consumers, both new and returning, is incredibly crucial during the current COVID-19 pandemic. As a recent study from McKinsey observes, ‘Today’s consumers do not buy just products or services – more and more, their purchase decisions revolve around buying into an idea and an experience.’ Given that right now you are likely unable to provide these products and services as readily as would usually be the case, promoting positive experiences through customer service has a heightened level of importance.
So let’s take a look at the ways you can strengthen your customer service in today’s marketplace.
Be On A First Name Basis
It may sound simple and obvious, but just knowing and using your customers first name can be incredibly reassuring and helps to foster trust and relationships. This can be in promotional emails, newsletter signups, parts of your website they may interact with or even when responding to them on social media, using their name is a simple, easy way to show you care about them. Recent research indicates that major brain activation occurs when a person hears their own names being called or used which in turn creates more memorable experiences and adds value. Coca-Cola proved this was the case when they were able to increase sales simply by placing different first names onto cans. With everything that is currently going on in the world, using a customer’s first name, and engaging with them directly can go a long way to building trust and reassuring them.
Rewarding loyalty is another simple way to personalise your customer service. This can be done in a number of ways from offering free products or discounts if a customer spends a certain amount of money, building a loyalty programme based upon a certain number of purchases or even just discount codes for future purchases. By offering customers specific rewards based upon their individual actions, it makes them feel like a valued client, as opposed to just another number in the system. It’s a simple gesture, but it goes a long way, especially when paired with using their name and personal details to illustrate that you appreciate their business.
Customer feedback has many potential benefits as it relates to your business. From allowing potential new customers to see trusted reviews and form positive judgements to understanding where specifically your business can improve to give people exactly what they want. However, asking for feedback directly from your audience can also significantly strengthen your customer service.
Through encouraging customers to give feedback on both good and bad experiences, you can improve procedures, increase satisfaction and form heightened levels of trust from your audience. Consumers are likely to be loyal to a company that implements their specific feedback. Alongside this, rewarding customers for feedback can be beneficial as well, this can be in the form of small discounts, free shipping on a future purchase or even just a shout out on social media, but combining feedback initiatives with personalised support is a great way to improve customer service.
Given the current situation surrounding COVID-19, people are now valuing experiences just as much as physical products. This could be offering creative workshops, podcasts, interactive Q&As or online events that add value and entertainment to your customers lives. Once these lockdown periods have ended, they can be extended further to include in-store activities or promotions as a way to offer your audience something unique; a personalised experience that they are unable to get from anywhere else. By improving your customer service to incorporate elements of individual experiences, it will greatly strengthen the customer service you can offer as well as encourage positive feedback and greater loyalty.
Be On All Channels
Customers will now switch between multiple channels when browsing or engaging with a company. They may start searching on their phone before moving to a tablet and then finish up purchasing on a desktop computer. However, as they are doing this, they want to have a seamless and consistent quality of service. Not having this consistency can severely damage brand reputation and credibility.
All this means that offering great, personalised customer service has to involve multiple channels that are all linked. If a customer puts a product into their shopping cart on their phone but when they check on their laptop later it’s not there, it will likely lead to a lost sale. So what are things you need to remember when utilising several different online channels?
Mobile Devices: People expect good support services wherever they are. Ensuring that your customer service and support pages are mobile-ready is the first, most important facet you need to get right.
Social Media: Customers turn to social networks, Twitter in particular, for customer queries and complaints. Using the power of social media to connect with consumers looking for answers is crucial. This means you need to be able to respond to questions quickly, provide effective solutions and communicate in a personal way. Automated responses, while they may be quick, can give the feeling that you don’t care about your audience.
Self-Service: Many customers also expect brands to help them fix minor issues without having to talk to an employee. More often than not, they will look for such solutions on your website’s FAQ pages to see if they can solve it themselves. This means your FAQ pages should provide easy-to-understand and offer fixes in an engaging and informative manner.
When it comes to improving your overall customer service, everything starts with offering personalised support. Approaching every customer as exactly the same as opposed to as an individual will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your support. Personalised support will let your company stand out from the competition and demonstrate to your customers that you see them as more than just a conversion statistic.
If you would like any further support or advice on how you can improve your customer service, or integrate greater levels of personalisation into your campaigns, please reach out to us here at Appnova as we would be happy to lend our industry expertise.