With our optimization series winding down at the peak of the holiday season, you may have missed the final installment on customer service — but it’s well worth checking out, as it may be the most important topic we covered.
After all, while social media, SEO and mobile strategies may or may not fit a given merchant’s target audience and business goals, every seller strives to deliver stellar service to potential and returning customers. And the stakes couldn’t be higher: with consumers more empowered than ever to voice their opinions, failure to meet expectations carries a heavy price. Nearly a third of consumers have complained about poor service using social feedback methods such as social networking sites or third-party review sites such as Yelp, according to Forrester, and 45% of consumers say they’ll quickly abandon an online purchase altogether if they can’t find a quick answer to their questions.
The good news is that empowerment is a two-way street. Merchants now have the ability to move beyond reactive customer care and into the realm of proactive relationship building. The ability to deliver targeted service messaging appropriate to the touchpoint customers prefer means that merchants needn’t wait for the phone to ring to demonstrate excellent service. And just as poor service risks damaging the brand, merchants who meet consumers’ high expectations stand to reap substantial rewards. Satisfactory service interactions can lead to additional purchases from existing customers and a cost savings due to reduced customer churn. In addition, a positive customer service experience can lead to a boost in word-of-mouth recommendations: for example, shoppers who use social networks for customer service are three times as likely to recommend a brand after a successful interaction, according to a survey by NM Incite. In addition, merchants who can differentiate their brands through superior service are better positioned to compete against online behemoths such as Amazon: stellar service can help contribute value to the brand that goes beyond discount pricing.
To achieve such gains, merchants should not only invest in optimizing service across touchpoints, but they should take a proactive stance in shaping customer communication and building relationships. Delivering fluid, user-driven customer service helps merchants provide information that’s relevant to the audience and the touchpoint – enabling sales and boosting loyalty. Download the whitepaper to read how merchants can
• lay the groundwork with organizational changes that boost consistency and open communication
• build substantial self-service content – with help from customers
• adopt a proactive approach, touchpoint by touchpoint
Will customer service be a focus for you in 2013? Why or why not?