Your business is no longer what you say it is – it’s what your customer says it is.
Today’s consumers do not know, and do not want to know, of the bygone era where support desks closed early for the holidays and delivery time frames were in excess of a week. No, today’s customers expect attention 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Customer feedback is being shared and spread online with unprecedented speed. Shoppers now look to the internet and social media as a cost-effective and speedier alternative to queuing both in store and on phone lines to customer services for help. Here lie several opportunities for businesses, but also risks. It is now crucial for retailers to consider extended omni-channel customer care.
For a client of TELUS International Europe, provider of multilingual contact center and BPO solutions, social media monitoring on Facebook and YouTube was implemented. The company (the Austrian division of a global leader in the payment industry) had never used social media for customer care and was experiencing a rather challenging reputation.
Within the first month of the partnership, a 24/7 social media support channel was implemented, including the development of standard answers in nine languages and clear procedures for escalation while adhering to the service level standard of one hour. This move led to increased brand recognition for the company and positive social media comments acknowledging the fast responses.
Another viable, and even more personalised combination of the in-store interaction and the ease of at-home or on-the-move service, is webchat. A growing number of statistics suggest that webchat could be a significant driver of sales. A 2010 survey from Bold Software revealed that 67% of shoppers with a previous chat experience continue to actively seek chat options on merchant websites, and that 77% of chat users agree the new interaction method positively influences their attitude about the retailer they were considering buying from.
Further evidence comes from a 2009 eMarketer.com survey which found that 63% of respondents reported they were more likely to return to a website after experiencing live chat, and that 38% stated they purchased from the e-commerce website as a direct result of the chat session itself.
A new addition to the informed customer purchase journey is global, online, open review platform Trustpilot. Doing exceedingly well in Denmark where it was founded, the platform is gaining popularity in the UK for consumers to turn to before and after purchasing. A dedicated team of staff combs through reviews to ensure validity, which makes the site a sure-fire point of call for both first-time buyers and those looking to comment on retailers’ products and service.
Research undertaken by Trustpilot found that 77% of UK consumers look at online reviews before making their decision to buy. It also found that online reviews could generate up to 40% of additional annual revenue.
With these statistics in mind, it has never been more important for retailers to review their customer service strategy, including after-sales.