Last week we published our findings from a recent experiment we conducted over Twitter. Our aim was to test the top 10 retailers in UK to see how long they took to respond to customer questions on social media. With new channels available to take advantage of, such as Twitter, which is essentially open 24 hours a day, high levels of customer service are expected more than ever, so there really is no reason why retailers – especially those based purely online – should fall behind.
So, why is customer service important?
First things first, let’s get to the bottom of this: why should you focus your energy on customer service?
The service your customers receive is at the forefront of customer experience, and probably the only human interaction they will experience with a brand, so getting it right is crucial. If the customer has a bad experience, they’re not going to want to use your services. They are also twice as likely to tell friends and family about their negative experiences – so try not to give them the opportunity! This could lead to bad PR: take a look at British Airways’ poor service, which prompted one angry customer to buy a promoted Tweet badmouthing the brand. BA’s attempt to rectify the situation was lacklustre too, which only made them look worse.
One of the advantages of traditional “bricks and mortar” is its face-to-face nature. Unfortunately, ecommerce doesn’t benefit from this – most, if not all, service will be conducted via phone or email, so it’s vital to make sure their experience is a positive one, as it represents your brand.
Great customer service is also key to retaining customer loyalty. Did you know it’s easier and cheaper to keep current customers happy than it is to lure in new ones? It costs around 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one, and 81% of customers are likely to repeatedly give a company business if they receive good service.
How can you improve?
1. If you haven’t solved the issue, reassure the customer that you are working on it. The internet is open 24 hours, so if you can have 24 hour customer phone service for your overseas customers, this would be ideal.
Alternatively, you can set up an automated response letting your customer know that you are not in the office and will respond and solve the issue asap. This is even harder on social media, because chances are their message or problem will be visible to anyone who checks your company account. So if you’re a UK company, and one of your American customers has an issue overnight, they could create a Twitstorm (to use the technical term) while you’re asleep.
2. Be consistent
Customers expect you to have consistency across all channels of support, including phone, email, social media and chat tools. Even simple things like the same representative dealing with the same customer throughout solving an issue can make the experience better for the customer: there’s nothing more frustrating than being passed around to 5 different people when you’re trying to deal with a problem.
This applies to social media too – leaving a name with a Twitter response, and having the same person respond consistently to the same request was much more appealing than having numerous service reps replying. Our Twitter experiences with brands who had the same representative dealing with our questions were more memorable and positive.
3. The customer is always right
No matter how annoyed, difficult, or downright rude the customer is, you must remain as polite, friendly and professional as possible. You’re guaranteed bad publicity if your service is bad and you’re rude to your customers.
At the end of the day, they are paying you to provide them with a high quality service – yes, sometimes they’re wrong, but in their head you’ve already made a mistake, and it’s your job to overcome this, so don’t go trying to win any arguments with them because that’s not going to happen.
Sometimes, the best way to solve a customer issue is to offer a grovelling apology, or an olive branch in the shape of free goods or services. Dominio’s Pizza, for example, encourage their staff to give a free drink or side dish to customers who are unhappy with their product or service. This can go a long way in making the customer happy – if you handle the situation well and over-compensate for your mistakes, this could lead to an even more impressed customer than if you’d got it right in the first place
At Veeqo, we think top-notch service is paramount to the customer experience. That’s why have a brilliant and dedicated customer service team to compliment our high quality software.