Customer satisfaction is the backbone of any business, digital or physical. But it’s especially critical in eCommerce, where the slightest error in communication can result in an entire backlash which doesn’t just threaten your reputation; it can halt your business permanently.
The marketplace may be for the people, but the digital marketplace is the voice of the people. Thirty years ago, there were virtually no outlets for customers to vent their frustration and dissatisfaction. But in 2020, the average consumer has no shortage of online review sites, social media platforms and even their own personal blogs to condone or condemn any business, no matter what size.
That may not be a threat to big box retailers. After all, they have both name recognition, market saturation and an existing reputation to deflect criticism. But to a small enterprise, the results can be devastating. It’s been estimated that only 51 percent of small businesses survive the first five years of operations. And while customer dissatisfaction may not be the sole cause for small business failure, it’s certainly not a boost.
But small businesses can excel in customer service where larger companies simply can’t due to one crucial element: personalization. In fact, a recent poll from Accenture indicated some 33 percent of consumers were willing to abandon a company due to a lack of personalization in customer service. And if you’re not willing to provide it, your competitors just might.
1. Optimize Multichannel Service Delivery
It may be 2020, but 59 percent of customers are still interacting with businesses by phone. That doesn’t mean you should ignore virtual assistance options; far from it. But to establish a dynamic service experience for your customers, you’re going to have to develop a multichannel service strategy. And it’s hardly as complicated as it sounds. Whether it’s fielding questions directly via social media, integrating live chatbots as part of your site or responding to emails and phone inquiries promptly, it’s fundamental for your business to provide a wider selection of channels for accessibility. Your customers are no longer using one device to shop on. And your customer service shouldn’t rely on one channel to respond to.
2. Proactive Response: Can You Help Your Customers Help Themselves?
It’s not uncommon for many businesses to spend more time answering general questions opposed to specific problems. But customers can be a bit more savvy than many businesses take them for. It’s been estimated over 50 percent of online consumers prefer self service options with an even higher number expecting a company to provide self service applications. By providing FAQs, Help sections and troubleshooting guides, you help form an impression on your customers that they’re not passive consumers but partners sharing in the very functionality of your products.
3. Your Loyal Customers Are Your Strongest Advocates...
As a business, you’re going to face disgruntled customers. And they’re going to be quite vocal about it—sometimes to the point of bullying and outright abusive behavior. To make matters worse, potential customers will take their word at face value. But your loyal customers are rarely passive. In fact, they’re more likely to be your ambassadors for your brand without even being prompted to. In digital marketing, opinion counts just as much as your product. By leveraging social media and reviews as part of your marketing campaign, your customers are transformed from being supporters into fierce advocates for your brand.
4. … But Are You Listening To Them?
What is it that a customer is trying to say to you when they support your brand? Are you taking their words at face value? Or are they trying to speak to you about their actual needs? Just like there’s much more to a brand narrative that a meticulously curated marketing campaign, customer suggestions and complaints (especially complaints) tell you something about their lives. Their wants. Their habits. And their values. Remember that your brand is as much a reflection of your customers as it is of you. And they can be even more influential in its identity than your own development team.
5. Eliminate The Weakest Links In Your Supply Chain
Streamlining supply chain management, from inventory to order fulfillment, is a recurring dilemma for most eCommerce merchants; and without a system in place that can identify and eliminate gaps, first time customers are unlikely to become return customers. Automating processes is the first step, but efficacy in fulfilment methods doesn’t simply end at automation. Reporting needs to be maintained consistently and accurately. That’s why more vendors are turning to external fulfillment and account management systems. Not only are you eliminating risk and inaccuracy by optimizing your supply chain, but you’re freeing up valuable time and capital which could be better spent on what your customers need even more than service from you.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your eCommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.