Many early eCommerce sceptics believed that online shopping would have limited appeal, as there was no way to replicate the level of personalised customer service offered by an in-store sales assistant, and for many high-touch businesses this may still be true, writes Jason Toshack, General Manager ANZ at Oracle NetSuite.
However, millions of eCommerce customers around the world can attest to the ‘delight’ they feel when a parcel arrives quicker than the estimated delivery time and the quality of the product exceeds expectation. At the same time, many others can share equally disappointing stories when ‘8-10 business days’ turns into two months and the product does not measure up to its promise.
With customer loyalty now more crucial than ever before, it is important for businesses to have the right processes and procedures in place to maintain loyalty and drive repeat purchases. In today’s marketplace, competition is rife and delivering superior customer service is a sure-fire way to keep consumers loyal.
Businesses looking to build stronger long-term relationships with their customers should treat customer loyalty as a priority. By identifying key touchpoints along their customer’s journey, particularly at the point where they create ‘delight’, will prove to be beneficial in increasing customer satisfaction and thereby, loyalty.
Here are three ways you can go ‘over and above’ for your customers.
Right now, many people may be reluctant to visit stores in-person, particularly for non-essential items which may lend themselves better to browsing. Businesses, from retail to hospitality and even gyms and education providers, need to make their goods and services accessible via online platforms if they want to reach their customers, irrespective of their location or the time of day.
Besides maintaining an online presence, it is important that businesses also assess whether their inventory and warehouse management systems are robust enough to handle an increase in online volumes, and that their delivery partners are up to the task.
But perhaps just as important, businesses should also ensure their customers have access to at least similar, if not elevated, levels of pre- and post-sales service. Can they speak to a concierge or sales assistant on the phone, or perhaps engage through an emerging technology like chatbots? Ensuring customer service levels remain a priority, will be key to retaining customers in the long run.
Today, consumers have the luxury of choice and can buy from virtually anywhere around the globe, so to differentiate your products and services from that of your competitors, personalising the customers’ interaction with the brand should be a given.
Make an effort to get to know your customers. While not all businesses may be able to offer highly sophisticated product customisations, most should capture and use basic information such as purchase history, anniversaries or birthdays and provide incentives to keep them engaged.
This is where a trusted CRM platform can be crucial to alert businesses of customer milestones and deliver customised offers. Perhaps more importantly, though, it can help businesses gain a complete view of the customer and their buying behaviour, allowing them to provide timely and relevant communication, while avoiding doubling up on redundant requests or repeat actions.
Something businesses often forget when it comes to fostering customer loyalty is saying thank you for their business, for their loyalty to the brand, and for choosing them over their competitors.
To round out the customer experience and ensure repeat business, brands should consider ways they can express gratitude – be it in the form of a personalised thank you note or offering a discount voucher for a future purchase. Be attentive and look for ways to demonstrate empathy or brighten your customer’s day, even a small gesture will go a long way to foster loyalty. This will no doubt help to build a stronger bond in the long term.
There are many ways to surprise and delight customers, even during a time when most businesses – from retailers to restaurant chains – are relying on delivery services and ecommerce platforms to sell and deliver their goods. Business leaders who offer ways to add value to their customers’ experience with the brand may find they build stronger and lasting relationships with their customers while simultaneously building stronger businesses in the long term.
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