Customers are at the core of every business, and it should be your highest priority to maintain the highest level of customer service possible. However, the pandemic may make this a challenge especially when you have to contemplate between maintaining high customer service levels and keeping costs low during these uncertain times.
Today’s consumers do not make decisions to buy a product based on the product alone, but also the purchase experience. How easy was it to make the purchase? Did the shop offer great customer service in helping me select and purchase the right product? Did you feel secure in making the payment for the product? How was the after-sales experience if existent at all? How easy was it to make a product exchange and return? These are just a few customer service-related areas business owners need to consider. According to a study by Futurum Research, customers will value experiences more than the price and product itself, and 86% of shoppers are willing to spend more for a better customer experience. 32% of customers will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience. So where do you spend your precious dollars to sustain a high level of customer service?
A working and easy to navigate website
This is especially true during the pandemic as your customers are more likely to research and purchase your product through your website. Ensure your website can be easily navigated by customers and that all relevant information is available and simple to consume. Another good option to have is an online chat function as it becoming a preferred mode of communication as opposed to waiting on the phones. There are many freeware chat tools available.
Furthermore, research shows that 57% of customers would not recommend a business that has a poorly designed mobile website. Therefore, ensure you invest in making your website mobile-friendly.
Human customer service
Most SMEs have non-automated customer service which works very well with customers. Time and time again customers get frustrated if a chat function on a website turns out to be a chatbot as opposed to a real person or ending up after a long phone wait with an automated answering machine message etc. At all times, it would be advisable to ensure your company’s phone lines are being manned and answered by your team.
One of the best ways to offer a more personal customer experience is by addressing the customer by his or her name when communicating with them – in person, over the phone, or through email. In addition, rather than send auto generated email templates, you should always try to send a personalised reply. According to a research led by Experian Marketing Services, personalised emails:
- Have 29% higher open rates;
- Have 41% higher click rates;
- Deliver 6 times more transaction rates.
Logistics – third-party logistics provider
If your business offers delivery, make sure you select a third-party logistics provider that offers commendable customer service. This includes:
- Transparency and ability for customers to track status of their delivery.
- High on time delivery performance.
- Ensure that the third-party logistics provider has a policy in place for damaged, stolen or lost goods as it can be very disappointing for customers to open the parcel only to find their purchase is broken or lost.
Provide delivery status information to your customers so that they know how and when their purchase will be delivered. In addition, track delivery data so that you keep on top of how your third-party logistics provider is performing.
Response on social media and online review channels
In today’s social and connected world, online reviews are so powerful. Most consumers read reviews before deciding on their purchase. Therefore, allocate resources to respond to comments and reviews on mediums such as Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and Amazon.