How much does customer service matter?
Well, an estimated $62 billion in retail revenue is lost due to poor customer service, and while 80% of companies believe they are providing outstanding service, only eight percent of consumers believe they are receiving good customer service.
Why, in 2018, are retailers not taking customers seriously? One of my own customer experiences made me think about this. Why do consumers love or leave brands? And how can companies offer a better CX and, ideally, increase revenue?
Is your commerce experience live?
While planning to buy a new wardrobe, I went to my preferred furniture company in Germany (a Swedish company with four letters), compared two or three models, tested, touched, and tried everything. After that, I headed back home to start my configuration online, with the intent to buy the products in the store. After adding everything to my virtual shopping cart, a new window popped up, saying that the function to order online but pick up the wardrobe in the store was out of order.
So, I took notes on the different components of my wardrobe and checked their availability online. In times of omnichannel business, the customer should be able to perform this check and receive information about alternative products to forge a closer customer relationship. For 59% of Russian consumers, it is essential to get relevant product recommendations to keep the brand relationship alive. This is a high number in comparison to the global average of 39%. Now that retargeting based on personal shopping or surfing history is standard, this number should rise in the near future.
Let the customer see your supply chain to foster your relationship
Following the holiday season, it was no surprise to see the wardrobe I wanted was out of stock. Since I needed some other, smaller things, I drove to my local furniture store and asked an employee at the information desk when my desired wardrobe would be available again. They replied, “Well, I cannot see it, so that might be a sign that this model was removed from the catalog during the turn of the year.”
It should be an imperative to allow store employees to see their current stock and supply chain situation in real-time in order to give sound advice to their customers. Employees shouldn’t have to guess if a product is out of stock or not, and it’s a good opportunity for companies to gather pertinent information about the customers’ intents in the buying cycle.
To stand out among competitors, brands must offer consistent online and offline experiences. What happens if they don’t? This depends on the country and the mentality: According to a global consumer insight study, 61% of consumers in Saudi Arabia would likely break with a brand if the online and in-store promotions were not consistent. In Japan, only 25% of customers would complain about that.
Brand love by the numbers – rewards are expected
After realizing I couldn’t get the wardrobe I’d desired, I reverted to buying an alternative model from the same furniture brand and began the process of purchasing it in the store. Armed with a big caddy, I began pulling long packages, only to find that one was missing.
An important lesson for brands: If customers invest their time, money, and in my case, sweat, with a brand, they want gestures that reward and gratify them. For example, 70% of Russian consumers expect a gift, perk, or freebie from their favorite brand. In Thailand, only 47% of customers expect the same treatment.
In my case, at some point during my customer journey, I would have loved it if the brand recognized the difficulties I was experiencing while trying to purchase something from it. My last chance to claim victory in my case: I signed up for the email notification service that pings you when the material is back in stock.
Finally, three weeks later, I received an email that the missing wardrobe piece was in – I could finally finish my project! The day I bought it, I checked my email while waiting in line at the self-service cash out. Imagine my dismay when I read a message from the brand: They were happy to inform me that my first choice for the wardrobe was back in stock and available for purchase.
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Martin Stocker is the co-author of this post.