Every brand you love is marketing to you right now, whether you realize it or not. It's the instances where you don't realize that separates the exceptional e-commerce experiences from the average ones – and that X-factor contributes to brands like Thinx, Zappos, and Lululemons' success online. It’s how they’re embracing customer service as a strong part of their marketing strategy.
When you really start to think about what makes a brand special, you’ll see that it's the way they make you feel. The brands you love also have the hearts of your friends and peers. When it comes to purchasing goods and services in real time, the customer service you experienced sets these brands apart.
In this article we'll explore distinct ways in which you can achieve a higher impact through your customer experience, and ultimately create a team of marketers you don't have to pay – your customers through five actionable steps.
- Make customer service the main product your company provides.
- Implement conversational commerce into your strategy.
- Utilize social media.
- Bridge the gap between your marketing and customer service teams.
- Continue customer experience and service when someone becomes a customer.
1. Make customer service the main product your company provides.
Focusing on an excellent customer experience will have a direct effect on your bottom line.
Alon Waks, VP of Marketing at Kustomer believes that your company should revolve around your customer. "Successful companies aren’t just built around products. In order to stay competitive, be successful, and have a unique value proposition, companies have one critical thing that they have to focus on—the customer."
We're losing 62 billion of sales a year due to bad service. In this era, customers have many options, and a business that takes their offerings a step further by weaving kindness, thoughtfulness, and consideration into their ethos will easily win over more customers.
Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, an online retailer known for selling footwear makes customer service the company's main product. One of his employees was on a record-breaking 10-hour call, and took one break to the bathroom, and had the support of coworkers, who brought him food and drinks to keep the good service going.
This is a reflection of why the customer is king/queen and needs to be the main product your company provides. According to Forbes.com, every aspect of business—from strategies and processes to organizational structure and culture—is currently being remodeled to fit a customer-centric frame. Develop a culture internally of customer-first by hiring energetic, enthusiastic, and thoughtful representatives. Even if customers have to wait to have their call answered, if they receive exceptional service from those representatives they won't mind the wait.
2. Implement conversational commerce into your strategy.
How do you support the buying decision and habits of a customer on your site, and retain their attention? Through conversational commerce, which is the convergence of online shopping and messaging apps.
Ben Parr, Co-Founder, and CMO at Octane.ai believes you need to be where your customers are. Create a better consumer experience and shopping experience by leveraging conversation and reducing the friction that happens.
Why? Because right now when your customer shops online, they'll get bombarded with tons of pop-ups and steps to take.
Octane is a shortcut to close your customer's purchase. They provide a conversational commerce solution that implements quick conversation, such as an automated one. They help their clients figure out what product your customer wants to purchase in real time, and make the transaction convenient without ever leaving Facebook Messenger (or ever leaving Alexa).
Shopify highlights that consumers are increasingly relying on messaging apps for all forms of communication, whether personal, business, or commerce. Consumers are using chat to find and select products and services, and to complete the payment process, all without having to call, email, or even visit a brand’s website. Everything is happening within the messaging app.
With Facebook Messenger in mind, think about how to...
3. Utilize social media.
Customers are influenced by the thoughts and opinions of their peers and loved ones, which is why social media is the top choice for customer care. Your customer spends a lot of their time and energy on Facebook and Instagram, with an impressive 80% of users following a business on Instagram.
By having a presence on social media, the opportunity for a natural interaction can occur. You allow your customer to voice their thoughts. What's key is the response your customer will receive from you, one that's on brand, friendly, and thoughtful.
MatchaBar posting a two for $5 deal at Whole Foods
A clever Instagram customer experience goes beyond the comments section. When you post with a location, you get 79% more engagement, as your customer can relate to the locations when you take your brand out and about.
Additionally, Instagram is helping brands sell specific items by sending customers to a purchase page. Fenty Beauty utilizes the hover-over option, which provides information about the products like name and price. When a customer clicks through, purchasing becomes streamlined and a breeze.
4. Bridge the gap between your marketing and customer service teams.
According to Help Scout—traditionally, marketing and customer service teams have little — if anything — to do with one another. With lines being blurred and customer expectations changing, that old way of doing business will soon remain a thing of the past with successful brands.
Why? Your customer doesn't want to be confused with conflicting information, which tends to happen when separate departments lack cohesiveness and aren't communicating efficiently.
If customer service is telling your customer one thing and marketing is telling him/her another thing, you'll end up with a customer who's frustrated.
Help Scout highlights 3 ways to bridge the gap between your marketing and customer service teams.
- Explain and encourage the shift.
- Enable and encourage meaningful communication.
- Share responsibility and success.
5. Continue customer experience and service when someone becomes a customer.
Your current customers have already invested in your brand, which is why it's key to retain their support and interest. This retention is known as relationship marketing—a strategy that focuses on the long term.
Relationship marketing emphasizes concepts such as customer retention, satisfaction, and lifetime value.
Forbes points out that customers don’t owe you their loyalty. You have to earn it—continually. Continued customer experience costs 11 percent of what it would cost to acquire a new customer. Treat your current customers how you would a husband/wife -- with continued lifetime devotion. The courting never stops just because you've established one transaction.