In today’s highly digitalized, high commoditized world, the one thing that can truly differentiate one brand from another, and one store from another is that human touch. That human touch is typically delivered via exceptional customer service. Customer service has consistently ranked as a top contributor to customer loyalty.
Customer service is an integral part of a brand experience. According to recent reports, 3 out of 5 customers would be willing to give up their former brand in order to have a better service experience, and as many as 9 out of 10 Americans will spend more with companies that they believe provide excellent customer service. Furthermore, the new generation of shoppers, millennials has even higher expectations of customer service. They are 1.76 times more likely to spend more on a brand based on services than boomers.
While the upside of providing exceptional customer services is obviously, the downside of providing poor customer services is even bigger. Consumer Reports shows that 91% of customers will not give you a second chance if the first experience wasn’t good. Worst yet, in today’s digitalized world, bad word of mouth spreads just as easily (perhaps easier) as good word of mouth.
The important thing to note is that customer services doesn’t always mean having more people providing customer services. It doesn’t mean that there is a person greeting you as you enter the door, and helps you along the way throughout your shopping journey. If that was true, Walmart with their greeters would be on the top of every customer service ranking. In contrast, ecommerce sites consistently outranks brick & mortar stores in customer services. The definition of customer service is being reinvented. Amazon.com for example offers shoppers few human interactions. But when a problem arises, their employees are quick to offer solutions. Hointer is creating the future of customer service experience with technology. Hointer transforms a cluttered store into a showroom, while still giving customers the opportunity to try, to touch, to feel. All with little human intervention, which actually provides more a less stressful shopping experience for some.
Today’s customers don’t need everything. In fact, it is this selection in what services you provide and what services you don’t that will allow you to differentiate. In the case of Amazon, customers don’t get a lot of help in finding their products, but they get great problem resolution. In the case of Hointer, customers don’t get a lot of help from employees, but they have no problem finding the right size since they don’t need to search for it on shelf, and the right size is directly delivered into the dressing room.
These blue ocean example of customer services highlights that some of the old practices can be abandoned, while others improved and amplified. The question for brands today is how well do you know your customers, and do you truly know what would be considered good customer service for your customers? What do they truly need?
Photo credit: Gordon Ednie