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The Digital Business Kit for Retailers


Learning Outcomes

Retailers will identify the online Customer Support strategies that can best suit their business. [printfriendly]

mod-arrow Benefits

Benefits at every level of your business

Positive Customer Support has been proven to increase customer satisfaction, promote higher sales close-rates, increase word-of-mouth referrals and social media shares, and improve client retention and return.

What are common benefits of online Customer Support?

  1. Immediate: Support can be offered immediately online.
  2. Quality: With client data at your fingertips, your service will be better.
  3. Personalised: Knowing your customer and products helps your business retain customers and sell more through techniques like up-sales.
  4. On customer terms: Interact with clients on their terms and via their channels of choice, e.g. using social media or smart phones etc. to optimise the client experience.
Benefits of good customer support

Customer support and service can improve many aspects of your business. The following is a review of customer support impacts and benefits.

 

Service aspect

 

What does this mean? Why is this important? What are the benefits?
Customer confidence With the right support, customers will be more confident in their understanding of your product value and suitability. Your store or brand will give them a positive buying experience. Confident customers are more likely to convert from shopping to buying. If they have to break away from your brand page to research elsewhere they may not return to buy.
Customer satisfaction A customer that has a positive experience with your brand, whether it is in a purchase, research or other interaction. Satisfied customers are more likely to repeat visits, share your brand, refer your products, and pay more for your products or services. This leads to customer loyalty.
Staff capacity Staff should be able to easily provide good customer support immediately and effectively. Make sure you have the staff capacity with the right tools to handle all of you Customer Support and service requirements. Your staff is a main contributor to the customer experience. Giving staff tools to provide immediate and valuable customer service fosters good staff morale and positive customer experience; result – improved staff/customer retention and more sales.
Customer retention Keep the customers you have and support repeat purchases. Build customer loyalty. Every sale you do with a repeat customer makes you more profit. It takes marketing, education, time and money to gain a new customer. If you can keep selling things to that same customer, you make more $ since you are not investing in all the cost of “getting” him/her.
New customer acquisition Your ability to attract new customers to your brand. Give your customers a positive experience AND the tools to easily share their experience with others online. Word-of-mouth recommendations generated by your customers is cheap and extremely valuable. New customers come with better product knowledge and confidence – often ready to buy.
Competitive advantage Many customers choose which companies to buy from based on positive customer experience. A business with better service and support has an advantage over other companies. Improving and sharing your brand’s customer service will take customers away from companies not focused on delivering good support. This means you DO NOT necessarily have to compete only on price, (which can also increase profits).
Benefits of a CRM

The following are examples of how good Customer Support approaches and knowing your customer through systems, such as CRM, can help your business, whether online or bricks-and-mortar. Which examples and benefits can you relate to for your business?

 

Department

 

Operation example

 

Benefit

 

Front line
staff
Greeters, reservation counter or general staff can welcome a client by name, and refer to previous interactions (sale/service, etc.) “Hello Mr. Smith. I see you purchased our green widget. Would you like to see similar or complimentary products today, or are you looking for something new?” Customers respond positively to staff who can relate to previous interactions between themselves and your brand. Your website is your online “greeter”; having customer service staff available online with access to existing customer information can provide equivalent service to in-store greeters.
Sales When trying to close a sale, the salespeople can easily track sale progress, communications, sale status, next sales tasks/reminders, and helpful history. If the customer re-engages with sales and the account owner is not available, another staff person could easily adopt and close the sale. “Hi Mr. Smith, I see that you were talking to John about the blue widget and he gave you an excellent quote. Would you like me to order that now for you?” Sell more, and more easily. Sales people are always on top of where sales are in the sales process, which reduces loss of a sales prospect. Creating a personalised customer experience adds to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Marketing Using CRM, Social media and new technology, the marketing department can easily segment and personalise marketing. Newsletters, direct marketing, etc. “Hello Mr. Smith thank you for your recent blue widget purchase. As a token of our appreciation, here is a coupon code for your next purchase…” Visit the eMarketing module for more. Segmented and focused marketing achieve better sales-conversion rates. Marketing products with customer related tips, offers, etc. add value and promote customer retention.
Customer service department If customers have a question about a recent purchase, customer service staff should be able to see the customer sale history and any support tickets. ” Hello Mr. Smith. I see that you had asked Fred about the new chrome for your blue widget and replacing a faulty wheel. We have a wheel in stock now. When would you like to come in? We can also review the chrome options online or while you are in store?” Immediate service makes for a positive customer experience to ensure that:
1. you keep the client, and
2. hopefully you sell to them again.
Accounting Overview of an operations cash flow at the accounting department, finger tips from pulling client invoices, vendor receivables, purchase trends, staff and product performance, etc. “Hello Mr. Smith. Your last payment for the blue widget is overdue.” Saves time, money, reduces errors, provides data for better budgets, forecasting, etc.
Management Easy overview of all customer support and service related elements of business. “Hello Mr. Smith. I see you have upgraded to the new chrome package, and I wanted to call personally to see how you like this new feature?” Customer “personal touch” results in more engaged customers. Measures results of customer support and service, trends, staff/product performance and more. This allows management to make better decisions and grow revenues through improved customer relations, etc.
Product development The Customer Support and service feedback loop should include product development. At a production meeting Customer Support results and reviews can be used to guide product development. Product development that is user-centric creates an easier to sell product.
Legal Diligent Customer Support and record keeping is useful to the legal department as well. Good records of client interaction provide a better foundation for resolving legal issues when required.