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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]

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Common Customer Support and Service Tools

ocs2Once you have established the areas of Customer Support and service on which you need to focus, you can then determine which tools will best address the customer support needs for your company, its goals, and its capacity.

Your retail operating model, products and customers will all be factors in deciding which tools will offer the best boost in Customer Support and service while providing your retail company the best return on investment. For example, a retail clothing store specialising in women’s high end sport apparel will have a different set of Customer Support requirements, and tools, than an accommodation, software or office supply store.

Consider the differences in the customer experience and support requirements for these different types of businesses and what makes sense for your business:

  • The women’s clothing retail business likely has return customers who are buying new products each time. With the element of trust established, the brand can embed user tips and demos via video (e.g. demonstrating different shoe types for different sports); peer reviews will be very useful, particularly using social media that offers the double benefit of supporting the customer and this being seen by others in her network.
  • The accommodations provider is all about the customer experience. Shoppers’ research online and your support to them can be through references to the experience they will have at your accommodation. Videos and online tours of the facility can help potential buyers anticipate their experience. Reviews and testimonials are very important, as is the ability to answer questions quickly via LiveChat, in order to convert shoppers, into buyers. Watch for and respond to requests and comments about their stay via social media.
  • Software or other more complicated products with longer sales cycles that require training and post-sale support will benefit from reviews to allow shoppers to comparison-shop. Online webinars and videos that explain more complex functionality and how-to’s will be of greater value than basic FAQs, which may get too long to be user friendly.
  • The office supply store may have a mix of basic and slightly complex products. Typically customers know what they want and may have experience with both the brand and the product. They need to know if what they want to buy is available which creates a high probability of self-serving through the rest of the sale process. A very easy-to-use shopping cart and customer login area will help ensure good service for this customer experience.

These examples illustrate that different tools offer different benefits and have different relative importance for different types of businesses.  It is almost certain that you will find one or more online tool(s) that will enhance your customer experience and improve your business.