While ecommerce sales continue to grow at double-digit levels, a lot of the focus has been on ways to digitally transform the purchasing experience, but somehow the customer support experience is often overlooked.
Retailers big and small are starting to understand the value of creating a one-of-a-kind support experience and how it can build loyalty, inspire repeat business and create brand ambassadors.
Here are ways that both enterprise retailers and SMBs can transform their digital approach and strategies for supporting and communicating with their customers.
It’s All About the Smartphone
The smartphone has completely changed how we communicate and interact with each other. And modern communications are both visual and contextual. People talk on the phone, send messages, photos, videos and more, sometimes within the same interaction. How they communicate with you should be no different than how they communicate with each other.
Giving customers the ability to send and share photos, videos and screenshots, and to verify themselves through facial recognition or a thumbprint, allows them to interact with your support team in a more modern, natural way. This not only creates a more comfortable environment but makes it easier for agents to both visually and contextually understand the situation. They can then be both smarter and faster in resolving support issues.
Cross-Channel Support is Key
A smartphone in the pocket of nearly every customer doesn’t mean retailers should be satisfied with letting them send multimedia and user authentication to agents in real time. Businesses need to continue leveraging the power of the smartphone and all the channels it opens up. Today, customers can shop, connect and access information through multiple channels including SMS, chat, social media and within an app. With customers maneuvering between so many channels it’s more critical than ever that customer support be able to do the same.
It should be easy for customers to find, reach out and connect with a support agent no matter which channel they’re in. Furthermore, customers should be able to fluidly move between channels without having to compromise their experience.
Don’t Lose the Human Touch
Ecommerce by nature is digital, so it’s easy for businesses to get wrapped up in new and emerging technologies such as AI, data analytics and natural language processing (NLP). While leveraging these technologies are critical to your current and future success, you can’t lose sight of the human side of customer support.
Instead of using these technologies to replicate the human side of support, they can all be used to provide agents with the information and tools needed to provide a one-of-a-kind and personal touch. This extra-mile effort can spell the difference between a one-time purchaser and a lifelong customer. For example, being able to automatically give agents access to things like purchase history, loyalty status and previous support issues goes a long way toward enabling them to provide a personal touch, resolve issues faster and turn negative experiences into positive outcomes.
Customer Support as a Competitive Advantage
The value placed on a customer’s experience with a company has never been higher. As competition continues to grow and evolve, it will become an even bigger factor in purchase decisions and whether to recommend a brand to friends, family and colleagues.
A customer support strategy centered on the smartphone, cross-channel access and personalized touches will allow digitally-born ecommerce companies and traditional retailers alike to create experiences that makes lasting impressions and fuel business growth.
Anand Janefalkar is the founder and CEO of UJET