Make it so easy to do business with you that it’s not worth your customer’s time to do business with anyone else Ron Kaufman
Summarized above is the essence of customer service. Customer service is a factor so integral to developing your business’ competitiveness that you need to constantly revise and revamp the strategy to suit your customer’s needs.
With the ever-changing business world, especially the retail segment, it is critical that your customer service changes with it. The revolution of the internet is not complete. It is still changing, and the way businesses use it to connect with their customers, deliver service, and handle complaints is revolutionizing too. Who would have thought two decades ago that an online bookstore will soon turn into the world’s largest online retailer: Amazon? Who could have imagined that successful brick-and-mortar stores like Walmart would be trailing behind Amazon’s strategy to succeed in the changing retail landscape?
Amazon has made use of customer service to grow leaving little gaps for the competitors. While this sounds too ambitious to begin with, as a retailer, you should understand that the core of Amazon’s strategies is customer service. Here are five reasons and ways for you to rethink your customer service strategy:
Connect with your Customer
Customer feedback is one of the most important aspects which will help you to analyse your offerings and changing it according to the customer’s needs. One thing to consider is that at times, these needs are not quantitative.
Customer needs like new experiences, ease of purchasing, and complaint handling might sound vague at first. However, it is important to realize how, by using technology or human resources, you can best meet these customer needs. In this case, it is vital to connect with the customer and get insights on what works and what doesn’t.
Customers want to save time, not on the experiences, but on the prerequisites of the experience. For example, in a restaurant business, the customer would want to save time on ordering and paying, but not rush on the experience of dining.
How you, as a restaurant business, can add value to the time that the customer is giving you is the strategy that you would have to design. An effective POS Ecommerce solution can help minimise the time taken for the prerequisites of the experience. As a result, you can offer customer service that offers customer their value for the time they are giving. Customer service, in this regard, is a tool which will help you create a loyal customer base.
Differentiate from the Competitors
Customer service will not only help you in offering great value to your customer but on the basis of this, it will help you differentiate from the competitors. It is critical, that in this era of strong retail competition, one plays on the factors that differentiate.
However, as a business owner, you should understand that this differentiation factor should not be easily replicated. In management, the VRIO model is used to assess the resources and competencies of a business. The VRIO stands for valuable, rare, inimitable, and organized. Factors that tick boxes on all these criteria would truly help you differentiate from the competitor. At times, brand name and history is a strong differential factor that other businesses cannot replicate. However, if you are a new business, you can make use of technology and the power of your customers to develop a differentiation strategy.
Data is Key
At times, to develop a factor that helps you differentiate from the competitor, your data can be a strong resource. This means collecting feedback from the customer, analysing customer purchase patterns and behaviours can help you understand the mind of the customer.
The customer’s mind is a mysterious box that needs to be explored. The customer themselves are not aware of their intentions and why they act on certain things at times. However, for this, you would want retail software that helps you to analyse key trends on a real-time basis.
For example, Walmart failed in Germany because the store workers were asked to smile to the customers. Since this customer service strategy was very effective in the US, it was expected that it would work well in Germany too. However, Germans were uncomfortable with this gesture since smiling is associated with flirtation. This was one of the reasons it failed in Germany.
Therefore, understanding your customer through thorough analysis and data is necessary to attain success.
Important for Brand Building
As a business owner or an entrepreneur, you know the importance of a brand name. Initially, customer service was only considered to be important in the hospitality industry because they play on experiences to build their brand value. However, now that the competition is high, customer service is an important component for your brand, be it in any sector of the retail industry.
If you are selling products in the beauty category, customer service such as informing the customer on the status of their orders, customer feedback, and handling customer complaints should be such that it at least satisfies the customer if not exceed expectations. It will help in generating a word-of-mouth marketing effect too which will add to your brand value.
How to Scale-up in the Retail Sector?
These five reasons you should rethink about your customer service strategy prove the importance of customer service to a business’ success. It is critical that as a business owner, you utilize technology as well as human resources to come up with clever and innovative customer service solutions for your customer’s needs.
One of these is being present on multiple platforms to offer the customer what they want. For example, your customer might be comfortable with using an e-commerce website rather than visiting your website. In this case, consolidating your channels into one platform would be a critical factor to manage your customer service effectively. There are eCommerce integration tools available that best suit your business needs and offer the best customer service.
The examples of retail giants such as Walmart and Amazon show how customer service can help soar the business to new heights and also, how the wrong customer service strategy can lead to failure. All in all, data is the key to developing your customer service strategy and building your brand. It is also important in forming strategies that differentiate you from the competitors which are crucial for growth in the retail sector, be it products, services, or the hospitality industry. So, think on how you can revamp your customer service strategy to get onto the path of growth.