Is your customer experience the best it could be?
Before you answer, take the time to think about the following:
Can your customers contact your business any time, on any channel, on the device of their choice? Are your customer care team equipped to immediately answer any query that comes their way, with the right information at their fingertips? Do you provide your customers with an independent feedback service, and engage with them on it? If the answer to all three isn’t an immediate yes – perhaps your customer experience management needs some improvement..
Some quick stats for you.
You probably know that 81% of people are more likely to work/buy again from a business after experiencing a positive level of service, but did you know that on average this leads to a 5% increase in customer retention?
This matters when you consider that a loyal customer is worth 10 times more than their first purchase value – and acquiring a new customer can be up to 7 times more expensive than retaining a current buyer.
The good news is new customer technology brands such as Trustpilot, Hootsuite, and of course my own company Gnatta, have developed over the last 5 years to help businesses handle those all-important customer conversations. We’ve come a long way, but I’ve learned some hard truths about how brands still speak with their customers, so I’ve shared some of our learnings below:
1. “It’s customer experience management, not customer service”
Too many brands believe customer experience management is the journey your potential buyers go through, and once that sale is made, all communications then fall into a separate category called customer service. This can prioritise potential new customers – who often fall into the marketing team’s purview - whilst the post-sales support for existing customers sits in a separate department with a separate identity. This can lead to siloed thinking (more on that later), and should be avoided wherever possible.
The winning business is one who understands customer experience management as touching every part of the customer journey, and should be managed accordingly.
2. “The conversation doesn’t end with the sale”
Too often, the conversation with the customer is brought abruptly to an end once a sale is completed. Extensive communications including adverts, social media, and email end once the transaction is complete. Then people with post-sales queries are often faced with faceless contact centres designed to deflect rather than engage. This attitude can be off-putting for committed customers and lethal for your retention rates.
Your customer should be as able to contact you following their purchase as before - the experience doesn’t end once payment is taken.
3. “Your customers need somewhere to talk”
Deflection doesn’t just happen on your own website. It’s all too common to see businesses whose sole aim seems to be to stop their customers talking to them and to each other. Customer reviews and comments about your product/service aren’t just a nice to have nowadays, they’re a necessity. The positive though, is that this is incredibly easy to fix - and by reading this blog you’re in the right starting place. Independent review platforms like Trustpilot aren’t a separate service, they’re part of the overarching customer conversation.
Genuine, independent reviews are part of the bigger conversation. To be a real market leader, your business should curate and service them as such.
So, reviews are a necessity, and they’re actually a growing part of the customer experience management. Did you know that 72% of customers will buy from your brand on the basis of one positive review?
That’s huge. Of course, you’ll only improve by increasing and managing your review experience as part of your overall interaction with the customer. Note though, that we’re talking about the complete review experience, and that includes the negative ones…
Whatever the review sentiment, it’s important that it’s responded to. Think of it this way: if someone walked out of your store and yelled in the street “This business is amazing and you should definitely shop here”, would you ignore them and pretend you hadn’t heard? Didn’t think so.
Now imagine they left your store and yelled something much less pleasant: “This business is insert choice word here terrible, never use them!”. I assume you’ve already bolted from outside to speak to them.
Whether e-commerce, or content, or anything else - your website is your store and the internet is the street outside; and people are shouting there every day.
Fortunately, we have some handy top tips for managing reviews as part of your overall customer experience management:
1. Be Comprehensive
Give your operators all the information they need to handle the review on first contact. Seriously, you don’t want to start answering negative reviews by asking them for their order details. Fortunately, with tools like Gnatta, you have an integration between Trustpilot and your other systems. This means linked queries, and giving your operator all the necessary details the moment they go to answer the review.
2. Be human
I mean this literally – get a human to answer these queries. AI is already changing the way we do customer experience management (we should know, we’re at the forefront) but reviews, whether good or bad, are the ultimate customer trust exercise. They’re putting their own reputation on the line by speaking about you in public. Respect that, talk back to them with a real voice.
3. Be resourceful
Use your other channels to drive reviews. You have a live chat function? Great, you’ve got untapped review possibilities. Solve their query and ask the question, you’d be surprised how much of the most persuasive social proofing comes from customers who’ve experienced a problem that the brand has demonstrably solved. With Trustpilot, you even have the ability to generate links for customers to leave reviews quickly and easily – meaning an increased completion rate.
4. Be responsive
Don’t be afraid to engage, but know when to take the conversation private. Whilst every review warrants, and frankly deserves, a response; not every response should be in public. Email, private messages, even the telephone, are all private communications which can be used to defuse situations and demonstrate a level of compassion which can be difficult in the public domain. However, once the query is resolved don’t forget to ask the customer to update their review. It’s an ongoing customer experience after all…
5. Do not silo
I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again: don’t manage your reviews in a silo. Ever.
Customer experience management is possibly the most important part of your ongoing growth, and reviews form a large part of this. If you have any strategies for dealing with reviews or stories of how they form part of your customer experience then share them with us; and if you haven’t already, do check out how Gnatta can help your business today!