eCommerce Insiders

Customer Service: Benchmarks That Guarantee Customer Longevity

Here’s a quick question:

What would your organization say is the most important aspect of profitability?

Would they say that profitability comes down to factors such as more working capital, more human capital, or even, money-saving strategies such as moving operations off-shore or decreasing employees?

What if the answer to your profitability issues came down to good-old-fashioned customer service?

In today’s relational marketing atmosphere, it takes far more for ecommerce brands to obtain and maintain their customer’s loyalty. Companies must pay careful attention to the customer experience aspect of their business dealings.

The fact is, the most profitable companies, the one’s who will continue to stick around for years to come (and the ones who enjoy fierce brand loyalty) are the ones who understand that there is no business without loyal customers.

Therefore, they place the business of making their customers happy at the top of their priority list – and your company should do the same!

How?

Start asking your customer service and your marketing teams if they’re hitting the following benchmarks:

1. Is your marketing team creating the right type of buying environment for new customers?

This goes beyond writing marketing copy that invites highly-targeted customers to shop on your site. Your marketing team should also be creating copy that answers every possible customer scenario in a manner that’s easy to digest, is friendly, and is approachable.

For example, when a customer looks for information that will help them to resolve their surface-level issues, they should be able to find a FAQ page that is easy to navigate, and uses language that’s friendly, but doesn’t insult the customer’s intelligence. The information should be as comprehensive and succinct as possible.

And if the customer’s questions can’t be answered in the FAQ section, then the customer should be invited to call an easily-accessible phone number to speak with a well-informed customer service team.

2. Is your customer service team educated and empowered to answer intermediate to advanced customer concerns?

Nothing grates a customer’s nerves worse than being directed to a customer service line, only to be greeted with a customer service rep who appears to be clueless about answering key questions.

And nothing makes the customer fume and see red than when the seemingly clueless customer service rep comes off as apathetic to the customers questions or concerns.

Ditto for the moments when the rep takes on the attitude that it’s not their job to resolve the issue or concern.

Brands like Amazon and Netflix are renowned for the excellent customer service they provide to customers. The reason could rest within the hard stance they take on their customer service capabilities.

When callers have completed their telephone transactions, they are asked if they are satisfied with the customer service rep, and then they’re asked to participate in a brief survey that rates the rep.

Refreshingly, the caller is asked to participate in a one-question survey: They’re asked if they’re pleased with the transaction or not.

There’s no room for ambiguity or gray area-the customer is either completely satisfied, or they’re not. If they’re not, then the customer service rep who handled the transaction is reviewed, and if necessary, then they’re taken to task. There are no excuses offered or rendered to the customer for poor customer service.

In fact, Amazon is quoted by Smart Customer Service as:

…Always ready to “go to bat for the consumer,” Bell says. The company stands behind the vendors that sell products on its site, but if something is wrong with the delivery process or the product itself, Amazon will take its customer’s side and fight for a desirable outcome. But Amazon is more than just a referee—it’s committed to helping brands build relationships with customers through initiatives such as Amazon Exclusives.

3. Are you ready to learn how your customers actually feel about you?

Speaking of surveys, it’s great to offer your customers immediate avenues of rating your level of service. But it’s also in your best interest to send your customers periodic, long-form surveys.

This will allow you to learn things like:

  • How your marketing message is resonating with potential shoppers,
  • If your customers feel an attachment to your brand (and why),
  • If your customers feel that they are getting the best value for their money,
  • How they perceive the navigation of your website,
  • If they’re satisfied with their payment options,
  • If they’re happy with their shipment and delivery options, conditions, and arrival times.

These are all examples of valuable pieces of information that allows your vital operational teams to take action, immediately.

Long-form surveying on a periodic basis also prevents your management teams from taking shots in the dark. They’ll be able to hit their targets and benchmarks with precision when they gain specified information from their customers.

Every company requires benchmarks to hit to ensure that they’re moving in the right direction. When it comes to a brand’s customer service, there should be clear benchmarks to hit, because no company will last without the patronage and the loyalty of customers who are willing to invest their hard-earned dollars.

After all, it’s far easier to sell products and services to existing customers than it is to find brand new customers!

Terri Scott

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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