Customer Service Increase Loyalty

7 Ways to use customer service to increase loyalty

Customer loyalty is critical to the bottom line of any business, especially those with a direct-to-consumer business model, which are built on their customer relationships. The interactions your buyers have with customer service have a major impact on their loyalty to your brand.

These are the 7 essential ingredients of customer service that wins long-term customer loyalty.

Omnichannel support

Your shoppers want to be able to contact you using the most convenient channel for them, and still get the same (good) service and brand personality through every channel for a consistent omnichannel experience. This should include:

  • Email
  • Instant messaging
  • SMS
  • Phone and VoIP
  • FAQs
  • In-app live chat

To keep track of the communication with each customer, it’s good to take notes and add tags in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to ensure customer service agents always have access to the latest updates. For example, it’s useful to have tags like “serial returner” or “orders to try sizes”.

Customer-friendly trials and refunds

A generous refunds policy is an investment in customer loyalty. The cost of a refund or subscription cancellation almost never exceeds the cost of acquiring a new customer. Additionally, customers are likely to share their experience with friends if your business handles a refund request easily. 75% of customers buy based on a friend’s review.

Read more: How to get word-of-mouth referrals

If a customer wants a refund, this doesn’t mean they will never come back. They may be testing a few products to choose the right one, or they might not be able to afford your service at the moment.

In these situations, refusing a refund makes the customer experience unnecessarily unpleasant. This could cost you a loyal customer. Not to mention that in many parts of the world it’s illegal to deny refunds to customers. Conversely, a generous policy that assures customers they won’t lose money if something goes wrong will increase your repeat purchase rate.

For example, Fetch Eyewear offers lifetime warranty on frames so customers don’t need to worry about buying expensive eyewear that gets broken.

Fetch Eyewear Guarantee

Also, customers are more likely to try niche products if you can reassure them they can change their mind without losing money.

Related: How to get fewer returns when selling clothes online

Customer refunds are an ideal time to ask for feedback to improve your service or product and learn how you could have saved that customer. Always ask for feedback after processing the refund however. Asking for feedback first may make customers feel they need to justify their refund instead of giving honest answers.

Related: Using customer feedback to your advantage

Easy and reliable shipping

Shipping costs can be a nasty surprise for first-time customers, and a poor delivery experience can negatively impact customer loyalty. Free shipping can increase purchases by 50%.

Dollar Shave Club offers a low-cost starter package with free shipping, lowering the barrier to entry by reducing the customer’s risk:

Starter Pack For First Time Customers

Additionally, provide clear time estimates and use reliable couriers to ensure your orders arrive on time. Late deliveries can be a real inconvenience for customers who have arranged to be at home for the delivery, or for customers waiting for a monthly subscription to arrive. It might sound too good to be true, but people might really need your products as soon as possible: to put on tonight for a party or to cook it tomorrow.

Offering a range of delivery options and times can increase customer loyalty. It makes buying more convenient and less disruptive – just an easy part of life. Work with couriers who provide a delivery tracking service so you can keep customers informed about their the estimated time of delivery via SMS order updates. They will be thankful they get to plan around it.

Try to resolve customer issues on first contact

When a customer contacts you with a problem, their top need is to get it fixed as quickly as possible. 42% of customers expect a response within 1 hour. Not surprisingly, they would show more loyalty to a business that meets that goal.

One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on resolving issues the first time a customer contacts you. Customers don’t want to be passed from agent to agent, or wait for a manager to provide authorization.

Instead, empower customer service agents with the tools and training to resolve common issues.

Also, trust their judgement. If your customer service reps have to advocate for customer rights, customer experience will suffer and you will be losing time and money in unnecessary escalations.

Track quality, not quantity in customer service

The metrics you use to measure customer service performance have a huge impact on employee behavior. Tracking the right metrics results in effective issue resolution and satisfied customers.

There is no doubt that your overall response times are an important factor, but make sure your policies don’t discourage thorough and effective service:

  • Metrics that emphasize quantity over quality such as strict call length targets can lead to cutting corners or unnecessary escalations just to end the call.
  • Rushed customer service leads to repeat calls, slowing down your overall resolution time as well as giving a poor experience.
  • If handling an issue the right way is going to take a long time, keep your customer updated with detailed information and clear timescales. This will be more effective at retaining their loyalty than rushing an ineffective solution or making unrealistic promises.

Happy employees provide better service

Customer service can be a draining job. Your employee morale has a major impact on customer loyalty. Employers with a Glassdoor rating of at least 4 stars score an average of 80 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Related: What tasks to delegate as an ecommerce founder?

A big part of ensuring happy customer service workers is your customer service policy:

  • Trusting your employees to make the right decisions in a complex situation enables them to answer customers and resolve issues with confidence.
  • Provide your customer service agents with a set of clear principles to follow and allow them to bend the rules a little where necessary, as long as they act according to those principles.
  • Without this, employees are forced to escalate and ask for permission every time they encounter a situation not covered by the rules. This can give customers an impression of disorganization or incompetence within your business.

Not only are happy customer service workers more effective at their jobs, they give customers a more positive experience with your company. Even cranky customers are likely to feel more positively about your business after interacting with an enthusiastic employee. Measuring the wrong things and not giving enough power to actually help customers can backfire like it did for Away.

Advertise your customer service

When your business is working as intended, most of your buyers don’t interact with customer service at all. They buy their products, the order arrives and they enjoy it without a problem. Тhe majority of your shoppers might never experience how great your customer service is!

Because of this, you need to advertise your post-purchase experience.

  • Make your return and refund policies a part of your marketing.
  • Introduce your customer service team – people love to see who’s on the other end of the line.
  • If you use social proof, include examples of customers who received assistance from an agent and are happy with it.

As a result, even people who have never had an issue when shopping would be sure they’d get a good customer service if they need it.

To sum up

Customers prefer to buy from businesses that show care and appreciation. Make contacting you easy and resolving issues – possible on the first touch. Your brand identity should back the customer service you provide and enhanced by it.

 

About the author

With experience in FMCG and marketing, Dimira writes to help the brands of tomorrow succeed and believes passion is a key ingredient in any business.

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