For retailers the holidays are the epitome of a love/hate relationship — the lines are long and customers can get impatient, but consumer spending is also at an all time high. In 2021 alone, the holiday shopping season reportedly saw a total of $204.5 billion in sales. So, how can the retail industry take advantage of this season to create a loyal customer for the entire year?
The answer is quite simple — personalized customer service. Adopting a new customer service technology may seem like a daunting task, especially to smaller, emerging brands, but the benefits of being able to seamlessly support customers while building brand loyalty and increasing revenue far outweigh any hurdles.
Standing out from the crowd
While customer service presents great opportunities for brands, it is considered a big pain point for customers. In fact, customer service is such a sore subject that 58% of shoppers report they would rather stand in line at the DMV than spend time trying to get a hold of a live agent for assistance. Brands that understand this sentiment and properly optimize customer service can circumvent these stereotypes and provide a personalized experience that not only solves customers’ issues, but creates a lasting relationship with the customer.
The simplest way to achieve personalized service is by providing customer service agents the technology needed to understand the details of each customer’s buyer journey. With the proper tools – historical and people-specific profiles, consolidated chat flows, easy knowledge base centers — agents can make personalized recommendations based on past purchases, reviews and more — leading to a seamless experience and a satisfied customer.
Setting the customer service team up for success
As the demand for holiday purchasing and returns increases, the need for quality customer service employees also increases. Whether a brand is hiring new full time employees or just adding temporary holiday season staff, setting them up for success is key and this includes training alongside the implementation of quality customer service software.
When brands properly train and empower their employees and support teams, they are not only serving the brand but the customers as well. Support teams and even temporary staff members should be trained consistently and provided with all the tools necessary to deliver a great customer experience and thereby generate repeat business.
In addition to proper training, brands need to seek out ways to free up agent’s time in order to serve more customers. While ticket numbers have been the traditional customer service practice, this method simply cannot keep up with holiday demand and doesn’t allow space for the human connection needed to create a loyal customer. In order to expedite customer service processes while also creating a loyal customer through connection and quality service, brands must consider technology that allows for channel independence.
When agents can access all of a customer’s data and history in one simple, seamless platform and eliminate the use of ticket numbers, it helps reduce the steps needed to properly help a customer – freeing up their time for more complex issues that might arise during the holiday season while adding a personal touch to customer service.
The recently released 2022 Customer Expectations Report by Gladly found businesses are losing $75 billion a year in revenue due to inadequate customer service, but can quickly remedy this by incorporating personalization and human connection. With a customized, channel independent approach, companies are inevitably rewarded with loyal customers, repeat business, and as a direct result, revenue growth.
A happy customer is a loyal customer
Quality customer service leads to loyal customers, and companies who invest in customer loyalty will see a quicker pay off in savings and revenue growth. It costs businesses five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. In fact, increasing customer retention by just 5% can improve sales by 25-95% according to a recent report from Harvard Business Review.
Pair that with the fact that 72% of shoppers are willing to spend more with a brand that provides a great customer experience, and it’s clear that brands can and should utilize a personalized customer experience to create a memorable experience that gains customer trust and brings them back again and again.
As the holiday season quickly approaches, retail can either be a pleasant experience or a stressful one — but when brands take advantage of this hectic time of year in order to create human connection and drive brand loyalty, the results are clear. With the correct tools in place to provide personalized customer service, brands can increase revenue, improve employee satisfaction and of course, create loyal (and happy) customers.
Jason Finkelstein is CMO at Gladly, a customer service platform