Four ways to compete by providing a hyper-personal experience
The internet has changed people. It’s altered expectations around information, communication, and commerce. Everything must be immediate, and competition for users’ attention is fierce.
Because of the dominance of giant, verticalised online sellers, consumers have become accustomed to a higher level of execution and care. They want more affordable products, faster delivery and more buying options via an omnichannel experience.
But even with enterprise e-commerce, vendors offering free two-day shipping and lower prices, retail brands and smaller online sellers can still build an enthusiastic customer base and compete.
Create a customer experience the mega-companies can’t match.
Multi-billion dollar operations don’t know you as a person, but they know your online data. An AI might know your recent order number, but it can only provide multiple choice options to address your specific issue – none of which might actually be the case. There’s no incentive to listen and find an exact solution.
The basics of creating an industry-leading customer experience are not complicated. Consider these four ways to create and retain customers through empathy and personalisation.
1. Offer a guided shopping experience
Online shopping gives consumers power, but it’s overwhelming. It’s difficult to assess quality or find the right product to fit your needs. By offering customers a point of contact through the buying process, you’re creating a level of comfort and understanding that’ll build trust.
Like in a brick-and-mortar store, this starts by someone being available in case a customer needs help. The next step is to provide resources to help those customers make an informed decision on their own. This includes visibility into pricing, product differences, reviews and anything else that keeps your customers informed.
Online brands should provide an on-page chat feature for visitors. This tool should make itself known in an unobtrusive way to offer an interactive digital shopping experience.
Additionally, provide email and phone contact information. Most online shoppers prefer a phone call when asking urgent questions or solving important issues. Display contact methods prominently and encourage customers to reach out.
2. Staff with people, not bots
When engaging with automation, provide a clear way for customers to speak directly with a representative. One-to-one conversations will often lead to faster, more satisfying resolutions.
Furthermore, people can listen in a way that chatbots or AI cannot. Expressing concern for a customer’s issues or asking about their day will provide a touch of compassion essential to building relationships.
3. Know your customer history
Relationships are built through multiple interactions and shared history. To build brand loyalty, show customers you remember and value them.
Unless your team members are equipped with photographic memories, keeping track of individual customer interactions won’t scale.
The solution is to use a customer relationship management (CRM) software that syncs information from other communication tools. Platforms such as HubSpot, Salesforce and Gorgias can connect with email, chat, phone and even social media to keep all customer interactions organised in the correct customer profile.
For example, when using Aircall’s phone system, each call is automatically logged into the CRM with agent notes. When that customer calls back, their info will automatically appear in the agent’s phone app, making personalized conversations easy and natural.
4. Don’t end care after the sale
Customer experience and shopping experience are related but different. Once you’ve successfully converted a customer into a paying one, your brand value can really shine.
Follow up via email about the buying experience or ask your customers if they’re happy with the product. If you don’t, how can you fix the problem?
Reach out when there’s a new sale (opt-in only) and continue to educate your customers about your products or industry.
Most importantly, show customers you sincerely care about their overall happiness and have a clear passion for the space in which you operate.
While expedited shipping and mass-manufacturing will meet some of the modern consumer’s demands, a personalised brand experience will always give you a competitive edge in attracting lifetime customers.
To personalise your communication tools, Aircall’s modern phone system integrates with all popular CRM and e-commerce software and brings the power of conversation into online shopping experiences.
by Olivier Pailhes, CEO, Aircall