Customer service is at the core of a great customer experience.
Your customer service team is just not there to fix problems, but can also win back customers, drive up average order value, and secure long-term loyalty. In fact, consumers will pay 17% more to do business with firms with a great reputation when it comes to customer service.
It’s also much more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain your existing customers over the long term. By offering a great customer experience, you can build a more sustainable business from the first interaction onward.
Unfortunately, many ecommerce leaders today just think of the customer support team as a cost center, instead of focusing on this opportunity to provide a great experience. It’s true — it can be expensive to deliver a high level of service, but that doesn’t mean your support team can’t also deliver revenue.
You can actually equip your customer service team with the data they need to upsell products and make personalized product recommendations during the customer service process. This is a concept that we’re calling service-led retail and it can make a huge impact on your ecommerce business.
Here’s how to transform your customer service team from a team that reacts to problems to a team that drives real value for your brand.
Empower your customer service team with data
Currently, most customer service agents only have access to basic customer data. This includes information such as name, address, and the details of the particular issue in the support ticket they have submitted. Yet you are (hopefully) collecting a whole lot more data on your customers that the customer service team likely doesn’t have access to. For many brands, this data resides in silos, instead of in a centralized location that anyone can view.
It’s incredibly powerful to give your customer service team access to detailed marketing data, like:
- Customer preferences or affinities
- Most recent purchase history
- Average order value
- Customer lifetime value
- …and much more.
This data empowers customer support to provide a level of service that turns an unhappy customer into a loyal brand fan. It can also help them secure the sale of additional products and higher-value items.
Prioritize service requests
With deeper customer data, a service rep can go from providing reactive service to proactive support, personalizing and customizing each interaction with the customer. This is important, as more than three-quarters of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.
Even better, this data can help the whole team prioritize their time effectively. Customer service agents can use marketing data such as average order value (AOV), customer lifetime value (CLTV), previous purchases, and the history of interactions with your brand to prioritize support requests.
If you know the customer you are dealing with has a high CLTV and AOV, you can push their support request to the front of the virtual queue. This ensures your very best, loyal customers get top-notch service and remain happy and loyal customers.
Provide personalized product recommendations
Personalization is key for any business and the more you can personalize the experience to your buyers, the better. Your customer service reps should understand:
- Who the customer is, including demographic information
- What they care about most
- What they’ve bought from your brand so far
- How they like to communicate with your brand
- …and much more
With that data in-hand, your customer support team can deliver a much higher level of personalized service.
For example, as they are resolving a ticket around a shipping issue, reps can also see that the customer always buys a certain brand of products. Once the issue is resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, they can recommend a new product from that customer’s favorite brand.
Or, if the customer recently bought a pair of flip-flops, the agent can assume they are going to the beach soon and recommend and cross-sell a sarong. Your customer service team can also use data on best-selling products to recommend new releases or help them discover new products and brands similar to the ones they already like.
Improve marketing campaigns
On the flip side, giving the marketing team access to customer service data can also help inform campaigns and determine the messages you send customers. For example, if a customer has an open support ticket, then you shouldn’t send them any marketing emails until the issue is fully resolved. This extends to segmenting customers based on why they opened a support ticket and using behaviorally-triggered marketing campaigns to send satisfaction survey emails when tickets have been closed.
By giving your customer service agents access to important marketing data – and vice versa – you are showing your customers that you truly care. You can demonstrate that you have made an effort to get to know them and provide a high level of personalized service, and in turn, they share more data, which you can feed back into your product recommendations and marketing offers.
This is the kind of customer experience that successfully nurtures customers down the pipeline, secures their loyalty, and turns them into brand fans who can’t stop talking about your product. That’s service-led retail.