Tired of hot political topics? Same here! You can breathe a sigh of relief, and be glad to know this post is nothing to do with the US primaries. Plus this is the only time I will mention Brexit!
I want to share with you how to make more online sales, at higher margins, boost customer retention whilst keeping a cap on costs. If that doesn’t get your interest…nothing will!
Great service is your competitive edge
Customers do not purposely chose inferior service. They return to suppliers other companies fail to match. So it makes sound commercial sense to build an experience that truly delivers. If you want evidence – think John Lewis, Nordstrom and others.
To manage overhead costs, vendors also need to think about the channels for customer interactions. Sophisticated vendors seek to direct interactions to the best price-performance channel – simple transactions easily self-served through web, and then escalating through online chat, up to one-to-one phone contact for complex issues or difficult to resolve situations.
When service is your competitive edge, the web channel must live up to your standards.
Multi- and Omni- channel
In multi-channel, data is shared between web and agent channels to avoid repetition for the customer. Omni-channel is intended to allow a more seamless transition and consistent customer experience across web, social, mobile and voice.
But the reality is these technology solutions exist because the first channel fails to deliver – and the majority of the time this is a fault of the web. The whole industry of reactive contact centres, voice or live chat, exists today mostly because the web channel is inadequate. If it wasn’t, customer satisfaction would be achieved at the first (and optimum) contact.
Why does web fall down for most vendors?
There are two main issues: Firstly consider the old adage “A problem well stated is a problem half solved”. If you have expertise, you can specify what needs to be resolved and quickly achieve satisfaction. For most customers, this expertise needs to be provided by the vendor through dialogue, which is mostly absent from the web.
Secondly, matters are made black and white. To simplify rules and make decisions, choices between options are firm: Yes or No. There is no process for compromise or trade off.
Product Selector vs Product Advisor
Weakness and solution is demonstrated by the web tools to aid customer choice from a range of models. A selector asks pre-defined questions, and then applies a tree structure to reach a selection. It is an over simplification derived to work within technological constraints. It will give a specific choice with limited options.
A product advisor looks to understand intent and uncover needs. It then matches benefits against need to find solutions. Further, it may seek to explore alternative methods of solving a single problem, or consider the relative merits of several imperfect matches for the most accommodating all round result.
How do you achieve superior service online?
Advice requires dialogue: exchange of information in an interactive way.
Compromise requires the ability to handle non binary or complex decisions.
Product advisors require significantly more advanced technologies. In return they achieve much higher levels of purchase satisfaction and reduce the need to handle escalation pre- or post- sale. They deliver a superior online experience that competitors cannot match, boosting sales and through reduced competition increased margins. Better still, they generate more value for your customer from their budget; and therefore more likely to return to you for more business.