What does good customer service mean these days?Explained in 3 steps how customer service 4.0 works.
Are you confident to advise your customer well and offer services in the best possible way? You keep your customer consultation in the same way as you have always done, because why ever change a running system? Your customers appreciate your service since it is personal, direct and “always” available during the opening hours?
Outstanding customer service already ensured in the former corner shops that customers are satisfied and make recommendations to family and friends. Even today 74% of all customers show loyalty to a brand or a company when they are satisfied.
But the rules of the game fundamentally changed for brick-and-mortar stores as a result of e-commerce and younger, future generations and their digital mindset. With constant access to information online, your customer is better informed than ever, expects all-in-one support before, during and after the purchase and is not shy to switch to a competitor immediately when his requirements are not met.
Your customers are able to order the product any time online or sign the mobile contract by themselves. What if the product has a defect, does not fit or simply does not meet the expectations? What if the completion of the necessary documents fails? Your customers have to deal with cancellations, returns and the fact of unavailability or finding a replacement by themselves.
A local retailer takes the time, explains the desired product, recommends better alternatives, maybe even knows the customers purchasing history and can provide additional advice. This is exactly what makes your store different compared to those where customers are just an anonymous number.
How can a small or medium-sized company meet the changed expectations of the customer in the digital age while maintaining the traditional, proven and personal customer service? How does customer service 4.0 work?
1. Visibility and availability 24/7
Your customer should be the centre of your actions and thoughts. Today’s customers start shopping long before they enter your shop, if they even know about it. They inform themselves online about possible products and compare the local shops as well online. But what if these customers don’t know your shop? How can you make sure your potential customers find you, and also come back?
Being easy to find as well as a good visibility online – wherever your customers happen to be right now – have become vital also for the brick-and-mortar. This does not necessarily require an online shop – rather, digital touchpoints, for establishing contact and interaction, are of decisive importance for an incentive to buy.
In addition, real-time interactions with the retailer are becoming increasingly important. The customers got used to the convenience of real-time answers and advice of the online shops and expect the same manner from the shop around the corner.
Your customers want to be able to communicate and interact with you in the same way they do with family and friends – they want to choose the way and extent of their contacts by themselves. So, do not neglect any chance for communication – this is how you ensure that you offer your customer the experience they want, the one which differentiates you from your competitors.
The opportunities to get in touch and to stay in contact with potential and existing customers increased significantly. Next to the traditional consultations in person, the ones via video calls or social media did not only gain popularity during the pandemic. In addition to the consultations also requests and reviews are growing over all channels. The touchpoints with your customers are going far beyond the personal contact in-store.
“How to do this with plenty of possible channels?” That is what many small business owners will now ask themselves, especially those who have had little to nothing to do with social media & Co. so far.
Many roads lead to the customer. With the help of just one digital solution, you can merge seamlessly all profiles in one inbox and integrate other communication channels such as SMS or email as well, without switching between different apps or profiles. Leave the choice to your customer how to contact or rate you – your customer will feel taken seriously thanks to this freedom of choice and note it as a positive experience.
2. Data documentation & service individualization
You call your customers by name and know their preferences, interests and their shopping behaviour? You know which shoe size your customer is wearing or when his or her phone contract expires? You and your team can keep all this in mind? Does that also apply to those customers which are visiting your shop for the very first time? Today, data is the most important driver, not only for statistics, but also for targeted and personalized consultation and sales to provide customers a positive and remarkable shopping experience and build long-term customer loyalty.
The traditional way to collect your customers data like name, email address or mobile phone number is the personal one, for example during the consultation. Once saved, they can be used for all further review requests, surveys, newsletters and others. However, there are many more touchpoints during the shopping experience which help you and your team to gather exactly these data: more and more customers use social media also for the search and the selection of local shops. Social media is not only an excellent way for users to share, communicate and network, but also for you to find out what your customers value and promote your store as well as respond to each customer individually. User-generated content is becoming more and more popular thanks to Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Take every opportunity to collect the data by using each possible touchpoint along the customer journey. 83% of consumers are willing to share their personal data when they believe it will lead to personalization .
With mPocket, all your profiles can be centralized in just one application, so that you don’t lose track of the multitude of platforms. Additionally, the application can be used in-store for collecting data: provide your customers a free guest WIFI. You are not only offering an additional service which is expected anyways, but you will receive already the first contact details with their login (e.g., email address or Facebook profile). Using this contact you can send a review request after the customer has left your store and are already in an interaction with this customer – the first step in getting to know your customers and building a long-term relationship with them is done. Furthermore, our mPocket application can be integrated into existing cash register systems: with contactless payment or paperless receipts you have another possibility to collect customer data.
Once you have the data of your customers you can dig a little deeper to find out what your customers value, for example with short surveys – simple and automized with mPocket. The system is also safe from a data protection point of view.
Shopping today means more and more specific requests from the customer across multiple channels with effortless and uncomplicated experiences at the same time.
Services such as buying online – home delivery, over buying online – pick up in-store to paying online – delivery to a pick-up station and many others are demanded more than ever. Meet this increasing demand for all-round services, offer your customers a seamless and individualized shopping experience that they appreciate, strengthen their loyalty and build a long-term relationship. Trustful customers are ready to share much more personal information with you, which can again be incorporated into your sales concept.
3. Satisfied employees & customer loyalty
Ask yourself what a good customer service means to you: for example, the waiter of your favourite restaurant knowing your name and serving immediately your drink without asking? Or when you had a problem with your mobile phone the other day and the phone support led you friendly, quickly and straight forward to the solution? What is the difference between those employees and others which are having a similar training and knowledge? They are lining the interests of the company and act accordingly.
The service orientation must be integrated as a solid part of the corporate culture and you and your team need to be occupied by it. Due to the increasing competition and the changing expectations of customers, the standards have also been set new for local retailers. Friendliness, empathy and expertise are not enough anymore. Automate, personalize and digitize all interactions with and around your customers. A good software for the centralization of data is essential for every customer service today – but only effective if all your employees share your values and do not have a completely different attitude towards your customers and the understanding of service. Today, the customer experience is an essential factor for the success of a company and no company should miss to adapt customer service to changed circumstances and realign all relationships – internally and externally.
Convince your employees as well – they are the brand ambassadors for you and your store and have a fundamental influence on the relationship with your customers. Companies with a customer focused culture are 60% more profitable than others.
Powerful customer service also means be one step ahead of your customers and their needs before they are even expressed. With centrally collected customer data, you can proactively approach your customers and take the initiative. Your customers will be positively surprised and experience a feeling of specialty. The same is valid for possible problems or complaints your customer might have – a proactive solution not only solves the actual problem, but also signals your customers that you take their concerns seriously.
Fast, targeted advice and problem solving, real-time answers, individualization and additional services are a necessary requirement for every company today, whether it is a small or medium-sized one. mPocket supports you as a digital employee.
Involve your employees actively and let them help propose their own ideas for improved customer service. There are no limits set to the creativity of your team and common brainstorming or problem solving also creates a stronger bond in the team.
With the right tool, you can help your team to be more productive and thereby provide your customers with the best possible service. Based on the customer data, your employee can offer a suitable product, reserve it online or present and consult via video calls. Technology can combine the skills of a good salesperson with the convenience of an online shop, increase the productivity of your employees and give your customers a feeling of exclusivity.
Having a positive experience while saving time enables your employees to touch your customers emotionally. Store employees are experts in your customers eyes which are asked for advice and help. Bring all service interactions with your customers to one place. This keeps communication seamless, personal and efficient.
Customer service 4.0 means to bring people into the centre of attention and to put their needs into the focus of your philosophy. Not only your customers, but also your employees. They are the deciding factor for the service of your business.
Customer expectations have caused a huge turn and a totally different dynamic the recent years, especially in local retail. The Corona crises only accelerated the trend towards digitization and SMEs are also investing more and more in new technologies.
Transparent and up-to-date data knowledge is essential for your success and the growth of your business. Use the data efficiently to realign your customer service. Let yourself and your product stick out with uniqueness, build customer relationships through interactions and enrich your customers’ life with eventful, time-saving purchases and exceptional services.
We from mPocket show you how to implement customer service 4.0 with just one application.
Marketing & Communication Manager mPocket
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