In a recent Internet Retailing webinar, Ross Haskell, director of products at LogMeIn and Amy DeMartine, senior analyst at Forrester, joined us to consider ways that retailers can improve the customer experience.
• Amy DeMartine opened the webinar by tracing the genesis of the “age of the customer”, in which buyers now demand new levels of “customer obsession”.
• It’s important to remember, she said, that customers have a single view of a retailer, and expect to have the same experience whether they are in the store or on the website.
• That experience, from discovery to post-sales support, depends on how processes are connected behind the scenes, as well as the touchpoints that they directly encounter. At the same time, the way retailers engage with the customer is becoming more complex.
• Mobile is fast becoming key. Forrester report Use analytics to build mobile advantage showed 53% of companies questioned said mobile was most important in increasing customer engagement – and use of mobile to talk to shoppers is growing quickly. As yet, however, said Ross Haskell of LogMeIn, the company’s Effective Mobile Engagement 2015 report shows that retail customers believe mobile engagement remains unsatisfactory. “Mobile engagement is something companies should do on purpose,” he said. “If you feel you’re a little bit behind with mobile engagement unfortunately it could be worse than you think.”
• DeMartine went on to explain that customer experience is important because it’s good for business – and has a quantifiable impact on revenue. That experience now spans channels from social to mobile, from web to face-to-face and the contact centre. But, she said: “Just available 2015 data shows companies sliding down the scale of customer experience, with more ‘OK’s and ‘poors,’ and fewer ‘excellents’.”
• Mobile engagement, said Haskell, also spans communication channels, from the voice call to the text message, live and video chat, social media and email, both important in customer support and in the shopping process.
• Top customer service trends: DeMartine said it was important to be pain-free, proactive, personalised and productive. Forrester’s Customer Experience Online Survey (Q4, 2013) suggests 63% of customers would prefer online customer service, while 36% would rather talk over the phone. At the same time, Forrester research into the customer experience showed 69% had the most satisfactory experience when they picked up the phone.
• Using outbound communications from email to voice chat and social media to inform customers means fewer calls, fewer agents and lower costs. Proactive chat in particular isn’t scary, said DeMartine. Empowering agents with information enables them to give better service.
• Haskell cited the LogMeIn report: 69% of respondents questioned for the global study said they were interested in a proactive invitation to join a chat conversation, a figure that rises to 71% in the UK alone. “A lot of people who are new to chat have great concern in this area – they worry it will be disruptive – but if you ask people what their reaction is, they’re generally very receptive,” he said.
He added: “Technology doesn’t matter, when we ask customers about effective mobile engagement. It’s all about the way it’s done – chatting with a real person, speed of their response, how much they know about the service and whether someone can solve that problem.”
• Example: How Google Now gives personalised, proactive engagement.
• It’s important to deliver consistent knowledge across touchpoints, said DeMartine. “Customers aren’t gong to feel the customer service is painfree, productive, personalised and proactive unless it comes through from the culture of the company.”
Visit the LogMeIn webinar page for more information about the webinar.