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Why Customer Service Teams are a Revenue Channel for Modern Retailers

This post was written in partnership with Stella Connect.

 

Going digital shouldn’t dehumanize your business and hurt its ability to deliver top-tier customer service.

 

Efficiency and personalization drive customer satisfaction across every channel and increase revenue, but you can’t accomplish this by automating all interactions and forcing customers to use self-guided resources. Customers still prefer one-on-one interaction because, well, we’re humans who just enjoy interacting with other humans.

 

Why Customer Service Teams are a Revenue Channel for Modern Retailers

 

Future Commerce surveyed 750 online shoppers across the United States in partnership with Gladly and Stella Connect, and with that data we’ve discovered how consumers are adapting to the continuous digital transformation for both in-store and eCommerce experiences.

 

Customer service stands at the forefront of these experiences for modern retailers. In our study, it grew clear that customer service is neither a waypoint nor a detour. Modern retailers understand that consumers desire a human touch in their interactions with a brand; dynamic experiences influence overall perceptions (and ultimately result in increased spending from customers). Friction isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either — as long as it’s the right type of friction.

 

In our latest report Service is the New Storefront, we explore why proactive customer experience (CX) is now part of the modern omnichannel journey.

 

Let’s take a deeper look at the data and why modern retailers are turning to their customer service teams as a revenue channel.

 

Nothing Surpasses Help with a Human Touch

 

Consumers interact with customer service and support as part of a regular routine — a third of U.S. online shoppers told us that they interact with customer service weekly or more often. Typically, this is related to post-sales brand outreach, and the top reasons include shipping and tracking issues (48%), returns and exchanges (47%), and seeking product information (37%).

 

U.S. online shoppers made this very clear in our study: connecting with a person is their top goal. Chat, phone, and email each ranked ahead of other channels such as an online chatbot and company website resources as the most relied on.

 

The difference? Human touch.

 

Modern retailers recognize that customers are demanding in what they want, and offering the ability to communicate with an actual person will likely lead to an effective outcome. Providing a direct line of communication to your customer service team creates a one-on-one connection between your customers and your brand, generating an outcome that increases customer loyalty.

 

Establishing ‘good’ CX without the human touch is not easy or recommended. Consumers want an easy path to contact your business at any time, and they’re looking for a single point of contact capable of solving their issues. And if they’re getting lost in a company website or chatting with an ineffective online chatbot, consumers start shopping elsewhere as satisfaction dwindles.

 

Influence Brand Perception, Increase Customer Spending

 

CX acts as the front-line for your business. Treat it that way by realizing positive interactions between your customers and your business lead to increased revenue as well as brand affinity.

 

85% of U.S. online shoppers told us that CX greatly influences how they feel about a company, and 51% decided to shop at a website again if the experience was positive. It also leads to an increase in customer spending for a particular brand — more spending, more revenue.

 

Brand relationships aren’t built overnight, though. Start with a focus to elicit emotions common in positive CX.

 

Service is the New Storefront revealed that positive CX makes people feel happy, appreciated, relieved, respected, and confident. This suggests a sense of acknowledgment and empowerment is craved and most effective to foster a brand relationship. Online chatbots and a static Help Center can’t meet customer needs in such a way. Only the human connection is able to, and your customer service team fulfills this intrinsic desire.

 

Delivering ‘Good’ Friction in the Customer Journey

 

Friction exists as a two-sided territory. Often it’s viewed as a source of frustration and causing loss of revenue. Yet that’s only true if you’re delivering the wrong type of friction.

 

U.S. online shoppers shed light on ‘good’ friction in our study, indicating that consumers don’t mind interacting with customer service as long as it’s a native part of the customer journey rather than an extra stop. Chat, phone, and social media all sit on the ‘good’ side of friction. Customer service teams are able to offer accountability and personalization in their interactions, making the customer feel engaged much more than other channels may.

 

In Service is the New Storefront, a significant data point surfaced when U.S. online shoppers were asked about pre-sales interactions. 90% said they have not engaged with service prior to an online purchase, but overall 87% felt more loyal to a brand after any type of interaction.

 

What does this mean? There is an untapped opportunity to drive CX-led interactions both pre- and post-sales by reshaping the customer journey to direct traffic toward your customer service team.

 

Use the data in Service is the New Storefront to understand why your business should address shifts in consumer behavior with proactive CX, making the entire customer service team part of the modern omnichannel journey.

 

Stella Connect by Medallia is the customer feedback and quality management platform built specifically for customer experience teams. Our intuitive platform makes it easy to harness agent-level customer feedback and deliver high impact coaching and QA programs, driving agent engagement and customer satisfaction.

 

To learn more, visit www.stellaconnect.com

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