When we think about customer service in the future, we’re apt to think of driverless taxis, or robot-made salads – essentially, we envision a future where service is driven by impersonal machines and automation, rather than people.
Yet when we look at today’s customer service trends, and what customers today want their service to look like, the reality is surprisingly contrary to that. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, companies that rely less on human help, and more on machines, actually see a decrease in their revenue and efficiency.
What this shows is that customers today want service that’s personalized, and personal. They want to feel recognized as individuals, and valued as loyal customers. At the heart of it, they want that traditional shopkeeper experience – that special feeling you get when the barista at your local coffee joint greets you by name, and remembers that you like almond milk over soy. And they want that same experience whether it’s an in-person one, or online.
And while that seems daunting, the good news is that the technology is out there to help brands provide this level of service. It just all comes down to remembering.
Make customers feel like unique, valued individuals
According to our customer service expectations survey, 91% of customers want the companies they’ve bought from to know who they are, and their past interactions with them.
For online gear retailer Backcountry, ‘remembering’ customers is part and parcel of how they do business. At Backcountry, customers get to choose their own ‘Gearhead’, a dedicated concierge who helps guide them through their purchase. But the service doesn’t stop there; customers can come back long after the initial sale and ask their dedicated Gearhead questions, or for new recommendations. Gearheads also check in with customers after the sale, to ask if they have questions or to let them know about exclusive offers relevant to their interests and goals – sometimes they even go on ski trips with them!
Granted, we can’t all ski with our customers, but Backcountry is a great example of how companies can provide a sales experience that makes customers feel like individuals, and carry that on into the after-sales experience as well.
Elevate your customer experience
When you tell someone your name, you’d usually expect them to remember it the next time they meet you – ideally, the same should apply to your customers as well. If customers have given you information about themselves in the past, or when they signed up for an account with you, consider using it instead of asking for it again.
Take online clothing retailer ASOS, for example. ASOS keeps track of the sizes that customers have bought in the past, and whether they’ve returned them due to a lack of fit. They then use that information to make personalized size recommendations for their customers. Once users have established a purchase history with the brand, they’ll see the size recommendation appear alongside every piece of clothing they look at on the site.
What’s remarkable is that ASOS hasn’t gone out of its way to get this information. They’ve simply taken what customers have given them in the past, and used it to heighten their customer experience by taking the guesswork out of sizing.
The lesson that companies can take from ASOS is that customer information shouldn’t just be taken in a silo and then discarded. Instead, ‘remember’ that information and use it to create a better, easier experience for your customers.
Reduce customer effort
Customers today are busy people with a lot on their plate, so they’re drawn to companies that can help them get things done faster, and make their lives easier. If you can make your customer experience as effortless as possible, you’re one step closer to happy customers who remain loyal to your brand.
One brand that’s really stood out in this arena is Sephora, especially with the launch of their Color IQ service. With the swipe of a handheld device, Sephora matches a customer’s skin tone to a Pantone color and assigns it a 4-digit Color IQ number. That Color IQ number is then used to generate a list of foundation, concealer, and lip colors across the various lines the store stocks which match or complement that customer’s skin tone.
And while that’s incredible in and of itself, the best part is that when linked to a customer’s account, it’s ‘remembered’ across every device the customer uses, so they can access this personalized, curated list whether they’re in-store, on their phone, or online. In addition to Color IQ, Sephora also keeps a record of a customer’s past purchases, making it easy for them to retrieve and simply repurchase when they need to. All this is done in an effort to reduce customer effort and keep them coming back.
The level of insight that ColorIQ provides is no longer out of reach of the everyday company. With AI and machine learning becoming increasingly accessible, companies have an amazing opportunity to leverage the information they have in new, and actually helpful ways.
A whole new world
As these brands demonstrate, remembering your customers isn’t something that’s out of reach any longer but is, in fact, a great tool for building relationships and engendering loyalty with your customers. Because the more you remember about them, the clearer the picture you can put together of who they are, and what you can do to satisfy their needs and wants from you as a brand.
At Gladly, we believe that ‘remembering’ your customers should lie at the core of every interaction. That’s why our customer service platform is centered around the customer, not ‘tickets’ or ‘cases’, so every customer detail, past issue, and interaction – regardless of channel – is pulled into a single view for an agent to see. That means agents know what happened the last time a customer reached out, they know the issue the customer’s facing, and they’re armed with the full picture of the customer and the context they need to build trust and long-lasting relationships. Visit our product page for more on our new brand of customer service software.