Cover Story: 5 Customer Service Tips to Satisfy Online Holiday Shoppers
In the heat of business, companies sometimes forget that without customers they don't exist. They think it's about their products, their services, their internal systems, etc. The people in said companies spend time dealing with personalities, politics, worries and fears. In short, they tend to forget about their customers in the day-to-day din of doing business.
In the not too distant past, people could walk into a store and be greeted personally by the owner and his/her staff. Customers had personal relationships with retailers. Store owners greeted us by name and knew our preferences and buying habits.
Today's digital age has become impersonal. Sure, we still get greeted online and retailers know our preferences thanks to cookies, but the human element is gone for sure. Within this impersonal, digital world we live in, however, there are huge opportunities for retailers to step back and become more personal. Consider the following customer service tips as you prepare for the busy holiday shopping season:
1. Re-evaluate your IVR system. How many steps does it take to reach a real person? Can the steps be shortened? Can you do away with IVR altogether (do the math on this and see if your business can support a live operator)? Reaching a live person to direct your call has become the exception rather than the norm. Can you give your brand an edge by going back to live?
2. Put your phone number in a prominent place on your website. Do the math on how much revenue you lose by not making a live customer service representative (CSR) accessible to your online visitors. The average conversion rate for online retailers is less than 5 percent. Where are the other 95 percent going? This alone could justify adding a phone number to your site.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.