The gap between customers’ expectations of service and retailers ability to meet them is widening. It's widening for two reasons, only one of which retailers can hope to control. Changes in consumer behavior — e.g., handheld access to rich information, social media's ability to amplify and broadcast customer frustration, low switching costs due to the proliferation of e-commerce — are unstoppable forces pushing the customer service gap wide open. The other side of the divide is retailers lack nimbleness. It's as if these empowering changes caught the industry flat-footed. Here are three ways retailers can get back on their toes and close the gap in 2014:
While still full of stuffing and way too much turkey, I decided to go for the guilty pleasure hat trick and poured another glass of wine, grabbed the TV remote and fell headlong onto the couch. But it wasn't football I tuned into. Sport is fine, but my real passion is music, especially live music. At any given time, I have at least six or seven live concerts DVR'd from Palladia.tv. In my tryptophan coma, The Doors at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 sounded absolutely perfect. And it was. As I enjoyed watching a fantastic show, I thought about my neighbors, who were hurriedly wrestling their 18-month-old into his car seat and speeding away, no doubt toward some retail nirvana. I thought about the crowds and the deals and the excitement of the season. And I thought about endings and that letdown feeling that sets in after a larger-than-life concert, and even after the holidays are over. It made me wonder: What can businesses do after the holidays are over to solidify customer relationships.
When considering live chat, many online retailers think the technology is for sales or service — but not both. Savvy e-retailers realize that these days, no clear point of distinction exists. You can't have one without the other.
If you ask the average online retailer what they think of proactively inviting website visitors to engage in a live chat, chances are they’d say it’s “too intrusive” or “annoying to the shopper.” A recent survey of more than 1,000 regular, U.S.-based internet shoppers begs to differ.