Many studies show more consumers are very willing to align with brands that support their beliefs and make purchase decisions based on values. Leading research firm, Forrester, expects the trend to grow as younger consumers are much more motivated by social values.
Their recent analysis of the values-motivated consumer found that while these consumers care about a brand's social impact, product quality, service, and value are still more important than environmental and community factors. The takeaway — brands should not only align with a cause and invest in social impact initiatives but also innovate ways to meet evolving customer expectations.
Put Your Customer First
Customer expectations keep increasing, and eCommerce retailers and direct-to-consumer brands are not always fully in control of all of their customer's experiences. For many brands, the end-to-end customer experience (CX) often relies on external business partners, yet customers don't differentiate between partner experiences and brand experiences. Brands and their partners must collaborate to deliver a consistent end-to-end journey and seamless experience.
And as the competition for eCommerce and direct-to-consumer brands grows along with the cost of customer acquisition, it is more important than ever for customers to feel valued by your brand. An effective way to give back to your customers and drive repeat purchases is through CX.
In fact, the need to deliver fast, scalable, and exceptional customer experiences is greater than ever thanks to the modern phenomenon known as the NOW Customer. The NOW Customer demands rapid resolutions, personal connections, and instant gratification 100% of the time. Chances are you too are a NOW Customer as so many consumers have become accustomed to the high standards of customer experience set by companies like Amazon and Netflix.
People have grown so used to this level of service that they’ve grown to expect it from pretty much any company they interact with. The rise of the NOW Customer has given way to the NOW CX movement where brands are playing on a whole new playing field that’s fast, highly personalized, and 24/7.
A Salesforce survey found that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. To connect to your customers and design a differentiated customer experience, find out what's important to them.
As with a social impact program, reaching out and listening to your customer base is critical for the customer journey design process. Be authentic in your efforts and share your intent to elevate the experience delivered to customers by putting their needs first. Share your customer insights with business partners, align on strategic priorities for CX and innovate the brand and partner experience across the end-to-end customer journey.
Create Real Connections
As global consulting firm PwC reported, human interaction matters to customers — and 82% of US consumers want more of it in the future. You can create real connections by making technology supporting customer interactions feel more human and giving employees what they need to deliver great customer experiences. The foundation of great CX is a culture of employee inclusion and engagement.
At Simplr, we believe that a great customer experience starts with a great employee experience, and we strive to lead by example. Diversity and inclusion are vital to our culture and reflected in our agent talent pool. Simplr's unique Human Cloud Network model supports teachers, stay-at-home parents, and military families.
And we empower our team with coaching, an online community, and the tools needed to succeed and deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Every connection with any customer is a revenue opportunity so ensure your employees are ready to engage customers with speed, empathy, and precision.
Give Back to Customers through CX
As neuroscience suggests, humans are hardwired for connection. A positive emotional connection that customers experience with brands stays with them and increases loyalty and engagement. And in an increasingly digital world, brands that demonstrate gratitude and appreciation for their customers with exceptional service rise above the competition.
How can you strengthen the emotional connection your brand has with customers? How can you give back and show customers appreciation for their time and business? Here are some thought starters:
1. Be available on all channels
Evaluate CX with an omnichannel mindset. In fact, Google reports that 73% of customers now describe themselves as "channel agnostic." Customers increasingly contact brands more often and via more channels, shift between channels seamlessly, and even use multiple channels simultaneously.
Knowing your customers' needs and expectations, identify and bridge the gaps between channels turning those separate areas of the business into a holistic ecosystem that delivers a frictionless customer journey across all channels. Here’s how you can achieve a better omnichannel retail experience in just two steps.
2. Don't leave customers waiting
Shorten response time across all contact touchpoints. Salesforce found that 83% of customers expect to engage with someone immediately when contacting a company—up from 78% in 2019. Not only do NOW customers demand faster resolution while contacting brands more often and across more channels, they also expect consistent service across all touchpoints.
Invest in technology and resources, like live chat support services, to balance the delivery of fast first response times without sacrificing the quality of the experience.
3. Have a clear and fair return policy
Make doing business with you easy. For example, cover shipping both ways for returns (if possible). The returns experience is critical to CX and directly impacts customer satisfaction (CSAT) and customer retention.
According to Doodle, 84% of consumers feel the return experience is an important part of their opinion of a retailer. Craft a clear and fair return policy that makes sense for your target customers. Implement a system for evaluating customer behavior and returns, then use insights gained to improve where needed.
4. Don't just rely on automation - engage with customers
Make your customers feel valued. As reported by PwC, when customers feel appreciated, companies gain measurable business benefits—including the chance to win more of their customers' spending dollars. One in three consumers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. Don't take a chance by relying solely on automation.
To scale your customer service and contact center support, consider Simplr's distributed network of specialists backed by an AI enabled platform that ensures every customer engagement is fast, on-brand, and consistent.
5. Focus on the employee experience (EX)
Invest in EX and CX. A few years ago, Harvard Business Review conducted a study on the employee and customer satisfaction connection that proved happy employees lead to happy customers. Furthermore, a recent study found that working for a company with a strong purpose is more important to employees (88%) now than ever before, and 6 in 10 employees are choosing their employer based on values and beliefs.
The key takeaway — high employee morale is a necessary prerequisite to building a customer-first strategy. Employees are consumers of your workplace. Strengthen the emotional connection your team has with your brand, empower them with tools and resources, and manage your team in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
Get Started With Putting Your Customers First
You can set your brand up for an exceptional customer and employee experience with the help of Simplr. They offer scalable and personalized 24/7 support across all your digital channels with real humans in the loop engaging with your customers through their AI-enabled platform. Here’s how they took the traditional call center into the era of NOW CX.
This article was written by Julia Luce, Sr. Manager, Content Marketing at Simplr.