In today’s omnichannel world, customers expect a seamless, consistent conversation across all channels, which means customer service teams have to deal with a completely different landscape than they did just five years ago.
How are leading retailers doing it?
Smart use of technology, and automation.
In our latest infographic, we discuss the ways in which you can automate your customer service:
10 Secrets of Automating Customer Service
1. Listen out for social media mentions
Social media, particularly Twitter, is now recognized as a great way for customers to air grievances. Instant responses are expected, and issues should be solved in minutes rather than days. Tools like Twilert and Mention will notify you as soon as your brand or search term is mentioned, ensuring you can get involved in conversations quickly.
2. Establish good cross-channel notifications
Before you can automate transactional emails and text messages, you need to assess what each of your channels are capable of, and whether you want to rely on that, or put a larger cross-channel system in place. Which system should send which message? Try mapping out your preferred notification journey and then work with what your systems are capable of.
3. Connect your back office and email marketing
A centralized back office system, like Brightpearl, can be connected to an email marketing tool such as MailChimp, ensuring appropriate and personalized order confirmation emails are sent instantly for every order. You’ll just need to ensure your orders download in real-time and that your back office system is channel-aware.
4. Put your carrier integrations to work
Customers want to be able to track their orders all the way to their door, which means shipment notifications must contain tracking references. This is where integrations like ShipStation or Shiptheory become your new best friends. They push all relevant carrier information into your back office, ensuring your customers are kept informed every step of the way.
5. Ensure you have consistent branding
Omnichannel retailers often launch sales channels which are focused on a certain product line or target market; a subset of the larger company. Sometimes these channels have a different trading name, logo, color scheme and branding. Therefore, you must ensure all related paperwork such as packing notes and order confirmation emails are channel-aware.
6. Don't neglect post-sale communications!
Remember that customer care doesn’t end when goods are received. A successful delivery is just one step closer towards a second or third purchase, and ultimately towards creating an active promoter. Therefore, never neglect your post-sale communications - use them to find out what went right, what went wrong, and act on your findings.
7. Automate ‘Thank you’ emails
‘Thank you’ emails provide an excellent opportunity to check the customer is happy with their purchase, and invite them to write a review, or share their experience on social media. It’s even better if you use automation to personalize these emails based on what the customer bought and when. An enticing offer would do well here to bring them back to your store quickly!
“Personalization equals sales growth. 48% of consumers spend more when their experience is personalized and 74% experience frustration when content isn’t relevant to them.” - Peerius
8. Collecting reviews doesn’t have to be manual
If you’re asking for reviews, then of course all that can be automated too. Take a look at tools like TrustPilot, Yotpo, Reviews.io and Stamped.io for ways to capture user-generated content. Just remember that everything you automate needs to be channel-aware.
9. Returns should be quick and simple
It takes up to 7 people on average to handle a return, which is far too much wasted time and cost within your business. But if you employ a warehouse management system that can process returns (including associated accounting transactions) via one quick and simple barcode scan, then you can very efficiently redeploy your staff where they’re needed most.
“It takes brands 21 days on average to process an order refund. That’s 21 days too late for 91% of shoppers who do not repurchase.” - Returnly
10. Artificial intelligence needs to be intelligent
To deliver a useful customer experience, chatbots and autoresponders need to learn from the actual responses your company gives to customers. And of course they need to be connected to your product, customer and sales data, so that they can tell customers what their tracking reference is, or what’s in stock. LivePerson and Nanorep (now called Bold360) chatbots are a great option!
“Around 50% of interactions are highly suitable for bots, with enormous cost savings.” - LivePerson
Once you are successfully using automation to improve your customer service, your customers will get answers faster, and your staff will save time so that they can focus on more complex topics, and even sales and marketing strategies. Everyone wins.
We hope you’ve found this advice useful to empower your customer service teams with automation. Each of the tips in this infographic have been adapted from our guide ‘Automating Customer Service for Retailers’.
Download the guide today to gain a deeper understanding of how you can automate your customer service and compete successfully in today's demanding world of retail.