While retailers are ahead on bridging the store, online and mobile experience, the strategy falls down when they are not able to provide effective support for digital customers. And, comparative research shows that some retailers still underperform on social channels especially. Response times are still erratic and range from just a couple of minutes from to tortoise-esque average response times, which Eptica put at 5 hours 40 minutes for Twitter and 6 hours 36 minutes for Facebook, and never.
Here are five reasons why these types of inconsistencies need to be ironed out.
#1 It’s difficult to sell analogue service to digital consumers
In the UK online shopping is predicted to outpace total retail growth by 2020 when the web will account for 17.1% of total retail sales. In 2015 the figure stood at 13.8%. When it comes to channel preference for support, digital interactions, including social media, are expected to overtake phone contact by the end of the year. See where we’re going with this. Retailers need to be able to quickly assist multi-device customers on the digital channels they prefer in near real-time. It’s top of the service wish list – 80% of consumers view getting through to an agent quickly as the number one priority for customer service. There is a price to pay for not being able to do this on social.
“The longer a brand waits, the bigger the risk that a customer will decide to go and shop somewhere else … It is 2016 and people expect a rapid response. If they don’t get it, you could lose them forever.” (Tim Barber, director at BDRC Continental)
#2 Meet the complainers
A whole heap of complaints on social channels are still going unanswered and not all retailers are equipped to quickly assess and prioritise comments to make sure each and every complaint that requires a response gets one. Let’s check back in with Eptica on this. It found retailers reply to just 20% of complaints on Twitter, but the number improves a bit on Facebook at 57%. Beyond fixing things for consumers in the moment and listening to feedback to understand why things go wrong, retailers are also missing the chance to get unhappy customers back on side.
#3 Supply and demand
Retailers need to take stock of social conversations. Brands that invest in technology to understand and overlay data from multiple customer contact points, beyond voice and text, will have powerful analytics to understand how stock availability is impacting sales, and assess what’s being said about products and the latest must-haves to predict demand and identify hotspots.
#4 Social networks are becoming one-stop commerce and service solutions
Facebook has launched a raft of business-friendly innovations to make Messenger a customer service tool and simplify the way brands can connect with the now one billion people that use the platform each month. And, consumers increasingly want to talk to retailers via these types of messaging apps. It’s quick and easy to connect with businesses and conversations are private and one-to-one. Shoppers can simply pick up threaded conversations with support teams when they need assistance. Online shoppers especially could see chat apps as a quicker, more convenient solution to waiting for web chat teams to get back to them. One thing’s for sure, brands need to make sure these apps are integrated with the engagement platform that agents already use to provide a service consistent with other channels, close to real-time.
Retailers are also testing chat bots to answer simple questions and reduce the number of agent-assisted interactions, and share news, offers, style tips etc. But this is all predicated on the quality of the AI brands deploy and it’s early days still.
#5 It’s all in the delivery
Parcel couriers continue the customer experience retailers start. If a customer turns to social to complain about a delivery, the company they bought from needs to be effectively listening to messages to fix issues and understand what customers go through. Multiple reputations are at stake here when things go wrong. Shoppers don’t get to choose couriers and might find it easier to just buy elsewhere if complaints go unheard.
Sign up to our Free Webinar – 5 Essential Service Trends for 2017
Exploiting technology to give the very best service to your customers is a great way to grow your business. To learn how to leverage key social media trends to deliver improved customer satisfaction, greater retention and faster business growth, sign up to our FREE webinar.
Join us on the 23rd November at 2pm GMT and get 60 minutes with industry experts Valur Svansson, Principal Consultant at IP Integration and Sentiment’s Mike Elliott, to learn more about these trends in the context of your business:
- How customer service teams, marketing and technology are converging
- How social data can be used to improve business performance
- How to improve response times
- How chat apps are changing the way we communicate
- Seamless channel integration
Can’t make it? Register and we’ll send you the recording!