Creating brand loyalty with your online customers

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    19-May-2015

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Todays retail environment is undergoing dramatic changes with the constant threat of competition from globalization and new technology-enabled shopping channels. Combine these factors with consumers easy access to comparative information and the increasingly de-personalized, homogenous website shopping experience and it becomes difficult to sustain brand loyalty, and to differentiate through good service and a higher-quality shopping experience.

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  • 1. 2012 Sutherland Global Services WP-CBRNDLTY-031312 Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers Sutherland Global Services March 2012 Retail Services Branding Excellence Series Table of Contents Foreword.....................................................................................2 Creating Brand Loyalty................................................................3 The Shift to Personalized Engagement ..............................................3 Creating a Branded Customer Support Experience............................3 Making First Impressions Count.........................................................4 Aligning Customer Service with Customer Needs..............................4 Aligning Customer Service with Corporate Goals ..............................4 Personalized Selling............................................................................4 Creating Opportunities to Generate Customer Loyalty .....................5 Equipping Customer Service with the Tools for Success ...........6 Unlocking Information .......................................................................6 Leveraging Skill-Based Routing ..........................................................6 Communicating with the Right Channel ............................................7 Dynamic Selling ..................................................................................7 Measuring Success......................................................................8 Real-Time Measurement of Satisfaction............................................8 Meeting Your Brand Commitments ...................................................8 Conclusion........................................................................................10 About Sutherland Global Services....................................................10

2. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 2 Foreword Todays retail environment is undergoing dramatic changes with the constant threat of competition from globalization and new technology-enabled shopping channels. Combine these factors with consumers easy access to comparative information and the increasingly de-personalized, homogenous website shopping experience and it becomes difficult to sustain brand loyalty, and to differentiate through good service and a higher-quality shopping experience. At a time when top- performing retailers online revenues account for an average 15% to 30% of total revenues often, representing the only source of revenue growth it is vital that retailers understand how to maintain and drive customer loyalty. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how retailers can create brand loyalty with their online customers and explore ways to measure the impact of consumer loyalty on revenue growth and Customer Lifetime Value. 3. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 3 Creating Brand Loyalty The Shift to Personalized Engagement Know your customer has been a retail-industry mantra for the past several decades. Businesses have started evaluating and segmenting data in order to better understand and predict their customers buying behaviors. Many businesses are rapidly replacing their product-centric programs with strategies centered on the customer experience. Retailers are now focused on enhancing the customer experience to personalize shopping so effectively that it creates a brand loyalty bond with their customer, regardless of the communication channel. An example of this shift is intelligent websites, which collect user data and dynamically present different retail offerings based on the customer preference. As consumers flock to social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and others, retailers should consider leveraging these communication channels to improve their customer service and gain a competitive advantage. With the ongoing advances in technology, many retailers have already expanded their operational processes to leverage social networks as a tool for responding to customer complaints, proactively answering questions, and/or tailoring their offering. Organizations that effectively use social-media tools for customer care can also benefit from creating brand promoters within their customer base. Used effectively, these promoters act as an extension of the customer service organization, offering advice on product or services in return for non-financial rewards. Creating a Branded Customer Support Experience Understanding each stage of the customer lifecycle and recognizing the important role of customer service in retaining customers is no longer an option it is a strategic imperative. While technological advances have enabled real-time interaction with consumers via websites, in-store kiosks, or with the latest handheld wireless devices, most retail customer support programs have been largely ignored and not fully integrated with retailers brand values, leading to a poor customer experience. From our perspective as a business process outsourcing company, Sutherland Global Services predicts that market drivers will cause the industry to evolve from todays service-oriented contact centers toward revenue-generating profit centers. Retail service delivery centers that do not plan for this transformation will be forced to reduce their cost of service and/or be replaced by self-service applications. 4. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 4 Making First Impressions Count During the customers first contact, retailers should consider segmenting site visitors and measuring first impression statistics of various website and customer service elements -- including functionality, navigation, and product content. An organizations management team should consider how satisfaction is linked to revenue-producing behaviors, including the likelihood of customers to purchase online or off-line, and prioritize process improvements accordingly to maximize their customers return on satisfaction. Aligning Customer Service with Customer Needs At Sutherland Global Services, experience has shown that a positive shift occurs across the organization when customer service departments move their focus to dynamically routing and handling calls based on customer history. The retailers competitive stance is improved by the ability to deliver highly differentiated services that actually drive revenue. Operational efficiencies increase, too, because all key delivery components are better aligned with customers goals. Customers enjoy a more rewarding experience because their contact center interactions are tailored to their preferences, based on purchase history, interests or value to the retailer. Aligning Customer Service with Corporate Goals In most retail environments, existing technologies and processes limit managements ability to view customer service and sales results based on what actually transpired during a call. Network analytics such as call length, hold time, and transfer rates are often the only metrics used to evaluate and plan future strategies. For example, a customer service operation might track average customer contact handle times, versus examining ways to shorten handle times for low revenue- generating customer contacts. They also might neglect to evaluate appropriate opportunities to lengthen handle times with high-value customers in order to resolve problems or increase cross- selling opportunities. Another common example is when a companys operational management team focuses on measuring support professionals sales performance based on total revenue per month, while the outcome or conversion of a high-value call may be a more relevant metric. Personalized Selling Most retail companies are attracted to third-party service providers because they have measured and documented demonstrable benefits ranging from dramatic cost savings to an enhanced focus on the retailers core customer base. However, an often-overlooked advantage is the service providers knowledge of revenue generation programs and the positive impact on the overall customer experience. Many revenue-building opportunities exist at every stage of the customer experience and carefully targeted offerings can be seamlessly blended throughout the customer lifecycle. Typically, these types of revenue generation programs can be converted into a transaction-based pricing model with a variable cost structure. Programs of this nature allow the service provider to align more closely 5. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 5 with a retailers top-line revenue targets, resulting in improved customer satisfaction levels, as well as higher order values and conversation rates. Creating Opportunities to Generate Customer Loyalty When a company adopts a basic, essential customer contact strategy, engagement occurs only when customers are in distress or unhappy. From a branding and loyalty perspective, the implications of this approach are highly detrimental. Retailers cannot maximize customers lifetime value or influence brand loyalty when their personalized interactions occur only when a consumer calls regarding product delivery dates, account statements, or product returns. With proper planning, retailers can create more proactive engagements. The figure below illustrates several potential customer touch points which offer retailers an opportunity to reinforce brand values and build brand loyalty. People value the shopping experience as much as the goods they purchase. Retailers who enhance that experience can foster a stronger emotional attachment with their customer. [Fig 1: Opportunities for additional Customer Contact Points) 6. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 6 Equipping Customer Service with the Tools for Success Unlocking Information As retail organizations become more aware of the value of data mining, it becomes evident that most companies store their customer information in multiple data repositories. More often than not, this data represents a goldmine of information that can be used to design different customer-focused support opportunities. As an initial step, retailers should consider a centralized data repository to make this information universally accessible. This data has the potential to elevate their customer service delivery from a level of basic care and support to a high- quality customer experience, while driving incremental revenue. Retailers today are looking to service providers to enhance their business processes through the use of customer analytics and performance optimization applications. Typically, these systems leverage an established methodology, such as the University of Michigans American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), to produce both component and composite scores designed to identify opportunities to positively impact customer satisfaction levels. By embedding analytics in every step of a customers lifecycle, businesses are better-equipped to predict the buyers behavior. When customer behavior becomes more predictable, sales, satisfaction and revenue are all positively impacted, leading to stronger bottom-line results and shareholder value. Leveraging Skill-Based Routing The concept of skill-based routing is very simple. In the retail support setting, a high-value customer (one who meets pre- determined criteria or a loyalty card holder) can be serviced by a higher-skilled specialist who is capable of providing both service support and sales assistance. Additionally, providing a richer support service by customizing the service professionals skills to specific product sets, and routing customers based upon purchase history or the nature of the inquiry, has proven to increase brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. This approach is easily undertaken by building tools that will adjust to and account for demographic variables such as buying behavior history, gender, geography, language, and credit history. More advanced approaches to data segmentation, such as User Persona Research, can also identify how people behave while visiting websites. Before implementing any skills-based routing program, however, it is important to confirm that the chosen data-segmentation product includes sales scripts for support professionals to follow or use as a reference during their conversations with customers. 7. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 7 Communicating with the Right Channel A critical first step is to align your brand with the communication channels you support and provide consistent customer service experiences across these channels. Your customers channel of choice will vary based on factors such as socio-demographics, time of day, location, and availability of technology. It is important to allow customers to initiate an interaction in one communication channel and continue it in another. The following channels are most commonly used and need to be tightly integrated into a retailers communication strategy. Web self-service. Helps customers locate the right answers to their questions using web self- service knowledge management. Self-service to live-service transitions. Offers customers the option to escalate a request from a web self-service site to a live agent; notifies and forwards information to an agent when a session transitions from self-service to live service. Phone channel delivery. Supports phone agents in creating customer incidents or cases, routing incidents, and handling inquiries within the customer guidelines and provides full computer telephony integration (CTI) capabilities with screen-pop. Customer-to-agent chat channel. Provides inter- and proactive chat, co-browsing, and page push. Email response management. Effectively manages and responds to high email volumes via service associates who have access to productivity tools such as canned answers, auto-suggestions, and auto-responses and are linked to a single co...

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