I used to love online shopping. What could be more convenient? But, over the last year, one major shipper has gotten in the way, from delivering to the wrong address, losing packages, or even providing severely inaccurate tracking information. What used to be a boon for this busy consumer has made me want to go back to the olden days, when packages arrived as expected. Instead, I just dropped the vendor, who could not change shipping companies.
While there are many old practices that no one wants to see again, a number of them work better than the new-fangled ways. Read on if you want to find out more about how to blend new practices with old ones to make your customers feel well-cared-for and special.
In With the New, While Keeping Some of the Old
When you want your operations to run efficiently, you need to avail yourself of the newest methods, apps to robots. However, this doesn’t mean that you should completely let go of the old approaches that your customers have always valued. Here are just a few examples.
Develop real relationships with your customers
No doubt, high-tech solutions that store information about customers are incredibly valuable. Particularly in retail stores, techniques like clienteling can really help you guide customers to the products that they want.
Still, no digital solution alone can truly replace the feelings that customers get when human sales people address their needs, while demonstrating that they already precisely know the buyer’s preferences. Combining human interaction with technology enhances the buying experience, while a fully-digital approach can frustrate and alienate consumers. To make sure that they return to your store, please don’t give up on old-fashioned human interaction
Even service businesses can benefit by retaining the personal relationships that were provided in days of old. Particularly when you collaborate with clients, nothing can replace the confidence that they feel when you clearly know them very well. You have to know every possible detail about their needs and expectations; however, you’ll form better relationships when they don’t witness you checking a device to get the facts.
Be reachable in conventional ways
Back in the day, customers had only one option when they needed to contact a business: the phone. Email became the next big thing, followed by social media and chat options on business websites.
The newer contact methods have their value, especially when the subject matter is simple and straightforward, such as when customers just want to check product availability in a different color. However, when discussions become more complex, typing is not reliable, or if meanings are likely to be misunderstood, there’s nothing like the old-fashioned spoken word over the phone.
So, even if you participate in many social media platforms and you even offer “Contact Us” and “Chat” links on your website, be sure to prominently display your phone number, as well. Then, keep your high-tech auto-responder simple enough to keep callers from hanging up before they reach a live person.
Hire the best customer support representatives that you can find
As technology continues to progress, customers have seemingly endless ways to obtain support from any company, which can be great. We already discussed all of the available ways to be reachable. Chats and other methods are perfect for quick questions and answers, but what happens when customers need two-way interaction with a real person?
In earlier days, there was a clear reward for waiting on hold: they received real solutions from people who would stay on the call as long as necessary to answer every question and resolve every issue.
Regardless of how many support options your company offers, each Support Representative must be top-notch in many areas, such as the following:
- Have the ability to fully understand each question — and communicate clearly in ways that the customer understands
- Have superior knowledge of the product or service being supported
- Know when an issue needs to be escalated to a higher level in order to provide superior service
- Provide foreign-language support, depending on the company’s clientele
If you really want to provide old-style support, your support team will also project a true desire to please, regardless of whether they are on the phone or typing answers.
The bottom line is that things can go wrong with any product or service, but a high level of customer service really drives customers’ opinions of your company. If I am any example, then receiving old-style support, regardless of the severity of the issue, causes me to refer new customers. Poor service, on the other hand, often makes me warn people away from a business.
Embracing the Old Gives You Something Else to Shout About From the Rooftops
I’ve recently been hearing radio ads about some local stores that brag about their employee-free showrooms. In essence, customers get to see and try out the products and make electronic purchases. Unfortunately, it took a visit to the website — and a fair amount of digging — to find out how the process works. To get questions answered, the stores have many high-tech options available, from texting to calling. Product purchases occur via an in-store kiosk, but customers can also go online from their phones. Their ads stress the lack of sales people more than anything else.
Without a doubt, new technologies often do wondrous things for the buying experience. However, in this case, my first instincts suggest that these stores would be impersonal and surprisingly cumbersome. Whereas I would not have to deal with up-selling sales people, getting answers before buying would be complex. The moral: these stores need to make more personal connections to their customers in their advertising.
Try to advertise your old-style services with the same gusto that you use to stress modern attributes. You’ll attract more customers to your store by advertising that your high-tech approach provides old-time, caring service without pushy sales people. In your customers’ eyes, you are not taking a step back; you are leaping forward with unsurpassed customer service.