Another great post for our November e-commerce theme from Kristina Hartjens, Customer Care Manager at Blueport Commerce. Kristina provides some actionable ways to improve online e-commerce experience. If you are interested in guest blogging e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristina’s experience as a leader has found a welcome home in Boston’s South End with Blueport Commerce. As Customer Care Manager, Kristina keeps a close eye on Customer Care activities for Furniture.com, powered by Blueport Commerce. Kristina spends her days working closely with the Customer Care team to deliver an optimal experience for our customers and drive motivation and success. Kristina is a dedicated customer service professional with over 14 years of specialized premium brand experience in multi-channel settings. Starting her career in Customer Service at Yankee Candle, allowed her to acquire extensive management skills, including direct-to-consumer, fundraising, personalization, overflow call center, third-party warehouse, inventory control and project management.
Despite the evolving nature of commerce, there is one thing for all retailers that holds true—the importance of customer care. Study after study shows that high quality customer care is a critical factor in consumer’s decision to shop with a retailer. On Furniture.com, powered by Blueport Commerce, we quickly realized the need for a powerful and progressive customer care department to not only increase consumer satisfaction, but also our bottom line. This is especially critical because Furniture.com is an online-only retailer who lacks the arm of in-store sales support. Here are some best practices we’ve found to bring us success and happy customers.
1) Your Customer Care Department Is Only As Strong As Your Team
Building a successful call center is not an easy task. Sure it is easy to answer a call, but think about the ups and downs of customer service that can be trying on even the best customer care teams. As manager of the customer care department at Blueport Commerce and managing customer care for Furniture.com, I am only as good as the team I have engaging with customers on a daily basis. Fostering a cohesive, collaborative environment is essential to keeping spirits and motivation strong so we consistently deliver on the expert care we promise our customers.
2) In An Online World, Customer Care Must Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Online-only retailers miss out on the incremental sales that come from in-store sales efforts. In turn, we are constantly searching for progressive ways to engage our customers and keep them coming back. Our representatives are empowered to not only serve customer issues, but also to drive sales, which has proven to be a successful means for generating incremental revenue.
3) One Form Of Communication Does Not Fit All
Not all customers are the same. And with so many methods of communicating these days, one form of communication might satisfy one customer and irritate another. We aim to give each of our customers a positive experience, no matter their preferred mode of communication. Which is why having expert communication skills on the phone is just as important as crafting a superb email and responding swiftly on live chat to capture all types of audiences. Our website is a huge communication tool, where we continue to optimize our site design to direct customers to the communication channel they prefer, whether it is finding tips and tricks through the our Pursuit of Home blog, or a more personal connection through the phone or live chat.
4) Creating A “White-Glove” Experience
Working in big-ticket retail, reviving abandoned carts is critically important. There are multiple marketing tools available that aid in this process, such as retargeting and trigger email campaigns. On the side of customer care, we have taken multiple measures to create a “white-glove experience”, particularly for some of our viable cart abandoners. This carefully crafted experience helps makes our brand appear more personal for some of our key customers, despite the impersonal nature of online shopping. As a result, we’ve not only helped to close several abandoned sales, but also let our customers know that we are there for them throughout every step of the sales process.
5) Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is And Keep Track Of Your Progress
At Furniture.com, we continuously strive to improve every touch point we have with customers. Looking back on call and email data has helped us improve response times and increase the value of touch points to ensure a positive and seamless experience for each and every customer.
It is easy to say you are a customer centric, but what really makes a difference is the execution. At Furniture.com, we’ve come to learn that following these best practices, such as providing proactive, top of the line service through multiple communications channels, help make that vision a reality for our customers. And as a result, we are not only seeing increased satisfaction, but also increased sales.