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Best Way to Drive Higher Customer Lifetime Value? Deliver Excellent Customer Care

By Emma KimmerlyBrands spend a lot of resources to acquire a new customer, and they understandably want that investment to pay off in terms of the customer’s lifetime value…

By Emma Kimmerly

Brands spend a lot of resources to acquire a new customer, and they understandably want that investment to pay off in terms of the customer’s lifetime value or CLV.

But how can retailers secure long-term loyalty and drive higher CLV? The answer is to provide unparalleled customer service. According to a 2020 Hubspot survey, 73% of consumers say that friendly customer service reps are a key reason they stay loyal to the brand. This isn’t a surprise; we all want prompt and helpful information when we have product or order-status questions, or need to return an item for whatever reason.  

Tips for Creating a CLV-Boosting Customer Care Experience

Exceptional customer care means providing customers with prompt, accurate and friendly answers wherever, whenever and however they request them. To meet their expectations, all brands should offer: 

  • Omnichannel Support. Today’s consumers shop from multiple devices and channels, and naturally expect the ability to request and receive customer care from all of them, including social media, email, SMS, live chat, and phone.
  • Holistic Views of the Customer. A shopper can begin a conversation on Instagram, and continue it on live chat from a brand’s website the following day. To make their customers feel as though they’re truly listening, it will need the ability to link all of their interactions into a central location that the customer care team can easily access. Retailers can achieve a holistic view of each customer by integrating its ecommerce platform, along with all of its channels and data sources into a customer care platform, like Gorgias. This integration will enable the brand to deliver personalized messages across every touchpoint, including automated ones.
  • Deploy Smart Automations. Over the past decade, technologists have deployed a wide range of automation, machine learning and rules to the platforms consumers interact with, and those developments go a long way in humanizing digital experiences. Natural language processing, for instance, can read the text of an inquiry, determine the response needed, craft a message that’s in the brand’s tone, and respond in near real time. It can even assess if a question needs to be escalated to a real human, and forward it to the right person (while generating a “we’ll get back to you” response to the customer). The message the brand sends to its customer is clear: We heard you, we value you, and we are working to provide you with the assistance you need.

A Look Ahead

According to a McKinsey report, the pandemic accelerated ecommerce, cramming 10 years of growth into just 90 days. It also accelerated expectations for highly responsive, omnichannel customer care from every brand, regardless how niche it may be.

To start, customers are well aware that they have many options for spending their money, and they won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere if a brand doesn’t make them feel heard and valued. They expect to be compensated in some way if they encounter an issue with an order, whether that’s free shipping on their next purchase, a coupon for 10% off their next order, or even a personal note from the company apologizing for the mix-up.

For example, OLIPOP, a probiotics-infused soda brand, opted to implement Gorgias so that the company can respond to any customer comment anywhere with a custom message that addresses the concern. If a customer comments on Facebook that he didn’t like his order, for instance, OLIPOP wanted the ability to respond within minutes with an apology and a refund.

“I’ve used various tools for CX, Gorgias has the best handle on what delivering a stellar experience takes. From ensuring each and every customer is viewed as a person instead of a ticket, to using technology to help create automations and macros and having the best integrations in the game, Gorgias has helped us constantly deliver fantastic experiences.” – Eli Weiss, Director of CX, OLIPOP.

Customers also expect frictionless experiences when requesting help. When customers email questions about their orders, they expect the customer care team to be able to locate their customer number, and will find it burdensome to receive an inquiry back. Consequently, brands need to be able to connect all identities to a single customer record.

But the biggest expectation of all is the timeframe for action. If a customer doesn’t hear back from the brand’s customer care team within a few hours, they will try another channel. Customers expect their messages to be acknowledged in real time, and to receive quick resolutions to their issues. To meet these expectations, brands will need a highly automated customer service tool that can receive, track, analyze, and respond to customer inquiries in real time.

The upshot: Brands who view customer care as an opportunity, not a cost center, will be rewarded with high customer loyalty and even higher CLV.

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