Customers have more power in the marketplace—and more information—than ever before. That may feel like a loss of control for retailers, but it shouldn’t if you know how to field the change in landscape. Understanding how to pivot your approach to customer service can turn this change in customer behavior into an advantage—and differentiate you from your competitors.
Weighing your options
In the Modern Age, technology is king—customers have instant access to endless amounts of information available all the time, anywhere they go. That means instant access to options and alternatives in terms of:
And customers knowing all their options means retailers have to compete heavily on price.
Think about it. How many of us have stood in a store with a product in our hand, looked it up online, found a better price, and opted to order it right then and there? I know I have. As customers, we love knowing we’re getting the best deal possible—but it definitely makes the job harder for retailers.
But the same rise in technology that drives competitive prices has also increased customer awareness of the more human aspects of buying. That means how your brand looks and feels across every touchpoint—and behind the scenes.
Rise to the occasion
Consumers are concerned about value—but value means more than just a lower price. Value means delivering an entire experience that customers feel is worth the cost. And with more customers equating their purchases with their sense of self, that means retailers have new opportunities to differentiate.
Customers want to feel good about where they choose to spend their money, and now brands are competing heavily on things like product origin, labor practices, environmental impact, sustainability, and business ethics. Customers also have more power over what conversations around brands look like. They can easily share an image, video, or check-in to let people know how much they love—or hate—an interaction with your brand. That may seem scary if you aren’t diligent about your service standards. But for brands who put CX at the top of their priority list, maintaining a great brand image from every angle is second-nature.
Get in the driver’s seat
Technology isn’t just powerful for customers—it’s powerful for brands, too. Sure, customers are able to share more about their experiences with your brand, but there is plenty of opportunity for brands to drive the conversation.
Even though technology has changed a lot of things in our world, the basics are still critically important. For retailers, that means customer service. If a customer knows they can trust your brand to have informed and helpful associates to help them make a good purchase, they’ll be more likely to keep shopping with you—even if they can get a cheaper price elsewhere.
Even online reviews, which may feel completely out of your hands, can be used to your advantage. Many customers are motivated to leave reviews when they have a totally stellar interaction—or a totally awful one. But by encouraging more of your customers to leave reviews, you can encourage more responses from standard service interactions and balance out your scores.
Social media is also a great place to show your customers who you are as a brand and interact with your customers directly. Interacting with customers using the same social channels they’re using to interact with you gives your brand a human quality that customers love. Responding to a customer’s negative interaction can also totally reverse the poor experience and drive loyalty anyway.
Technology isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s only getting better. To remain competitive, it’s absolutely paramount for retailers to stay ahead as trends arise. Managing our brand perception when our customers have access to more information than ever before may seem like a huge obstacle—but delivering on these demands means everyone benefits.
An omnichannel CX program can make managing your brand perception and service standards easy. To find out more about measuring omnichannel experiences, get the full ebook here.
VP, Client Insights