Customer support might not be the first place you would look when you think of driving revenue for your store but today I’m joined by Lucas Walker from Gorgias to chat about how brands can leverage proactive customer support and a concierge shopping experiences to increase AOV and drive up loyalty through black Friday and beyond.
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It’s a well known fact, but many companies still get stuck on the hamster wheel of chasing new customers instead of focusing on existing ones.
“I think everyone has the math behind it that a repeat customer is so much more profitable than a first time customer. And it's, I mean not even because of the revenue, but the actual profit that somebody who keeps coming back to your store again and again and again gives you. It's just such low hanging fruit. But everyone's always chasing a lower cost to acquire a customer and not really focusing on the profit. Which is what we're all here for at the end of the day.”
Don’t rush the customer support process. The cost is well worth it when the focus is on truly helping customers, versus getting them off the phone as quickly as possible.
“If I had a bad experience...I'm not going to try it if my experience with them was painful. And it could be a long time to hear back, it could be the wrong information, being ghosted. There's so many reasons - even awful hold music. Like just that God awful symphonics default tone number one, like all of these painful customer experiences. Sure you might save 8 cents per interaction, but you're losing all that huge revenue, especially for a consumable product.”
Push the answers to all frequently asked questions to highly visible places. That way, your support team isn’t tied up answering simple questions and can help close sales instead.
“So the best ticket is one that you don't have to answer. Which sounds so counterintuitive, but if you want to reduce your first response time to absolute zero, the only way to do that is to prevent it...For example, hey, do you have a free shipping program? Use a free shipping bar up at the top to say, “Hey, free shipping on orders over $40” or whatever your threshold is. Use that to proactively address that. And then if you think of the total number of interactions that an agent can have in a day, then do you want them to be reactive answering simple, easy to ask questions that you can either put on your website or are automated through a macro because it's so obvious what the people are asking for? It actually tends to be about 15-20% of tickets are very repetitive and can be single answer, pretty closed ended questions from customers. So then you save 20% of that time to now be able to help people purchase.”
Whether it’s a discount, free shipping, a code towards a future purchase, or a free product thrown in, people love to feel like they are getting something special.
“Just have something. Even if it's for free shipping or a free product over a certain amount, really use that. Or have a landing page that says, Hey, we don't offer discount codes, but if you complete your order we’ll upgrade your shipping so that it's tracked. So offer something like that. Like free expedited shipping on orders over a hundred. You can always offer something, or a free product that you - again, maybe it's the cream. Someone's bought three, four razors before, know that they're a VIP customer and give them a little bit of product for free. Especially if it's a consumable, and then get them hooked on it when they're asking you those questions.”
Regardless of your approach, stay consistent so that you customers don’t get confused by mixed messages.
“People like to feel special, and nobody likes to feel nickel and dimed. And if you see some items on sale, and a discount box, and you know you had a discount code earlier when you joined the email newsletter. If that's how you manage your customers the brand up until this point, don't all of a sudden start saying, Oh, well, we're artisan handmade, we can't afford it. Then don't offer it in the first place. Focus on the quality. Say, hey, our shelving - we give you extra hardware, everything you need to install, we send you the tools we'll even record a video specifically for you store because our shelving is all handmade and we want you to have the ultimate experience.”
Not all sales experiences lend themselves to a discount model. Sometimes, it’s all about creating a sense of scarcity and urgency.
“I think the mistake is using discount interchangeably with promotion. So it’s some compelling reason to do something new. If it's a truly new product and it's a lot of excitement and it really is limited run, and you know you're going to sell out, you don't need to discount. If you have extra inventory, if you have run promotions in the past, run a discount. But people do like to feel like they're getting a deal...instead of the discount code, what would have been better for urgency, especially if it's a clearance sale that you're running, just say, Hey, we only have three left in stock. Other people are adding this to their cart. And you can do that really easily with a dynamic email...So that's another way to create urgency with that without discounting.”
Take advantage of the high touch points offered by customer support to seek out content that will help your future conversion rates.
“first off is just by offering support. A lot of places don't. So by having support, that in itself is a competitive differentiator. So that's definitely something. And the other thing is by using support interactions...to help with some of those transactional asks. So things like getting a review, or maybe some user generated content with your product. Because there are so many just small ways to do it. And I think it's going to be harder and harder to get reviews as customers have purchased more. Instead of now you are one of five products asking for review, now you're one of 10. So when you have that highly engaged open rate, or that highly engaged interaction with the customer, now it’s the time to ask them to do something.”
Aim to be proactively helping customers, versus reactively.
“let's say you're walking into the home decor store and everyone's just standing there not offering to help you, it's kind of weird. And you stop in the shelving section and you're looking at the shelving thinking why is this one $40 And this one's $400? What am I looking at? It would just be weird if nobody was there. Especially if you just saw the cashier staring at you the whole time. Which is kind of what that Live Chat is if you don’t pop it up. You can be reactive, or you can be really proactive. And if somebody's gone to your website, or clicked an ad, become an email subscriber, clicked on a product, and added it to their cart, they probably want it. Help them make that purchase.”
Lucas’s top three tips are to connect data, use live chat close to cash, and load up on your macros.
“Number one, connect everything that you can. Have that data going back and forth. Not only is it faster, it's more accurate as well...Tip number two: if you're just getting started with live chat, focus close to cash and have it on the cart page followed by the product page. And you can even do just your bestsellers, really target that. Number three: load up your macros. Know what people are asking and have that done. But don't just be sterile. Have it with your brand tone and brand voice as well.”
Allow them to focus on channels they excel at, and officially assign product experts when applicable.
“Give your support team autonomy. Like really treat them like humans. And finally if it's going to be inundated, know who's best at which channel. So if you have someone who can run five chats at a time, but they suck on the phone, give them the choice of saying, Hey, do you want to skip phones today? Do you want to not do emails? Do you want to do live chats? And then have them focus on that.
“Don't have the same people answer all the different product types of questions. Have product experts and assign them to those questions. Especially as who knows what’s going to happen with retail stores. Even if they're open, consumers probably don't want to go. So if there's just one thing that you take away from this, adopt that physical retail mindset for your customers. Because this could be the first year that they do all of their holiday shopping online.”
Industry leader best practices can quickly set up customer expectations for all transactions.
“It's always good to know what the big players are doing that are really impacting customer expectations. Like when Amazon made free shipping at $35 bucks, we all kind of had to either put it at $35 bucks or justify why it wasn’t. So pay attention to what some of the big players are doing, and see how much of that you can replicate with yourself.”
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