Archive for April 29, 2014

What Will Customers Look Like in 2015?

 

We know what customers look like right now – more integrated with social media, looking for a personalized, efficient shopping experience. With things changing as quickly as they are, have you thought ahead to what your customer will look like in 2015?

 

It looks like folks have started thinking about this already. The infographic below shows some interesting predictive trends on the new face of the customer. Some of the most interesting statistics?

 

  • 46% of respondents feel they can be brutally honest online. If that holds true, and the other statistics that say 70% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase, and a third of consumers will not make a purchase if their friends won’t approve, online conversations can go a long way in making or breaking a purchase decision.┬áThis trend has been on the upswing, with consumers being more honest and comfortable sharing their opinions on social sites versus sharing that information directly with companies via online satisfaction surveys. While people still voice their opinions in the traditional sense, social media is slowing picking up steam. This is, in part, why companies are utilizing social media monitoring programs more vigorously than they used to.

 

  • 69% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with companies who share the results of their customer satisfaction surveys. This may be another layer of security when deciding on making a purchase – if reviews in social media are positive, and the company boasts strong loyalty and satisfaction, it could be a tipping point. Conversely, if companies don’t share this data, it may be perceived by consumers that they don’t ask for consumer opinions, the data is not positive, or they capture the data but don’t care enough to share the results. It’s unclear of course, what consumers are thinking, but these are some reasons why it’s a good idea to share those statistics with consumers.

 

  • 89% of respondents say that real-time product availability information makes an impact on their decisions. Making sure websites are providing real time product information will go a long way in ensuring consumers purchase from your company over the competitors.

 

Take a look at the infographic below and share your thoughts on a key takeaway. What surprises you, or what do you think will not be likely a year from now when it comes to consumers? Comment below and join the conversation!

2015 customer

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How Amazon Turned Customers Into Salespeople

 

Most companies know that product reviews can make or break a sale, and that customers have come to rely on word of mouth reviews, feedback, and opinions when making purchasing decisions.

 

Amazon has taken this a step further and turned to their customers to provide that much needed information that can push customers to making a purchase.

 

Their “ask a question” feature allows customers browsing items to ask a question that will be answered by people who have purchased the item. When looking at products on their site, you’ll see a “ask a question” or “XX number of questions answered” for each product:

 

amazon question

 

 

Clicking on the link allows customers to ask a more detailed, “nuts and bolts” type question that might be the one factor in deciding to purchase or not, and customers who have bought the item can respond.

 

In the example of above, questions ranged from “Does it play DVD’s that have been burned?” to “Does this DVD player remember where you left off”” to the more technical, “I have an old Panasonic TV. Will this work with it?”

 

Amazon realizes the importance of product information and providing enough information, in as many ways possible, to educate and encourage sales.

 

Of course, customer buy in to participate by answering questions is an important component – if customers don’t reply, potential buyers may not get the information they need. Similarly, they could get the perception, based on the lack of activity in this area, that the product is not popular or one that many people purchase. One way Amazon tries to prevent this is by routing these questions, as they come in, to customers who have purchased the item. Often times customers will be happy to share their feedback. As an added benefit – those customers may become more loyal to Amazon, as they company turns to them for insight and feedback on a personal level.

 

While not a new feature, it is one that is picking up steam, and is a great example of finding new ways to encourage sales and engage customers, as well as potential customers.

 

 

 

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Text Preferred For Customer Service Issues?

 

It’s no surprise that businesses need several methods for interacting with customers, especially when it comes to addressing customer service needs and issues. Social media is the newest channel for customer service, alongside the more traditional contact points including phone, email, and live chat.

 

Is text becoming the next “big” channel for customer service issues? According to a recent study by Heywire, it might be. The study revealed that 52% of respondents stated that they would prefer to text with customer service reps to resolve issues and get assistance, while 75% of respondents said they would prefer text over social media when it comes to talking with customer service reps.

 

It’s no surprise that online channels have taken over preference compared to telephone conversations; however, texting seems to be something that may not be the best route for addressing customer service needs.

 

Personally, in thinking about preferences when I need to contact a company, it depends on who I’m calling and what the purpose is. If it’s a quick inquiry, and I can wait, email will do. If it’s more urgent, my first line of conversation (if available) would be live chat. Phone calls are not as desired, but it has to do more with the fact that 1) the hold times can be excessive at times, and 2) with companies trying to upsell at every turn, I don’t want the hassle of resolving my issues and then being upsold. There is nothing more frustrating than having an issue and a representative is trying to sell me on a newer product or service when I am already having issues with the current one.

 

In general, though, I think customer service issues can be easily resolved through quicker channels, such as chat or email. Texting can be another avenue, though in thinking about it, it seems like it would be “clunky” or difficult to manage, integrate into CRM, or keep track as the issues come into representatives.

 

The study is interesting in that it sheds light on the importance of offering a variety of channels for customers to communicate. Will text be the next big thing? Right now I’d say likely not, though the respondents in this study may change that line of thinking as text becomes a more integrated option for consumers.

 

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