Archive for August 8, 2014

Case Study: Small Changes Improve Customer Service

 

With companies now offering a multitude of services, including online and mobile products and services, they are finding that 24/7 customer service is needed to be able to help customers when and where they need it.

 

I came across a case study that revealed how one company responded to this customer need and reduced customer service inquiries by half. The company that was featured is Tagged.com – it is a social site for users to meet and interact with other people. From their website:

 

Tagged makes social discovery products that enable anyone to meet and socialize with new people. Our mission is to help everyone feel love and belonging, and we’re building toward a vision where anyone can use a device to instantly connect with interesting new people anytime, anywhere.

Founded in 2004 and profitable since 2008, Tagged is a market leader in social discovery with over 300 million registered members in 220 countries who make over 100 million new social connections every month. Tagged is based in San Francisco.

 

Because this is a site used at all times of the day and night, the company needed to make sure that customer assistance was available when customers most need it, whenever that may be. As the company grew, they also realized they needed to be more efficient in the way they provided customer assistance.

The company had a self-service help center, with frequently asked questions and information that could help customers with basic information. They also had a support ticket process in place. While this was a good start, the company realized that they needed more in order to maintain strong service levels.

To this end, they implemented a few new procedures to help customers get the help they need:

1. An enhanced self-service portal, with integration of advanced search features that will make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. The search features are front and center on the site so it’s easy to find and use.

2. Tagged provided a self-guided tour of the site, how to use it, and how to find the information they need. This would give customers the opportunity to learn how to use the site more efficiently and have many of their questions answered without requiring help from the company.

3. Customers with a premium subscription have chat functionality so they can get their questions answered while they are on the site. This is in addition to their email support tickets, and is only available to those premium members.

While these changes are relatively minor, and did not require a significant addition of staff or spending, the company saw great results in a short period of time. Over a four month period, the company reduced its service tickets from 42,000 service tickets per month to just 20,000 service tickets per month.

It looks like the changes helped significantly. Implementing self-help features and content for customers to get the help they need without contacting customer service can be fairly easy.

1. Start by collecting data related to current inquiries: what are the most common inquiries customers have? Pinpoint the most frequently asked questions and create a self-help page on your website. Make sure it is prominent and easily navigated, as Tagged.com did. Review this information on a regular basis to make sure the content is fresh, relevant, and updated when changes are made to your site.

2. Collect data on the ease of use of your site: ask your customers to provide feedback on your site. How do they use it, what do they like best, what is difficult for them to do while on your site? Take it one step further and employ a mystery shopping company to gather some objective data – shoppers pose as your customers and engage with your site just as your customers do, and provide information on ease of use, functionality, response time to inquiries, etc. Take this information and make changes to create a more user friendly experience.

3. Incorporate “pop up” feedback surveys for new visitors: There are some methods where companies can identify new website users and ask them for feedback. This can be particularly useful in learning why new customers may not use the site, if they were having difficulty, etc. Similarly, identify people who may have registered for your site, but rarely use it. Find out why this may be. It could simply be a case of a user registering for a site that they are no longer interested in using, but you may uncover reasons why people start to use your site and fall off – sometimes people will just stop using a service instead of asking for help when they reach a stumbling block.

The case study revealed how simple changes can make a big impact, and it highlighted some good takeaways for others to learn from.

 

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Walmart Takes E-Receipts to a New Level

E-receipts are becoming widely offered – we’re seeing more and more retailers make use of digital receipts. For someone like myself, who tends to lose receipts from time to time, this is pretty useful.

 

Walmart has recently started offering the same, though it was something I found on my own. Once I tried it out, I learned that it is more than what others seem to be offering at this point.

 

One nice feature is that they are going to start allowing returns with e-receipts. Lists can be created from these receipts as well, which is useful if you tend to do regular shopping there and typically purchase the same items.

 

However, I didn’t realize another benefit of uploading receipts.

 

I noticed the receipt changed on a recent shopping visit, and it introduced the concept of e-receipts. I learned that I could download the app and scan the QR code on my receipt, which would store the receipt for me. I was curious, so I checked it out.

 

The first thing I came across on the first page of the app was a Savings Catcher. It instructed me to scan the QR code and register my receipt. From there, it would review my purchased items and determine if there is a lower price out there somewhere. If there is, they will refund the difference to me in the form of a Walmart Rewards egift card.  I learned that the process takes up to three days, so as of now, I have not found out if there was anything with a better price. I will update this post as soon as I get notification.

 

While I registered the app with my online Walmart account information, I do not see anything related to the e-receipts online. It would be nice if this information was accessible here as well. After doing some digging, I found that you can also enter receipts and manage your Savings Catcher/e-receipts online on a separate area in Walmart’s website. On the app, it indicates that this program is only currently available for iPhone users. Android is coming soon. This is something that they will need to streamline so that users can access their information on their phone and on the website, without needing to go to a different website for the Savings Checker.

 

Looking further into this, I found more information on what this program entails. From reading the FAQ’s, it seems that not all stores include this program and not all items are part of this program. From the site, here is a list of what items are included in the Savings Catcher Program:

 

Savings Catcher applies to many items sold at Walmart stores. This includes:

  • Most groceries such as cereal, rice and most fruits and vegetables except for: store brand items, deli, bakery and weighed items like meat.
  • Consumable items such as paper towels, bleach and trash bags.
  • Health and beauty items such as shampoo and makeup.
  • Select general merchandise items.

And here are the items that are not included:

Savings Catcher does not currently apply to:

  • Store brands, deli, bakery and weighed items like meat.
  • General merchandise items, (including, but not limited to, electronics, media and gaming, toys, sporting goods, housewares, small appliances, home décor, bedding, books and magazines, apparel and shoes, jewelry, furniture, office supplies and seasonal products).
  • Non-branded items.
  • Tobacco, firearms, gasoline, tires, prescription drugs, optical and photo products and services, or products that require a service agreement such as wireless, automotive or financial products.

Walmart is doing their best to stay true to their claim of offering the lowest prices. By saying above that the list of items are not “currently” included in the Savings Catcher program, it makes me wonder if they will change up the program once it starts gaining traction.

 

It’ll be interesting to see if there are any lower prices found, and how the program progresses as I continue to upload receipts. If it works in finding lower prices, at least on a sporadic basis, I believe it will encourage customers to continue to use the program in hopes of building up some extra money.

 

Have you heard of this new program? I thought I was one to keep up with the latest trends, but found this one completely randomly. I was also surprised that this new feature wasn’t pointed out to me at the time I made my purchase.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this new program – if you were aware of it, if you’ve used it, and how you see this changing mobile apps in retail. Share your comments below!

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