Posted at 10:48h
by Kate Enright
We now live in a world where every euro is appreciated and the throw-away attitude of the past is gone, the same can be said about brands consumers. Customer service expectations have been increasing consistently over the last four years, with 44% of consumers saying their expectations are higher than the previous year, compared to only 31%in 2008 [Forbes]. And, for the most part, retailers are stepping up and meeting the customer service challenge. Stories, for instance, of follow up, hand-written notes from retailers and complimentary bottles of wine sent to rooms from hotel management are now commonplace. Service providers are realising that we are living in an extremely competitive world and it is truly dog-eat-dog when it comes to getting new business and retaining old.
The last thing however, that retailers/service providers should believe is that only the cheapest offerings will survive. Although, as I said, consumers do appreciate and value every cent much more so than before, that does not necessarily mean that they will always opt for the cheapest. What they will opt for, more often than not, is the best quality, the best level of service or a provider they feel connected with, simply because they want to know that they are spending their money in the best possible way with the best people.
So how do we turn good customer service into customer loyalty? Firstly, you have to get to know your customer and secondly you have to take this knowledge and use to it understand what they really want and need. If you can market to that need directly and personally, tapping emotions and treating customers as individuals, you will reap the rewards. This goes beyond the generic “How was our service today?” form, email or text. After all, it has been proven that 85% of loyalty program members never hear from their loyalty programs after the day they sign up. So the generic loyalty programs in place from retailers clearly aren’t cutting it. Companies such as Swipely are thinking creatively by trimming back on loyalty cards and vouchers and using customers’ existing credit cards as vehicles to improving loyalty through clever marketing and deal offerings on behalf of merchants.