Compliant-BlockThere are companies out there that are known to be customer service darlings. However, as hard as some organizations try to provide a positive customer experience all the time, a customer service issue is bound to pop up. With the holiday season underway, retailers need to know how they will provide a delightful customer experience across multiple channels as well as have the resources to create positive resolutions for customers. After all, customers will give points to the brand that effectively manages through their issue and even strengthen their loyalty to that brand because of it.

One of the biggest challenges retailers will face this holiday season will be to deliver a consistent customer experience across multiple channels including phone, text, email, online chat and social media that they do throughout the rest of the year. For example, in a recent customer service survey, we found that 51% of the respondents named landline telephone customer support as the most preferred customer service channel five years ago, but today, 34% called out email as their top resource, followed by landline telephone (19%) and mobile devices (16%).

Although these results reveal some customer service channels are experiencing growth, one of the biggest takeaways we found is that there is no silver bullet customer service channel, even for retailers. If anything, this customer service data is a good indication that we are officially in a multichannel world. Keeping this in mind, retailers will need to make sure they are equipped to not only create a positive complaining experience, but also ensure a positive customer experience across the channels that mean the most to their customers. For example, a complaint may come in via social and get resolved over the phone.

Below are a few ideas on how retailers can best resolve customers’ issues and ensure a solid experience:

  • Timeliness wins every time – Invest in your top channels customers usually use to interact and deploy the staff and resources needed to ensure any inbound customer communication is handled immediately.
  • Self-service tools are critical – Our recent customer service survey found 63% of customers turn to a company website as their first channel of choice to resolve an issue. You can provide an easily accessible set of FAQ’s or a summary of all the ways customers can quickly get in touch with you to help speed up the resolution lifecycle and improve the customers’ experience.
  • Smart automation – Similar to providing a list of FAQ’s online, anticipating the top issues that your customers usually connect with you about can help build the automated resources that can solve problems quickly, easily and effectively.
  • Offer mobile customer support – Whether it’s a mobile app or a mobile website, having a mobile presence gives your customers the convenience of easily connecting and communicating with you anywhere and at anytime.
  • Follow-up – Customers need to know that they have been heard. What better way to ensure this than by deploying personalized outbound communications to follow-up with customers after an issue or complaint. This will improve the customers’ experience and strengthen customer loyalty.

Bottom line: In order to build a memorable customer experience, businesses need to create a system where they are not only monitoring and listening to all customer service channels, but are also taking immediate action. Customer service inaction can quickly be interpreted as not caring about the customers’ needs, which can ultimately lead to a lost customer and deteriorate a brand. If a customer sees a retailer quickly and efficiently handling their complaint or fix their issue, they are more likely to build trust with the organization and become a returning customer.

What else do you think retailers and other organizations can be doing to set up a memorable complaining experience? We’re interested to hear your thoughts!

Read how to gain, retain, reward, and satisfy customers in our new tip sheet, Turn on Great Customer Experiences in Retail.