The first thing to do is set my stall out. This isn’t a post attacking Regus, providers of business and meeting space, rather one intending to point out something that lots of its customers are surely struggling with.
Being constructively critical, I have found Regus’ finance department and its CRM systems to sometimes work in opposition with Regus’ commitment to good service.
At times I have torn my hair out wondering how Regus can provide me with an inconsistent customer experience, something that feels so different depending on who I’m talking to. I’ve often felt like account representatives haven’t any idea of who I am or of my value, both past and present.
I’ve had brilliant account managers and the service on the day is always top notch, but where the service sometimes comes up short is in the aftercare. In the current climate of customer revolution, with companies better informed and less willing to spend, customer experience is key.
The latest trends in digital are all about trying to improve the customer experience, and accurate and timely comms over the customer lifecycle is as important as it gets in B2B.
So, in this post I’ll detail some of my problems and discuss them in the context of organisational change and joining up data. Maybe we’ll find a way out of these Kafkaesque corridors where I repeatedly plead with some strange new arbiter, asking them to just look a little bit harder for my records.
At the beginning of February, I read a great piece in Econsultancy called “Why do online retailers need live chat?” Live chat, combining the ease of e-mails with the immediacy of the phone, is an excellent way of communicating with customers, explained the article.
This is undoubtable. According to BoldChat, 31% of customers in the UK and US say they would be more likely to purchase after a live chat.
Also, a customer service benchmark conducted at eDigital, rated live chat as the best customer service channel at 73% (e-mail was rated at 61% while phone was at the bottom with 44%).
However, I think that just having a constant link to a live chat tool is actually not enough. You need to take it one step further. Optimization, in this, is key.
It’s not just the moment of purchase that matters. To successfully build customer loyalty requires fresh marketing strategies at every phase of the purchase cycle: before, during, and after.
Before deciding to spend their hard-earned money with your brand, consumers receive countless messages that detail product announcements and ways to save money. To break through this noise, a streamlined and efficient engagement strategy is critical.
At the time of purchase, on the other hand, with consumers facing options from dozens of competitors, brands must change the shopping game to aid consumers in making an educated buying decision.
Finally, after a purchase is made, your brand has a choice of either allowing the customer to walk away in anonymity or continue the conversation by creating an identified and meaningful ongoing relationship.
Good customer services matters. A lot. And here's why.
I'm not a huge fan of 'outing' brands across such a well-read blog as Econsultancy’s.
However, I’ve been so utterly disheartened by my experience with Mango in recent weeks that I felt compelled to publicise it in the hope it might spring them into action (and educate other retailers on the mistakes to avoid).
Just 14% of UK online retailers offer live chat as a customer service channel.
In a recent survey by idealo, only a small number of UK retailers offered live chat as a customer service channel, and in the rest of Europe, an average of 18% of retailers offered access to live chat.
Live chat is the online support service that provides instant help for consumers who are seeking immediate help from a customer service assistant in real time. It normally appears on ecommerce sites or service providers in the form of a little text box that says “how can I help you?”
As you would expect, the most popular method of contact from the survey is by writing, with an average of 91% of all online shops offering contact via email or contact form. Although I’m surprised this figure isn’t even higher.
Perhaps this is down to many European retailers preferring customers to pick up the phone. Italy for example goes heavily against the email trend, with 98% of their online retailers offering phone contact, but only 56% offering email contact.
This leaves live chat somewhat in the doldrums.
Ordering online from Dr Martens is enjoyable. There are lots of shoes and boots that I want in my life, such as the Pendleton pictured here.
But Dr Martens doesn’t accept in-store returns.
This is something that, with the advent of multichannel retail, consumers have come to expect. I wonder how this is affecting buyers and business?
You know the feeling. The feeling you get when you go to your favourite local business where they welcome you with open arms and a smile on their face.
They know you. They know who you are, listen to what you want and are flexible and helpful enough to give you a great service and a great experience by treating you as an individual.
Increasingly, this is what people expect from big companies too. Customers want big brands to recognise them. They don’t want to have to tell them twice who they are and provide information that they should already know.
The average man finds buying jewellery daunting. I am an average man.
By the way, this article is subtitled my ‘my poor customer experience’ or ‘less than luxury email’ or perhaps ‘why aren’t luxury retailers all over this stuff?’
I was trying to buy some jewellery for my girlfriend and because I was nervous about it, I first contacted Tiffany by email.
The reason I did this was also because the ring was out of stock on their website in the size I was after.
This started a chain of annoyances that I thought I should share, and other sites can learn from.
The customer service industry was created by mistake.
It’s been effectively outsourced by many companies (intent only on cost containment) for the past decades, and since the advent of the consumer internet has often been woefully ill-suited to meeting customer needs.
In the recent past we’ve heard plenty about the importance of 'creating a consistent customer experience across multiple channels'.
While that phrase is horrendously buzz-wordy, it’s still undeniably important.
Multiscreen, multi-device customers check and compare prices in store, buy online and talk about their purchases via social media, so making sure each touchpoint effectively serves the user is essential.
But... what happens if a customer only wants to use one channel?