For decades, in-store customer experience has been a cornerstone of the competitive battlefield for brands. Creating a successful customer experience instore relies on tangible assets like product displays and brand representatives to ensure that customers are well served with a personalized shopping experience.
Now, the disruption of the global pandemic has changed the landscape for many companies. With in-store shopping sidelined for the time being, there is a new urgency to crack the e-commerce customer experience code.
A new battleground has emerged: a digital one where more than ever, customer service and responsiveness online are key elements to successful customer experience.
Consumers want to be comfortable with the purchases they make, and that’s not as easy online as it is in a brick-and-mortar store. In a physical store, they can touch a product, ask for help, and easily return the product if it doesn’t meet their expectations. But online, understanding a product and returning it if needed can be difficult.
That’s why consumers increasingly turn to brand reviews as their main source of validation when shopping online. Reviews speak to a brand’s trustworthiness and reliability in the absence of first-hand experience.
High quality customer support is imperative for the same reason. Companies can’t waste any opportunity to cultivate positive responses and strengthen their reputation.
One way for brands to build trust online is by monitoring and responding to customer questions and reviews quickly. This reinforces a brand’s commitment to customer service and reassures consumers. For customers, there’s no better feeling than getting an instant and helpful response. It’s validation that their time is respected, and their business valued.
With the right tools in place – like live chats or chatbots to instantly engage with customers, or feedback analysis platforms to ensure a high level of responsiveness – brands can make purchase decisions easier and address customer concerns before they fester and damage trust that’s difficult to build, but so easy to break. The result is a virtuous cycle of positive interactions that foster trust and ultimately generate sales.
In many ways, the pandemic has leveled the playing field for brands online because established players have lost the advantage of the in-store customer experience. Brands that embrace new technology to enforce trust and responsiveness in their customer support will emerge as the new leaders once the worst of COVID-19 is behind us.