Digital marketing may usually begin with catching someone’s attention online, but if you’re worth your salt you won’t let it end there. Providing exceptional customer service has been the pillar of the luxury industry for as long as it has existed, but it is easy to forget that when someone is browsing your site or enquiring online about services, they are just as real as any customer browsing your store. So, in our increasingly digital world, how are companies ensuring that their brands’ online customer service lives up to their in-person offering?
Below, we explore the ways that savvy brands are translating four pillars of great customer service to their digital experience.
Make your online customer service as good as your in-person experience
Take the time to listen to your customer
Many companies make the mistake of treating their websites like a one-way street of communication. In a boutique or showroom you’d never dream of leaving a customer to browse completely unaided, and yet we have no problem letting this happen online. Chat assistants can provide this invaluable bridge of communication to allow you to speak – and most importantly listen – to your customer.
When you think of a chat assistant, it’s easy to race to ideas of ‘chatbots’ – spamming you with automated messages immediately after landing on a site. A lot of us still have this bias ingrained in us, but the reality is that chat assistants used correctly can be a powerful way of connecting with customers online – especially those who are ‘just browsing’. By providing this low-commitment contact option, timed appropriately of course, you can capture prospective clients with a friendly ‘Hello there!’ or ‘Good evening, how may I be of service?’ much earlier in the sales funnel.
Chat support doesn’t just serve to help your prospective customer – it can also be a great learning tool. For example, if your business is a private jet service and people are always asking if you can provide flights to London (UK), maybe this is a gap that needs filling in your site’s content (or your offering!).
Top tip: Time your chat support pop-up appropriately, use natural and friendly language and make sure it’s easy for customers to close it if they don’t wish to engage.
Ensure your customer feels valued
Many people wrongly assume that digital service can only be impersonal, but in reality the limiting factor is often an unwillingness to use the tools available to us to provide the luxury customer service experience that makes a client feel valued. People love people, and people love companies that do everything they can to connect them with people. There are so many little ways that brands can provide a more personal experience to their customers digitally, and at the core of it is personal, human service.
One of the best ways to achieve this is with the magic of video – whether video service takes the form of tech support, a digital style consultation, or a personal virtual tour, providing a live or pre-recorded video addressing your customer by name, showing your face or voice with a screen recording and providing personalised service is something all of us are capable of – and yet very few companies actually do.
Beauty brands have been leading the charge with this, with luxury skincare beauticians such as Joanna Czech offering virtual FaceTime consultations in which the customer’s skin goals are discussed and the condition of their skin is analysed on camera. After Czech’s appointments, the customer is given a customised at-home skincare routine, and they can redeem half of their consultation fee as credit to shop for products on Czech’s website, further encouraging brand loyalty.
Top tip: If possible, offer your client options for their service. Do they find pre-recorded videos or voice notes easier than a live session? Are they more likely to respond to a Whatsapp than an email? Pay attention to what they like and try to contact them in the most convenient way possible.
Anticipate your customer’s needs
Great service doesn’t only exist for new customers – it’s an essential part of the ongoing relationship you have with loyal patrons. To that effect, it’s important to continue to anticipate your client’s needs and how you can improve their online customer service experience – or else risk losing them to the competition.
To help improve the digital experience of their interest-rich but time- and attention-short readers, many publishers have now elected to produce audio recordings of their content. This canny move not only appeals to people who enjoy listening on the go or during their morning run – but with so many parties clamouring for our attention, both online and in person, it actually monopolises a sense (our hearing) that’s far less in demand for attention in today’s digital world. While we may think of audio content as a choice for now, the steady growth in popularity of voice assistants may see audio once again become a mainstay of your marketing arsenal.
This simple but effective move has helped publishers to increase their exposure to existing customers, while also improving the client experience by anticipating a demand for easier ways to consume their content. A win win!
Top tip: Think like your own competition – always look for ways you can improve on your own service to ensure no one else can beat it.
Exceed your customer’s expectations
Taking ‘anticipating needs’ a step further, exceeding a client’s expectations – whether new or old – is how brand fans become devoted, loyal customers. Exceeding expectations isn’t a cynical decision to ‘wow’ your customer – it’s a decision to demonstrate your values through the way you do business.
For example, why bother with the time-consuming and costly process of creating an immersive VR experience of a car when you could just show some beauty shots? Because you understand the difference it would make to a prospective client to have that luxury customer service experience. And, when you demonstrate that understanding to your customer, they can be reassured that you care as much about the end product, and their overall experience, as they do.
Top tip: Go the extra mile in your customer’s digital experience in ways that will be meaningful to them, helping to make their decision-making process a more confident one.
Whether it’s a business transaction or a sentimental purchase, we all feel in much safer hands with brands which sincerely demonstrate that they have our best interests at heart. Providing exceptional online customer service and experiences can help you find, win and keep clients, and no matter what your company’s size there are likely untapped ways you could be better exercising your brand values online. For more innovative insights into the ways you could accelerate your luxury brand, read more of our blog or get in touch.