Dec 04, 2023
Explore the often-overlooked realm of customer support and the impact of sidelining customer support on the $816 billion returns crisis. Discover how brands can transform customer interactions into opportunities for revenue growth by leveraging product experiences, reducing returns, and integrating support teams seamlessly into the omnichannel experience.
Customer support is often a neglected and overlooked aspect of the customer journey. To many business leaders, it’s considered an expensive cost center and a necessary evil, one that’s also closely linked to the $816 billion returns crisis plaguing retailers in the post-covid world.
On a personal level, we all hate interacting with support teams. No one wants to run the gauntlet of chatbots, robot answering machines, legal disclosures, and overwhelmed customer support representatives to get the resolution we need. So, it’s no surprise that many brands sideline customer support and treat it as an afterthought in the customer journey.
Let’s take a look at why this is the wrong approach, and how brands can use Product Experiences to help resolve their service woes.
First, it’s critical to understand the importance of post-sales support on the customer journey and your bottom line. Reducing or resolving support issues and having a positive interaction with a business all help drive brand loyalty.
We all have those few special brands we’ve done business with for years, not because of their pricing or marketing, but because we know they’ll quickly help us resolve our challenges. Every brand should strive to create this type of brand loyalty because the payoff is rich. Selling to an existing customer is much cheaper than acquiring a new one.
So, how do we create this brand loyalty with customer support? Let’s take a look.
Many of the most frustrating and harmful Customer Support interactions can be eliminated altogether by eliminating returns. Enhancing product information on a retailer’s website can significantly reduce the return rate and alleviate the burden on customer support teams tasked with processing returns.
By providing comprehensive and accurate product descriptions, clear images, and instructional content, retailers empower customers to make well-informed purchasing decisions, minimizing the likelihood of receiving products that do not meet their expectations. This transparency not only reduces return requests but also enhances customer satisfaction, fostering loyalty and trust in the retailer’s brand.
A well-informed customer base leads to cost savings and allows customer support teams to focus on more complex or potentially profitable issues, ultimately improving overall operational efficiency.
Discover how ASSA ABLOY reduced Customer Support calls by 20% with Akeneo technology.
Omnichannel doesn’t mean just your eCommerce channels, it means providing the same high quality experience across every customer touchpoint. Brands sometimes make the mistake of treating their CRM platforms and customer support efforts as a closed loop that’s completely segregated from the rest of the buying ecosystem. After investing so much time and money in experiences during the discovery and buying phase, why start from scratch when it’s time to handle service calls?
Look at integrating your CRM platform with product data and assets to equip your support functions with all the information about the products you sell. Building this single source of truth enables efficient issue resolution and responsive support, reducing disruptions in the buyer journey and enhancing satisfaction and retention.
Brands should start looking at Customer Support interactions as a new line of revenue instead of a cost center. Every Customer Support interaction provides an opportunity to sell new products or services to existing customers.
During support conversations, customer service representatives can identify additional needs, complementary products, and warranty options, offering a seamless avenue for cross-selling and upselling. Only by understanding the customer’s specific requirements can support teams recommend relevant upgrades or complementary items.
“Retailers that ensure their agents can answer customer questions could see a $1.1 billion increase in incremental sales.” –The Three Customer Service Megatrends In 2023, Forrester
To maximize your support team’s ability to cross-sell, it’s critical you provide them with a deep understanding of the products you’re selling, from technical specs, to sustainability information, and compatibility.
How can a service representative sell a new switch for a customer’s existing generator if they don’t know if it’s compatible? Or help a customer pick out a new band for their watch if they don’t know the style guide?
As the Covid boom subsides and new customers become increasingly expensive to acquire, brands can find an untapped goldmine of potential in customer support. By investing in the customer support journey, businesses can not only reduce expensive returns, but also enhance brand loyalty and drive new revenue growth.
However, this outcome hinges on a robust foundation of compelling product information. The ability to enlighten both customers and support teams about the characteristics, capabilities, and compatibility of products is critical.
To achieve this, brands must provide the same compelling product experiences across their entire customer journey, from discovery, purchase, and post sales support.
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