Anybody in the business can see it. Sales is changing, making it critically important for merchants to deliver immediately on customer demands. That includes giving customers confidence that they’re safe from fraud, while protecting themselves from chargebacks.
For many merchants, the accommodation of an omnichannel shopping experience promised to create an ideal sales model for everyone involved in a transaction. In reality, this opportunity brought new challenges.
The inherent customer freedom that comes with true omnichannel shopping places new pressures on merchants to deliver exceptional service. Today’s consumer expects merchants to offer readily convenient transactions, enabling them to make frictionless purchases in the blink of an eye. They expect the same level of speed and excellence in customer support. All too often merchants overlook this important factor, and dedicate their resources to their website, mobile app, social media presence and marketing programs.
This leaves them vulnerable to glitches in the customer experience, particularly when an issue arises. Remember that social media, review sites, and word-of-mouth can be far more powerful than any advertising campaign.
When designing and planning their customers’ omnichannel experience, merchants must devote time and energy to customer service excellence and especially customer communication.
Defining the Optimal Customer Experience
The customer experience directly influences their opinion of the merchant and company. It is this perception that directly impacts repeat purchase decisions and brand loyalty.
Most merchants understand that a positive customer experience has more benefits than simply applying the minimum effort to retain customers. It’s also a merchant’s first line of defense against friendly fraud and chargebacks. A disgruntled customer is more likely than a satisfied one to dispute a charge, rather than seek clarification directly from the merchant.
To optimize the value of the omnichannel marketplace, merchants must ensure their customer experience is their differentiator.
- Deliver on mobile. The mobile experience must be simple, fast, and optimized. Integrating an SMS or chat button gives customers the opportunity to have questions answered quickly, preventing cart abandonment.
- Be social. Merchants on social media must remember that this medium serves as a two-way conversation. Respond to customer questions and complaints quickly with a dedicated social media customer experience team.
- Self-help. Many customers don’t want to reach out. They expect the Help/FAQ section to be comprehensive. Don’t skimp on the quality of the information you feature in this section.
- Live chat. When your live chat box is open, always have a knowledgeable team member available to respond to customer questions.
- Email matters. Customers expect timely responses to their email queries, so don’t ignore these emails. An unanswered email can quickly translate into a chargeback.
Putting the Customer in ‘Customer Experience’
A superior customer experience must be the new focus for all merchants, omnichannel or not. Omni-Channel Customer Care: Best-In-Class Steps to Success, an Aberdeen Group Study, reports the correlation between the customer experience and customer retention. Companies that consistently deliver an excellent customer experience across the omnichannel retain 89% of their customers. Those that do not only retain 33% of customers.
What does this mean for the merchant? It requires that you are connected, engaged, and invested in all aspects of your omnichannel initiative. Understanding what is required to deliver a positive customer experience in every channel is the key to success.
Avoid unnecessary transaction disputes, customer complaints, and social media backlash by mastering omnichannel marketing.