If you’re a retailer, then we’re sure you’re aware of—perhaps even worried about—the competitiveness of ecommerce and in-store shopping. Between rising consumer expectations, price wars and direct-to-consumer brands, grabbing shoppers’ attention–and more importantly, their business–is a challenge without the right customer care ideas.
When shoppers feel heard and valued by a company, they’re more likely to keep supporting their products and services. Conversely, failing to adequately care for them leads to customers jumping ship.
Research from NewVoiceMedia found that feeling unappreciated is the top reason why consumers switch brands. Clearly, showing customers how much you value them isn’t just a nice or decent thing to do–it’s a profitable business practice.
To help you implement a winning strategy, we’ve put together eight customer care ideas to surprise and delight your shoppers:
1. Have Customer Care Ideas for All Channels
A key component of any successful customer care strategy is being there for shoppers on multiple channels and devices. People have different preferences when it comes to where and how to communicate with brands.
Some opt for picking up the phone, while others would rather send an email or instant message on social media. Make sure you cover your bases. But also be aware of the different channels that your buyers like using and establish a customer care presence on all the important channels.
One brand that’s doing this well is Target. The retailer has an organized help center to quickly route shoppers to the right department.
In addition to that, Target is also active on all major social networks. Its team takes the time to respond to individual customer comments on Facebook.
But the retailer doesn’t stop there. Target’s customer care spreads across other social networks too. They’re happy to answer questions and provide thorough feedback on channels like Instagram.
They even use their own Target Twitter account dedicated to customer care to respond to mentions. Target even goes as fr to provide support in the user’s own language.
That’s just one area the major retailer uses customer care to build better relationships.
2. Personalize Your Customer Interactions
The idea of personalization marketing isn’t new. We know you’ve likely read “personalization tips” countless times before, but hear us out.
Personalization—at least in the context of customer care ideas—isn’t just putting someone’s name in an email or making tailored recommendations.
Instead, personalization is about connecting with customers on a personal level and making each shopper feel like you know them and understand what they love. The idea is to make shoppers feel unique and significant.
Consumers are bombarded with so-called personalized messages every day. If you search for your name in your email, we’d bet you’d find several marketing messages from brands calling you out by name.
See what we mean?
Today, personalization requires more than customized subject lines. Get in tune with the relationship that each shopper has with your brand and deliver your messages in a way that stands out.
One effective tactic is to send out handwritten cards. These notes feel a lot more personal because your customers know that an actual person wrote them.
Here’s an example of a personalized note from Chanel, which was written by Courtney, an associate who helped lead they way through the customer journey. Courtney not only said “thank you for your purchase”, but she also referenced specific details from the visit, making the gesture feel even more personal.
Another brand that successfully pulls this off is Hockerty, an online menswear retailer. Hockerty Marketing Communications Specialist Salva Jovells explained that last Christmas, the company ran a customer care campaign for its top shoppers that involved handwritten notes.
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Sometimes life just loves to intervene. I was schedule for a company dinner tonight, but the fever continues to plague me. Hope you enjoy the outfit! . . Jacket: @hockerty.men Cardigan: St John’s Bay Shirt: @charlestyrwhitt Trousers: @luckybrand Shoes: @beckettsimonon Socks: @stcroix_collections . #businesscasual #smartcasual #denim #jeans #brogues #cardigan #overcheck #hockerty
“We decided that our top 300 customers, in terms of lifetime value, deserved a better Christmas postcard,” said Jovells. “So we decided to handwrite a personal card in their own language and even [checked] their latest purchases so we could personalize it even more.”
The company added a promotional code for a free dress shirt to drive home their loyal customer appreciation. The pen to paper approach is a customer care idea you can easily pull off.
3. Be Proactive With Updates & Notifications
Most ecommerce stores are quite diligent—persistent, even —when they’re trying to win a sale. Brands send out marketing emails several times a week with the goal of getting customers to make a purchase.
There’s nothing wrong with doing this.
In fact, you should be sending messages regularly to stay top of mind and generate sales. Just remember to exhibit that same level of diligence when handling customer concerns.
The best way to show shoppers that you care is to communicate with them when they need you the most, and not just when you’re selling to them. This means staying on top of communications around purchases, fulfillment and customer service.
Be proactive with updating customers on the things they care about—such as their order or ticket status. Demonstrating initiative when communicating with shoppers (instead of waiting for them to ask for an update) shows you care about the post-purchase experience.
In turn, this builds trust and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases. Sephora also does this well by sending automatic updates when shoppers place an order or make a return.
Like most retailers, Sephora sends a notification email when an order has been shipped. But unlike most brands, it also sends a heads up when an order is arriving soon, and then it sends an additional email when the package has arrived.
It doesn’t stop there. If you decide to return an item, Sephora sends an email notifying you that your return package was received.
Don’t let shoppers guess on the status of their orders and returns and provide peace of mind.
4. Celebrate Your Customers
While most of your customer care ideas will likely take place behind the scenes (e.g., over the phone or via email), there are public things to do to show shoppers love. One way to do this is to put the spotlight on some of your best patrons on your website or on social media.
The apparel retailer Reformation, for instance, regularly features its customers in its Instagram Stories. This is one of the best benefits of Instagram because it specifically highlights your customers.
You can also implement this on a larger scale by running a customer appreciation campaign. Check out what Birchbox is doing.
Every year, the company celebrates its very own Customer Appreciation Day (CAD), and makes it a point to do something big for its customers.
Whether it’s running a giveaway or creating a video dedicated to its customers, Birchbox continuously finds ways to make its members feel valued.
5. Look Back at Your Time Together
Put your customer data to good use by compiling a customized roundup of the key milestones they’ve had with your brand. Many retailers, for example, are sending out “year in review” emails that allow customers to review their previous purchases or interactions with the company.
People appreciate the opportunity to look back at their past activities, so you’re bound to generate engagement with these campaigns. And who knows? You might even encourage people to make a purchase.
By the way, you don’t necessarily have to wait until the end of the year, to send “in review” messages. As an example, check out this “Rapid Rewards Report” from Southwest Airlines which was sent in mid-2018.
6. Be Flexible
While it’s important to have customer policies and guidelines, recognize that every shopper is different. You simple can’t fit everyone into a one-size-fits-all process.
Be flexible with your customer care ideas and empower your employees to use their judgment when interacting with shoppers and handling issues.
Nordstrom, a retailer famous for its stellar customer service, thrives among retailers who are finding challenges to connect in 2019. A big part of that can be attributed to its customer care policies.
Instead of enforcing rigid rules, Nordstrom empowers its employees to use their judgment when faced with customer concerns. Nordstrom also has flexible practices, particularly when it comes to the way it deals with returns and exchanges.
Of course, having ultra-flexible policies like Nordstrom’s may not be the right move for your business. But it’s worth re-evaluating your customer care procedures to see if you can introduce a bit of wiggle room.
Could you be a bit more lenient to your VIP customers? Is there anything more you could do to make shoppers feel special and cared for? The answers to these may shed light into how you can improve your customer care ideas.
7. Run Educational Initiatives
Another great way to show people that you care? Teach them something new.
Sephora holds free in-store classes on a variety of makeup and skin care topics. The classes are high-touch and students can have some one-on-one time with the instructors.
And while participants are invited to purchase the products they used in class, there’s absolutely no pressure to buy. If you’re an online-only retailer, you could still help your customers wise-up on new knowledge and skills through educational content.
Dollar Shave Club, for instance, regularly sends informative and educational content on personal hygiene and grooming.
8. Pay Extra Attention to Your VIPs
While you should certainly care for all your customers, it’s a good idea to extend additional perks to your regular shoppers and VIPs.
Cook up ways to make these patrons feel extra special. Doing so not only helps you cultivate stronger customer relationships, but it also encourages repeat visits and purchases.
Consider The Nordy Club, Nordstrom’s loyalty program. In addition to earning points that they can redeem for future purchases, members of the program also enjoy exclusive perks.
The company promotes incentives such as early access to sales, member-only events and free basic alterations.
Don’t Leave Out The In-Store Experience
Another way to pay attention to your best shoppers is to ask them for customer experience feedback for the in-store experience as well. How were they greeted? Was the product they were looking for in stock? Was the store clean and organized to easily find items?
These are just some of the questions you could get from mystery shoppers. But instead of paying exorbitant prices for this feedback, rely on preferred shoppers who frequently buy from you.
With the help of Journey IQ, retailers uncover valuable insights by sending shoppers on fun and engaging missions. And for their trouble, you provide participants with a discount on a future purchase and make the customer feel appreciated and special for their work.
Want to see a demo of Journey IQ? Contact our team today!
Is Your Customer Care Strategy Competitive Enough?
True customer care isn’t just about providing customer service. It’s about delighting patrons at every touchpoint.
Whether it’s through social media content, loyalty marketing, or post-purchase follow-ups, you need to actively show your shoppers how much you value them.
Hopefully, this post gives you more than enough ideas on how you can do just that.