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Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
Creating brand loyalty with your online customers
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Creating brand loyalty with your online customers

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Today’s retail environment is undergoing dramatic changes with the constant threat of competition from globalization and new technology-enabled shopping channels. Combine these factors with consumers’ …

Today’s retail environment is undergoing dramatic changes with the constant threat of competition from globalization and new technology-enabled shopping channels. Combine these factors with consumers’ easy access to comparative information and the increasingly de-personalized, homogenous website shopping experience and it becomes difficult to sustain brand loyalty, and to differentiate through good service and a higher-quality shopping experience.

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  • 1. © 2012 Sutherland Global Services WP-CBRNDLTY-031312 Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers Sutherland Global Services March 2012 Retail Services Branding Excellence Series Table of Contents Foreword.....................................................................................2 Creating Brand Loyalty................................................................3 The Shift to Personalized Engagement ..............................................3 Creating a Branded Customer Support Experience............................3 Making First Impressions Count.........................................................4 Aligning Customer Service with Customer Needs..............................4 Aligning Customer Service with Corporate Goals ..............................4 Personalized Selling............................................................................4 Creating Opportunities to Generate Customer Loyalty .....................5 Equipping Customer Service with the Tools for Success ...........6 Unlocking Information .......................................................................6 Leveraging Skill-Based Routing ..........................................................6 Communicating with the Right Channel ............................................7 Dynamic Selling ..................................................................................7 Measuring Success......................................................................8 Real-Time Measurement of Satisfaction............................................8 Meeting Your Brand Commitments ...................................................8 Conclusion........................................................................................10 About Sutherland Global Services....................................................10
  • 2. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 2 Foreword Today’s retail environment is undergoing dramatic changes with the constant threat of competition from globalization and new technology-enabled shopping channels. Combine these factors with consumers’ easy access to comparative information and the increasingly de-personalized, homogenous website shopping experience and it becomes difficult to sustain brand loyalty, and to differentiate through good service and a higher-quality shopping experience. At a time when top- performing retailers’ online revenues account for an average 15% to 30% of total revenues – often, representing the only source of revenue growth – it is vital that retailers understand how to maintain and drive customer loyalty. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how retailers can create brand loyalty with their online customers and explore ways to measure the impact of consumer loyalty on revenue growth and Customer Lifetime Value.
  • 3. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 3 Creating Brand Loyalty The Shift to Personalized Engagement “Know your customer” has been a retail-industry mantra for the past several decades. Businesses have started evaluating and segmenting data in order to better understand and predict their customers’ buying behaviors. Many businesses are rapidly replacing their product-centric programs with strategies centered on the customer experience. Retailers are now focused on enhancing the customer experience to personalize shopping so effectively that it creates a brand loyalty “bond” with their customer, regardless of the communication channel. An example of this shift is intelligent websites, which collect user data and dynamically present different retail offerings based on the customer preference. As consumers flock to social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and others, retailers should consider leveraging these communication channels to improve their customer service and gain a competitive advantage. With the ongoing advances in technology, many retailers have already expanded their operational processes to leverage social networks as a tool for responding to customer complaints, proactively answering questions, and/or tailoring their offering. Organizations that effectively use social-media tools for customer care can also benefit from creating “brand promoters” within their customer base. Used effectively, these promoters act as an extension of the customer service organization, offering advice on product or services in return for non-financial rewards. Creating a Branded Customer Support Experience Understanding each stage of the customer lifecycle and recognizing the important role of customer service in retaining customers is no longer an option – it is a strategic imperative. While technological advances have enabled real-time interaction with consumers via websites, in-store kiosks, or with the latest handheld wireless devices, most retail customer support programs have been largely ignored and not fully integrated with retailers’ brand values, leading to a poor customer experience. From our perspective as a business process outsourcing company, Sutherland Global Services predicts that market drivers will cause the industry to evolve from today’s service-oriented contact centers toward revenue-generating profit centers. Retail service delivery centers that do not plan for this transformation will be forced to reduce their cost of service and/or be replaced by self-service applications.
  • 4. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 4 Making First Impressions Count During the customer’s first contact, retailers should consider segmenting site visitors and measuring first impression statistics of various website and customer service elements -- including functionality, navigation, and product content. An organization’s management team should consider how satisfaction is linked to revenue-producing behaviors, including the likelihood of customers to purchase online or off-line, and prioritize process improvements accordingly to maximize their customers’ return on satisfaction. Aligning Customer Service with Customer Needs At Sutherland Global Services, experience has shown that a positive shift occurs across the organization when customer service departments move their focus to dynamically routing and handling calls based on customer history. The retailer’s competitive stance is improved by the ability to deliver highly differentiated services that actually drive revenue. Operational efficiencies increase, too, because all key delivery components are better aligned with customers’ goals. Customers enjoy a more rewarding experience because their contact center interactions are tailored to their preferences, based on purchase history, interests or value to the retailer. Aligning Customer Service with Corporate Goals In most retail environments, existing technologies and processes limit management’s ability to view customer service and sales results based on what actually transpired during a call. Network analytics such as call length, hold time, and transfer rates are often the only metrics used to evaluate and plan future strategies. For example, a customer service operation might track average customer contact handle times, versus examining ways to shorten handle times for low revenue- generating customer contacts. They also might neglect to evaluate appropriate opportunities to lengthen handle times with high-value customers in order to resolve problems or increase cross- selling opportunities. Another common example is when a company’s operational management team focuses on measuring support professionals’ sales performance based on total revenue per month, while the outcome or conversion of a high-value call may be a more relevant metric. Personalized Selling Most retail companies are attracted to third-party service providers because they have measured and documented demonstrable benefits ranging from dramatic cost savings to an enhanced focus on the retailer’s core customer base. However, an often-overlooked advantage is the service provider’s knowledge of revenue generation programs and the positive impact on the overall customer experience. Many revenue-building opportunities exist at every stage of the customer experience and carefully targeted offerings can be seamlessly blended throughout the customer lifecycle. Typically, these types of revenue generation programs can be converted into a transaction-based pricing model with a variable cost structure. Programs of this nature allow the service provider to align more closely
  • 5. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 5 with a retailer’s top-line revenue targets, resulting in improved customer satisfaction levels, as well as higher order values and conversation rates. Creating Opportunities to Generate Customer Loyalty When a company adopts a basic, essential customer contact strategy, engagement occurs only when customers are in distress or unhappy. From a branding and loyalty perspective, the implications of this approach are highly detrimental. Retailers cannot maximize customers’ lifetime value or influence brand loyalty when their personalized interactions occur only when a consumer calls regarding product delivery dates, account statements, or product returns. With proper planning, retailers can create more proactive engagements. The figure below illustrates several potential customer touch points which offer retailers an opportunity to reinforce brand values and build brand loyalty. People value the shopping experience as much as the goods they purchase. Retailers who enhance that experience can foster a stronger emotional attachment with their customer. [Fig 1: Opportunities for additional Customer Contact Points)
  • 6. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 6 Equipping Customer Service with the Tools for Success Unlocking Information As retail organizations become more aware of the value of data mining, it becomes evident that most companies store their customer information in multiple data repositories. More often than not, this data represents a goldmine of information that can be used to design different customer-focused support opportunities. As an initial step, retailers should consider a centralized data repository to make this information universally accessible. This data has the potential to elevate their customer service delivery from a level of basic care and support to a high- quality customer experience, while driving incremental revenue. Retailers today are looking to service providers to enhance their business processes through the use of customer analytics and performance optimization applications. Typically, these systems leverage an established methodology, such as the University of Michigan’s American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), to produce both component and composite scores designed to identify opportunities to positively impact customer satisfaction levels. By embedding analytics in every step of a customer’s lifecycle, businesses are better-equipped to predict the buyer’s behavior. When customer behavior becomes more predictable, sales, satisfaction and revenue are all positively impacted, leading to stronger bottom-line results and shareholder value. Leveraging Skill-Based Routing The concept of skill-based routing is very simple. In the retail support setting, a high-value customer (one who meets pre- determined criteria or a loyalty card holder) can be serviced by a higher-skilled specialist who is capable of providing both service support and sales assistance. Additionally, providing a richer support service by customizing the service professional’s skills to specific product sets, and routing customers based upon purchase history or the nature of the inquiry, has proven to increase brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. This approach is easily undertaken by building tools that will adjust to and account for demographic variables such as buying behavior history, gender, geography, language, and credit history. More advanced approaches to data segmentation, such as User Persona Research, can also identify how people behave while visiting websites. Before implementing any skills-based routing program, however, it is important to confirm that the chosen data-segmentation product includes sales scripts for support professionals to follow or use as a reference during their conversations with customers.
  • 7. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 7 Communicating with the Right Channel A critical first step is to align your brand with the communication channels you support and provide consistent customer service experiences across these channels. Your customers’ channel of choice will vary based on factors such as socio-demographics, time of day, location, and availability of technology. It is important to allow customers to initiate an interaction in one communication channel and continue it in another. The following channels are most commonly used and need to be tightly integrated into a retailer’s communication strategy. Web self-service. Helps customers locate the right answers to their questions using web self- service knowledge management. Self-service to live-service transitions. Offers customers the option to escalate a request from a web self-service site to a live agent; notifies and forwards information to an agent when a session transitions from self-service to live service. Phone channel delivery. Supports phone agents in creating customer incidents or cases, routing incidents, and handling inquiries within the customer guidelines and provides full computer telephony integration (CTI) capabilities with screen-pop. Customer-to-agent chat channel. Provides inter- and proactive chat, co-browsing, and page push. Email response management. Effectively manages and responds to high email volumes via service associates who have access to productivity tools such as canned answers, auto-suggestions, and auto-responses and are linked to a single companywide customer information database. Forums. Supports information-sharing forums with peers, including participant registration and administration, integrated forums with knowledge bases, and ranking and rewarding customer advocates. Dynamic Selling The keys to dynamic selling are data-driven routing and intelligent business routing. Data-driven routing uses customer information to intelligently direct calls within the system, attach the call data, and deliver it to the support professional’s desktop. This information provides the support professional with the customer’s identity and the purpose of the call. Intelligent business routing matches the caller’s profile with the appropriate associate to ensure an optimal customer experience and maximize the value realized from every interaction. Creating predictive models, centralizing customer databases, and linking them to inbound channels requires solutions that work across disparate systems. The effort to make these connections happen will provide a significant return in customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and revenue generation. Retailers no longer need to disrupt customer support experiences with inappropriate sales offers or risk offending customers for the chance to create new revenue streams. Dynamic selling is well within the reach of every retail service delivery center that wants to leverage these essential strategies to stay competitive and profitable.
  • 8. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 8 Measuring Success Real-Time Measurement of Satisfaction Determining how your organization can positively influence future customer behavior can yield significant returns. To increase conversion rates, retailers should implement analytical tools that can measure satisfaction with the following:  Pre-purchase website elements  Site drop-off rates  Overall order process It is also important to measure customer behavior at incremental stages of the customer experience. For example, Internet retailers should consider measuring satisfaction levels while the potential customer is browsing. A variety of research activities and information-gathering tools are available for capturing this information. While this is an often-ignored measurement, in many ways it is the most critical, as satisfaction at this stage is key to influencing a purchase decision. Collectively these measurements enable organizations to make changes that increase the likelihood of purchasing again and/or recommending the site to a friend. When consumers abandon their shopping carts, it’s important for retailers to pinpoint which factors left shoppers dissatisfied and identify specific changes that will prompt the customer to return to the site and/or make a purchase in the future. To boost the retention rate, retailers should know which contributing to their customers’ ongoing satisfaction. These elements could be incorporated into other public and secure areas of the retailer’s website, including purchasing, order tracking, and collections. For example, when online shoppers abandon their shopping carts without making a purchase, did they jump off-line due to performance issues, cart-related errors, or usability issues? Or were they just browsing and intend to return later? Meeting Your Brand Commitments As the standard of retail customer service becomes more consistent and homogenous, the traditional customer satisfaction measure (C-SAT) becomes less helpful as a tool for driving business improvements. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an extremely powerful tool for assessing whether a retailer’s brand commitment to its customers is being recognized and fulfilled. A customer’s willingness to promote a service or product to friends and family is based upon many criteria, but in most cases requires the retailer’s service to meet and exceed the expectations set by the brand and marketing messages. Net Promoter framework can create processes and systems that help everyone to focus on earning the loyalty of customers and employees. The business payoffs are substantial, as loyal and passionate customers stay longer, spend more, contribute suggestions, and sing your company’s
  • 9. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Creating Brand Loyalty with Your Online Customers - © 2012 Sutherland Global Services. Page 9 praises to friends and colleagues. The same holds true for employees who enjoy working for your organization, generate new ideas, and go the extra mile to delight customers. Which is the reason why loyalty so strongly correlates with sustainable, profitable organic growth. On average, an industry’s loyalty leader grows more than twice as fast as its competitors. Sutherland recommends one of two different types of Net Promoter programs, depending on the client’s unique business environment and company culture. As Figure 2 illustrates, the Top-down NPS approach looks inward to identify structural weaknesses in the retailer’s approach to servicing customers. The Bottom-up NPS approach is outward-looking, assessing the strength and the loyalty of the retailer-customer relationship. [Fig 2: Net Promoter Score Frameworks]
  • 10. © 2012 Sutherland Global Services WP-CBRNDLTY-031312 Conclusion As retail websites have emerged as the consumer’s channel of choice for browsing, buying, and comparison-shopping, it has become increasingly difficult for retail organizations to generate and sustain brand loyalty. While technological advances and the proliferation of social media have generated more real-time interaction with consumers, it is important not to overlook the importance of customer care programs or to underestimate their powerful influence on brand loyalty. Through strategic planning and investment in analytical and support tools, retailers can create an opportunity for highly personalized, engaging customer service experiences that will “bond” consumers to their brand. In turn, by accurately measuring consumer satisfaction levels after each customer interaction, retail organizations can increase the likelihood of future purchases, gain brand loyalty, and ultimately identify brand promoters within their customer base who can spread the good word and recommend the site to a friend. In today’s competitive marketplace, this is an enormous undertaking. Many retailers are opting to engage with a business process outsourcing partner to help them implement the technology and analytical tools that are vital to engaging and sustaining today’s savvy online consumers. About Sutherland Global Services Established in 1986, Sutherland Global Services is a global BPO services enterprise providing integrated Platform- based and Analytics enabled business-cycle support solutions for major Industry Verticals and global industry leaders. Sutherland collaborates with clients to help them excel in their industry while maximizing their customers’ lifetime value. Sutherland is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise by NMSDC®.

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