VIRGINIA MOODY explains the importance of providing first-class customer service, both online and in-store, in an increasingly competitive retail environment.
We are living in an age where competition for jewellery customers is high; the online market is always evolving and expanding and differentiating your business can be a challenging endeavour.
What will distinguish you in the eyes of your customer is how you treat them, what you record and remember about them, and their before-and-after-sales experiences with your business.
Choosing to exceed expectations is the key to building your reputation, your company and developing trust with the people that matter – your customers.
Customer service is about anticipating customers’ needs, building a strong relationship with them, and ensuring that they feel valued and appreciated.
Good word of mouth can never be underestimated, and in ensuring your customers leave satisfied, you are primed for repeat business.
Integral to setting your business up for success is ensuring that both you and your employees follow best practices; you want to ensure that your responses to customers are cohesive and reflect your values as a seller.
Part of this involves designing a customer service model based on what you know about your customers and what you think they expect from your business. Find out who your customers are, and importantly, how they wish to be communicated with.
It is also helpful to consider the many points of contact you have, with the aim of refining every interaction with your business to be positive.
Actions like timely responses to questions on your website or through social media channels, dealing with customer enquiries about warranty issues, exchanges and returns – including issues relating to freight and addressing complaints – are included in this.
You want customers to walk away from their interactions with your business on a positive note, so it cannot be emphasised enough that you deal with every customer in a professional manner.
Ensuring you actively listen to them and making certain you have a detailed knowledge of your products and policies is vital. It is far too easy to lose your customer to the myriad of other jewellery stores out there, and you want to do everything in your power to retain them for their next purchase.
Just one bad experience is all it takes to negate the hard work you put into attaining your customer, so be mindful that it is the readiness to listen and to address any concerns in a timely, ‘can-do’ manner, that they appreciate and remember most.
While a shift to online purchasing in the wake of COVID-19 was expected, the pandemic has in fact generated a dramatic migration to digital sales and services, with the ‘Millennial mind-set’ towards technology now rapidly being adopted across all generations.
A massive transformation in the way people buy is fertile ground for new habit formation, and has prompted many businesses to search for new, more efficient systems to address customer needs.
We use the Shopify e-commerce platform which allows us to collate basic customer contact details, conversion information, and purchase history through our website’s back-end. In turn, this enables us to create personas of what our customers are like and what they are looking for.
Ultimately, knowing who your customers are is the key to providing the products and service that they would expect from your business.
When a customer deals with your company you want the whole experience to be seamless. Every element of difficulty that customers’ encounter is a barrier between them and their purchase, so you need to ensure your contact details are accessible and your policies are clear.
Customers today are increasingly techsavvy, with many expecting omnichannel options; some prefer digital enquiries and self-service pathways, while others prefer to make more traditional contact via phone and email.
Ensuring that the customer can contact you using the method they want and find easiest is an asset in ensuring a great experience with your business.
It is by providing outstanding customer service that our customers want to return to us time and again; after all, customer satisfaction is a fundamental element to the building of a loyal customer base, and, ultimately, the success of our businesses.
Without open lines of communication and active engagement with our customers, we may not know that they are dissatisfied until they have moved on to another business, or let the world know online.
Remember, building a successful brand depends on your customers’ experiences. The key is in making their experience a success as well.
Name: Virginia Moody
Business: Harper & Rowe
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Years in the industry: 11