vcare_23 customer care best practices for retail

For online retailers, customer service can be a huge differentiator, and a secret weapon for customer advocacy. Customer expectations today are higher than ever, and the customer support training, resources, and investment required of today’s leading retailers can make the challenge of creating amazing customer care experiences seem insurmountable.

At Vcare, creating amazing customer service experiences is all we do. To help customer experience and operational leadership at the world’s largest retailers simplify and streamline the process of customer care, we’ve designed an exhaustive methodology for measuring their omnichannel customer service experiences.

But without the right people in place, even the best methodology can’t be successful. We also have a rigorous hiring and training process that our Care Specialists undergo when they join one of our clients’ teams. Each Care Specialist is trained on not just how to create amazing customer service experiences, but why those experiences are so critical to our clients’ success.

First and foremost, it’s about building a relationship with your customers, which we spark through our innovative Customer Mirroring hiring approach. The metrics we use to measure omnichannel customer service experiences are core to a good relationship, and therefore, are core to a good shopping experience.

These are the precursor to creating passionate brand advocates that purchase more, shop more frequently, and recommend the brand to friends.

Step 1: Attitude.

For Care Specialists, it starts with their attitude toward creating a great experience.

  • Greeting – how are you opening the experience? Does your greeting match the channel that the customer has initiated his or her customer support experience?
  • Tone – how is your tone of voice, or more importantly, how will it be construed by the customer? Does it begin to build rapport and connection, so as to facilitate an efficient and effective resolution?
  • Professionalism – do your words, timing, and tone reflect a high degree of professionalism? Will the customer find your level of professionalism well aligned with the retailer’s brand and image?
  • Personalization – how can you make the conversation personal for the customer? Are you asking the right questions and gathering enough information at the outset of the support interaction to enable a highly customized, personalized customer experience?
  • Empathy – do your words and tone convey the empathy with the customer, who is just now experiencing a service difficulty? The customer not only wants to be understood, but also wants to feel that the person helping them with their issue truly supports them, and will accept nothing but the utmost satisfaction in their shopping experience.

Step 2: Flow

. Then, it’s all about creating the right communication flow with your customer.

  • Engagement – how are you ensuring that the customer is fully engaged in the support exchange? How are you combating periods of silence or distraction? How are you appropriately moving the support conversation forward, based on the channel?
  • Hold Procedures – are you putting the customer on hold only when absolutely necessary? If you do have to initiate a hold period, what steps are you taking to minimize its duration? Are you ensuring a great experience, even while the customer is on hold?
  • Interruptions – what steps are you taking to minimize the customer’s interruptions? Are you interrupting the customer, or do you let them fully begin and conclude their thought process? Are you strategically reading the customer and respectfully leveraging interruptions to move the customer service experience forward efficiently?

Step 3: Technical

From there, Care Specialists need to be highly technically proficient.

  • Ticketing – how are you creating and managing the ticketing process to ensure that the issue is logged correctly, discoverable to the team, kicking off resolution processes, and highly indexable for later analysis?
  • Handling Duplication – are you able to quickly and easily identify duplication and manage duplicate tickets? Duplication management is one of the keys to a streamlined customer support system.
  • Detailed Descriptions – are you including enough detail in the analysis and ticketing of the customer’s issue or challenge?
  • Accurate Responses – based on the customer challenge, are your responses as technically accurate as possible?
  • Grammar & Spelling – is your ticket technically accurate with respect to spelling and grammar, ensuring easy team discovery, indexation, and post-resolution analysis?
  • Documentation – is the technical documentation fully up to the standards set by the brand and within the customized support process outlined by leadership?
  • Customer Information & Classification – is all of the customer information accurate based on the data available and your exchanges with the customer? Have you classified the customer, issue, and resolution path correctly?
  • Process Accuracy – how accurate have your customer care actions been during each step of the customer support process?

Step 4: Resolution

Finally, it’s about identifying opportunities and resolving issues the first time.

  • Finding The True Issue – have your communications with the customer uncovered their true challenge or issue?
  • Active Listening – are you actively listening for customer queues that help you move swiftly toward a positive resolution, in the eyes of your customer?
  • Creativity – are you being creative in your solution, exhausting all options and resources, to ensure that your customer is thrilled with the resolution of their issue?
  • Attempting De-escalation – have you taken all appropriate steps to de-escalate the issue, creating a less taxing support experience both for the customer and the brand?
  • Setting Expectations – have you set reasonable and accurate expectations with the customer, ensuring that they won’t be surprised by the ultimate resolution of their issue?
  • Closing & Recap – did you close out the customer interaction in a positive way, recapping the challenge they were facing, the steps you took in solving their issue, and any next steps that might be needed from either party?

Are these the standards that you hold your customer support team to? If you have other retail best practices for creating amazing customer care experiences, let us know today on Twitter by mentioning us @vcaretec.