Institute of Customer Service reveals ‘average’ customer service on Black Friday costs retailers £1.9 billion

06 December 2017 by Anita Matthews

Not delivering excellent social customer service costs retailers repeat business

New research released by the Institute of Customer Service highlights that retailers are potentially missing out on £1.9 billion in future sales by not offering ‘excellent’ customer service on Black Friday.

ICS Figures show that customers who experienced higher levels of service are more likely to return to the retailer and make future purchases.

  • Of those customers who experienced ‘excellent’ customer service, 94% shopped with that same retailer again, and spent an average of £201 over the next year.
  • Those who experienced ‘average’ customer service were not only less likely (75%) to return, they also spent significantly less, at £158 over 12 months.
  • Last year, 63% of people made a purchase on Black Friday according to the Institute’s research, with an average spend of £185, but many spend more.

This year Barclaycard estimates that UK Black Friday spending finished up 8% on 2016. With so much at stake retailers need to be prepared to service customers across all channels.

To compete effectively, retailers need to be able to assist customers on the channels they choose, in near real-time. Even when the pressure is on and it’s peak sales season.  A casual approach is no longer enough in today’s digital world.

Here’s a few simple tips to help retailers move from being ‘average’ to ‘excellent’ in the social customer service department:

Be organised

Use a social customer service platform such as Sentiment to organise your social channels and provide an easy way for customer service agents to see and respond to incoming messages.  This ensures you won’t miss any messages and can quickly identify those customers that need a response.

71% of consumers who experience positive social customer care are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared with just 19% of customers who do not get a response (NM Incite)

Be responsive

Make it as easy as possible for customers to reach you on social media.  Show your support team opening hours on your social profile to help manage customers expectations about when they’re likely to receive a response.  Use intelligent automations to filter out noise and spam and route priority mentions straight to the right team member.

For more on improving your social response times see our super-useful checklist: How to improve your social media response times

Be personal

72% of respondents expect agents to already know who they are, what they’ve purchased, and have insight into their previous engagements (Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report 2017)

Invest in a social customer service tool with last agent routing functionality to ensure that customers get to talk to the same person. This also means agents can resolve things more quickly if they have the background and a view of any previous conversation history.   

Use the right tone when engaging on social and ensure it reflects your brand personality. Address customers by name and sign off messages with initials or a name to give your brand a human face.  Avoid canned responses as customers notice when you’re sending the same response to everyone and it doesn’t feel personal.

Be informed

Ensure you can measure and benchmark your key social metrics to show performance improvements and justify continued investment in your social strategy. Run or schedule regular reports to understand your peak contact times and measure your response rates and times against company SLAs. 

Take advantage of Twitter CSaT functionality (available through selected social customer app providers such as Sentiment) to get instant feedback about customer satisfaction.  The simple survey format and ease of reply means great response rates, often above 50 per cent.  You can then benchmark your social satisfaction scores against your other channels and spot any key trends.

Learn more about how to use Twitter to measure customer satisfaction.

Be successful!

Ensure you don’t miss out on repeat business by ignoring customers on social media channels. The chances are they won’t buy from you again.

Make sure your social customer care is the best it can be.

Find out how Sentiment helps hundreds of brands provide ‘excellent’ social customer service – try us for free for 14 days.

Start Free Trial

Tags: Social customer service optimisation, retailers, Institute of customer service

Comment on this blog...