Delivering Customer Service Where The Customer Is
Have you ever noticed how many businesses use social media like they would traditional advertising? What I mean is this: they put their advertising message up on social media channels, shut their computer, and sit by the phone waiting for it to ring. When a potential customer engages with their message, the advertiser isn’t there to respond because they are waiting for the phone to ring. Once the advertiser has realized that they simply cannot respond on social media and wait for the phone to ring, they stop their social media activities. “It’s too much work”, they say.
At Hillberg & Berk, our primary goal is to focus on the customer. So if our customer wants to talk to us through Facebook – we serve them on Facebook; if they want to email – we email; if they want to phone – we answer the phone. Regardless of how our customers want to interact with us, we provide the highest level of customer service we can, on the channel of their choice. Last year our annual survey indicated that our customers needed assistance when shopping online. Without that assistance, they had a hard time figuring out the product features, dimensions or what piece of jewellery to purchase for their spouse. Our customers expected the same high level of customer service we provide in the store when they were shopping online. In order to solve this challenge for our customers, we deployed a live chat feature on our site. The technical implementation of this feature was quite simple. The difficultly was training our staff and finding enough people to manage it 18 hours a day, seven days a week. We looked into hiring a third party company to manage it for us, but realized that nobody can do as good of a job serving our customers as we can. So, we prefer to do this on our own.
Regardless of how difficult and costly this was, the payout was, and continues to be great. Our sales increased by 20% immediately, our customers told us about numerous technical issues and glitches with our site that we never knew existed, and we received many, many feel good messages about the impact our company has on them through community programs we have to support the empowerment of women. Here is an example of online feedback we received.
“I want to start by saying THANKS!! I have had some troubles with a pair of earrings and was disappointed. This morning I went online to do some browsing and I was pleasantly surprised to have a chat window pop up so I inquired about my earrings and she (Vanessa) suggested I take them to the store and have them looked at. I’m happy to say that my earrings were replaced and even my necklace is being repaired. The store employees were also very friendly and helpful. I was actually so pleased with the service I received that I came home to order an orange sparkle ball necklace to go with the earrings I had just bought in Edmonton. And you know it…up popped that friendly little chat window again and Brandy helped me more that anybody should ever need to when someone is ordering online. She even cancelled one order so I could correct a mistake I had made. I tell you…this was the most pleasant online shopping experience I’ve ever had. Both Vanessa and Brandy need a feather to put in their caps as they went above and beyond what I ever thought to be possible when shopping online. THANKS!!! I will wear my jewelry with adoration and will also remember the good people behind your company.”
Over the years, we’ve learned is to listen to our customers and adapt our business to them. We try not to do things the way they have always been done just because it is comfortable. Everything around us changes – so we can either be victims of it, or we can embrace it and use that change to our advantage.