On Thursday, November 12th, BVA and Gorgias hosted a joint strategy webinar focused on how to optimize customer experience (CX) for Black Friday / Cyber Monday and the 2020 Holidays.
We collaborated to help merchants prepare for the busiest season of the year and retain first-time customers that have moved from in-store shopping to online during the 2020 pandemic. This session also took an important look at trends that merchants should pay attention to going into Q1 2021. And, let’s be real, customer experience never stops being important, right?
Featuring BVA’s VP of Strategy, Doug Hollinger, and Gorgias Partnerships Lead, Billy McClennan, this discussion included some value-packed insights and strategic advice. For those not as familiar, Gorgias is one of BVA’s strategic solution partners and an eCommerce helpdesk that turns customer service into a profit center.
Below are 4 strategies and trends brands should consider while optimizing customer experience. You can hear more about these insights in the full webinar recording!
1) Customer support should be a prioritized resource during the holidays
In 2019, Gorgias data showed a 2x increase in need for support channels over the holiday season. With COVID-19 in 2020, the need for online customer support is expected to increase even more significantly.
Over the course of the pandemic, online order volume has already increased 2.5x for most Gorgias merchants. They anticipate an 80-100% growth in support tickets and order volume over the next two months (November and December 2020). This means that now, more than ever before, customer service needs to be a prioritized resource.
Providing further insight, Gorgias has also found that around 50% of support tickets are seeking assistance with order status, returns, and/or pre-orders. Any merchant’s customer support team should be well equipped to handle requests around these areas and leverage them as an opportunity to surprise, delight, and in some cases, up-sell to their shoppers– but we’ll get into that more in just a bit.
2) Brands want to retain COVID first-time customers
The pandemic has brought a wave of new online shoppers to eCommerce stores of all kinds. Consumers have been more open to exploring new products and brands as they shop online, and for many merchants this has led to conversions from net new customers.
It’s important to find ways to increase loyalty and the lifetime value of these new COVID shoppers. An optimized customer experience is the foundation for creating not only loyal fans, but brand ambassadors that will share your praise.
On an equally important note, every interaction with a customer should give them an opportunity to return to your website. Each templated support response should include some variation of a call-to-action (CTA) that leads them back to the website and the path-to-purchase. If a customer has already bought something or is considering a purchase, a convenient nudge in the direction of your online storefront can go a long way.
Furthermore, customer support personnel are the best advocates for your offering and should leverage every touchpoint with a customer as an opportunity to deepen the relationship. Whether it’s an automated message or a direct interaction with a customer support manager, your customers should feel that their voice is heard and that their experience is personalized.
3) The DTC model compliments retail
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many retailers to take ownership of their online storefronts and the omnichannel customer experience like never before.
For some brands that previously focused on selling in big-box retailers, 2020 has served as the catalyst for either shifting focus or expanding into the realm of direct-to-consumer (DTC). Many brands need to have a solid online presence in order to meet customers where they are right now– and that is at home, shopping from their personal devices.
This signifies a necessity for brands to bolster their customer experience in all channels, even if they remain in physical storefronts. Many brands have started owning their DTC experience without fear, and it’s becoming complimentary to their retail presence.
This translates to the need for merchants to identify ways to provide even better customer service on an omnichannel level. If you’re selling in both retail locations and online, it’s important that the quality of support aligns across all channels. In-store representatives should be enabled with the tools to provide a streamlined customer experience, and digital CX automation should do the same.
4) Customer support creates your best brand ambassadors
Effective and delightful customer support encounters are what breed the best brand ambassadors. Customers that have a positive experience with your customer support channels are more likely to spread the word about your brand.
When it comes specifically to highly visible channels, like social media comment sections, it’s a great way to connect with your customers and showcase exceptional customer support. Not to mention, it’s also another great avenue for promoting discounts and special offers to your most vocal and invested followers.
Every customer support touch point, from chat bots, to SMS, to social media, are all opportunities for your team to exceed customer expectations. Creating automated, personalized messaging for shoppers not only makes their path to purchase smoother, but also arms them with great things to say about your brand.
BVA is a commerce agency that incubates and grows the direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that people love. With the largest and most versatile client roster in the industry, we’ve launched more brands on Shopify Plus than any other agency and currently manage a client portfolio that generates nearly one billion dollars annually in gross merchandise volume (GMV).
Through a customer-centric approach, we create measurable and executable commerce strategies that drive brand awareness, immersive customer experience, high conversions, profitability, and customer lifetime value. Having built and scaled brands like Rebecca Minkoff, Tommy John, Chubbies, Native (P&G), RedBull, and UNTUCKit, we leverage our unmatched expertise to forge the future of commerce for leading and emerging DTC brands.
You can reach out to us here!
Megan Holett is the Sales and Marketing Coordinator at BVA. Her role involves bridging the gap between sales processes and agency marketing through content creation and other initiatives.