How to Form Customer Obsession Habits with your eCommerce Team
Fostering customer obsession amongst your eCommerce team isn't easy. That's why it's important to build habits that keep the focus on the customer. Here's how.
Meet Gary. Gary runs the customer service department at a high-end online retail company. Like everyone else, Gary’s company has felt the effects of COVID-19. Messages have been flying in every which way, and phones have been ringing off the hook with customers looking to return the formal wear they purchased for events that have been cancelled.
But unlike most other companies, Gary’s company has been weathering the storm in style. You see, before all this happened, Gary had taken the time to encourage customer obsession habit formation amongst his customer service team.
Why? Gary knows that customers are willing to not only return, but also pay more for better customer experience. He also knows that poor customer experience is one of the quickest ways to lose customers.
He also knows that customer obsession -- a concept that helped launch Amazon into another stratosphere in 1997 -- means that every single action, no matter how small, must be aimed at making the customer happy. And since they’re habits, even when things got hectic after the pandemic hit, they stuck.
Envious of Gary’s forward-thinking? Don’t be! You can start building customer obsession habits in your team starting today. Like anything, the key is to start small, and start simple. Once one habit sticks, move on to the next.
Keep in mind when building habits into your company culture
When it comes to building customer obsession habits amongst your team, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you need to ensure that everyone on your team buys into the idea of customer obsession, and is aligned with your company goals. Remember, one bad apple can poison the whole bunch.
Secondly, it takes an average of eight impressions for a message to stick with a customer. And the same goes for your employees. So this means that customer obsession must be built into everything your employees see and do throughout their workday. How can you ensure total team customer obsession alignment? Let’s take a look at some ideas:
Create written guidelines
If you expect your employees to communicate with a customer-obsessed style, set an example yourself. This means adjusting the tone of voice on all internal communications to be customer-focused.
You may even consider creating a customer-obsessed style guide to provide them with structured best communication practices. Guidelines that have been written in your company’s preferred tone of voice, with easy-to-follow, logical, and structured customer-obsessed processes, give your team something they can refer to, to ensure they’re always aligned.
Many brands create banks of template answers that showcase the ideal tone of voice, and then implement them with AI tools that suggest them in real-time.
Focus on customer retention over customer acquisition
A repeat customer has a 60 - 70 percent chance of converting. With that in mind, it makes far more sense to cultivate loyalty amongst the customers you already. It’s far more labour intensive to get new customers than it is to keep your old ones -- so long as you’re keeping your old ones happy, that is.
You can foster a habit of valuing customer retention over customer acquisition by setting KPIs that reflect this hierarchy and then communicating this with your team.
Get your entire team together regularly for powwows to ensure everyone is on the same page, and everyone gets a chance to have their voice heard. When you do so, consider leaving an empty chair to represent the customer -- as Amazon does. Or for more of a visual, use a stuffed animal like a Teddy Bear, like they do at HubSpot.
You can also consider asking your entire team to help out with customer service support (all-hands support). They do this at Zappos during peak customer service times, like holidays. Every single person in the company -- no matter how high up -- must do 10 days of customer service support each year. This helps to give your team a shared experience, and give them an understanding of how what they do directly affects the customer.
Work backwards from the customer
Encourage your team members to start every new idea with the customer in mind, and then work backwards from there. At Amazon, for example, whenever a new concept or idea has been developed, the company comes out first with a press release. Once they’ve gotten enough customer buy-in, only then do they go ahead with the idea. Not enough customer excitement means the idea gets killed.
Lead by example
Learn from Richard Branson and embody the customer-obsessed mindset around your team. Walk around, listen, observe, and take notes. Talk to your customers and pay attention to data insights. Your team will take inspiration from you and emulate these observation and listening skills with your customers.
Set up your team for customer obsession. Do this by keeping teams small and specialised. Have a team for automation, teams for the various channels you support (email, Twitter, etc.), and consider customer shopping categories too, like fashion, beauty, or maternity. Small, specialised teams provide more expertise and value for the customer. According to Besos, teams should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas. This makes decision-making easier and keeps the customer in focus.
Get immersed in the customer 360
The full customer 360 is a buzzword on everyone’s lips. Customer 360 means getting a full view of your customer by aggregating their data across all the many touchpoints they engage with daily. Your customers spend their time not only in your eCommerce store but engaging with you on social media and mobile apps, liking, saving, favouriting -- and this flurry of activity leaves behind a trail of gold dust.
Build-in time for your team members to look over the customer 360 and really put themselves in the customer’s shoes. Is this their first call? Or their 10th email? Is the customer singing your praises on social? Or are they more prone to complaining? How your agent responds should differ based on the customer’s history of engagement with your brand.
Like in our personal lives, habits are easy to form and hard to break. In other words, they’re perfect tools for building customer obsession.
Customer obsession doesn’t just happen. It takes time, nurturing, and total devotion to the cause. And this is just the start of the customer obsession-based habits you can start forming with your team. Start today, and, like Gary’s retail company, you’ll be on the right track to better customer retention and lower bottom lines, no matter the global situation.
Let’s wrap it up:
- Write out customer-focused guidelines
- Focus on customer retention
- Hold customer-focused team all-hands
- Work backwards from the customer
- Lead by example
- Set up your team with the customer in mind
- Get the customer 360
Instilling these habits amongst your customer service team will make a big difference for your eCommerce company when thriving through the barrage of customer cases in these CoronaVirus times, and beyond.
Want to learn more about how you can futureproof your eCommerce brand, while boosting customer happiness and lowering your bottom line? Download the Director’s Guide to Customer-Obsessed Support Teams in eCommerce here.
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