Walk in Your Consumer's Shoes

 
 

I am one of the 43% of online shoppers who have made a purchase in bed (Big Commerce).  The other night, I was shopping for children’s clothes at a well-known kids apparel site.  My cart was full and I was excited to learn that my purchase qualified for free shipping because I, like the other 88% of shoppers surveyed by Walker Sands Communication, perceive free shipping to be a more valuable perk than a dollar discount.  

So imagine my disappointment when I read the order confirmation in my inbox and discovered that the site charged me $7.00 for shipping that should have been free.

Naturally, I was indignant.

I immediately returned to the site to search for a LiveChat icon so I could chat with their bot (because I’m also one of the 55% of consumers who prefer to interact with technology, according to a study Astound Commerce).  It was there, but the promise of LiveChat was nothing more than an automated FAQ page, so I dialed customer service – and was told they were “experiencing longer than usual wait times”. For a “faster response”, the voicemail said, use the LiveChat function or send in an email.

The bot and the call having failed, I wrote an email explaining my situation and sent it in. Two full days later, the company sent me an email response with the subject line “Expected email response time.” It began with a paragraph selling me on the brand and their vast product offering.  It ended with a comment that if I still had an unresolved issue, they would get back to me within 3 business days or I could call customer service for faster support.

Sigh.

In the era of the entitled consumer, brands simply can’t afford to make mistakes like this in customer service and still expect customers to stick around. In this case, there were three easy ways they could have improved their brand experience. They could’ve:

  • Ended the live chat experience with an option to call back at a set time  
  • Had an automated queuing callback mechanism in place for long wait times
  • Delivered an immediate email reply setting the expectation that they would respond within 3 business days

Any of those things would have demonstrated their concern about me, the ever-important consumer, and turned a poor brand experience into positive one. Just for example, if they had emailed me a personalized offer with relevant products based on my past purchases, I would've felt appreciated for my time and probably would have shopped right then and ordered more.

My point and the moral of this story is: every brand has to choose to make a major mindshift and start thinking from the point of view of the consumer. Examine what you are delivering versus your consumer’s expectations – and you’ll open up unexpected areas of opportunity. So how do you take this shift and inspire it within your brand?  What are some of the most efficient ways to audit your program from a consumer perspective? What data and technology can you leverage to improve convenience, context, and care for your consumer?  And what are some examples of success, and ideas to begin?

Download the Consumer-First Marketing Defined White Paper today to read more!