How Do You Take Friction Out of the Customer Experience?

Does this sound familiar?: You reach out to a company that you know has tons of information about you, but when you connect to an agent, you have to tell them all the same information you’ve told them a dozen times before. Or worse, one agent asks for your account number, and on the same call, you’re transferred to a different agent who asks for the same number again. This kind of experience is universally hated and creates frustration and friction for your customers. How does your business overcome it?

That was the opening topic of discussion between Kustomer’s Co-Founder and CEO Brad Birnbaum and Shep Hyken on the latest episode of Amazing Business Radio. The answer? Support agents need to have all the relevant information about customers at their fingertips. Knowing all the relevant details about your products and services is now just the bare minimum. By helping provide agents with all the information they need, Kustomer has seen 20% faster resolution for customers.

“Want to have 100% less frustrated customers? Don’t ask them to give you the same information again and again.” Said Brad. Understandably, repeating themselves is customers’ top complaint, according to our whitepaper benchmarking the state of service for retailers

Eliminating friction is an enormous area of concern for modern customer experience organizations—and for good reason, as it’s a major impediment to doing business. It also happens to be the topic of Shep’s next book. “When you create friction, the problem becomes a complaint,” says Hyken. Instead of solving your customers’ issues, you’re putting up new barriers that are impacting their experience.

When you’re able to have an immense amount of data about your customers in one place, it acts as a multiplier for the kind of amazing interactions you’re able to have.The faster agents can provide a “wow” solution, the less friction there will be.

“Wow the customer by telling them at the beginning of the conversation, ‘I know why you are calling, and here’s what we are going to do about the problem,” said Brad.

Other information, like sentiment, can be key to delivering that next tier of experience. For example, Slice is able to see every unhappy customer who hasn’t ordered in the last 90 days, then use that information to reach out and engage with a coupon or other offer.

Chatbots are also becoming increasingly important to the CX expert’s arsenal. They have their limitations, “Chatbots only as good as the person who programs it or creates it,” added Brad, but when used correctly, they can provide a real edge to your experience.

Shep and Brad agreed that chatbots are good for routine use, but for context-sensitive answers like “what’s the warranty on my most recent purchase?”, they’re not so effective. That’s why Kustomer uses Conversational Forms. These act like a bot, instantly responding to your customers’ queries with questions, while getting info on the customer’s account themselves and their problem. They then connect directly to an agent, with all the relevant info they need to deliver great service.

Knowing everything you can about the customer, then acting on it at the right time, is key to creating the kind of customer experience that wins customers for life.

How Subscription Companies Can Deliver a Better Customer Experience

Subscription’s rising popularity isn’t a fluke. There are a lot of real benefits for customers and businesses alike that you don’t get from traditional retail. Customers receive just what they want delivered to their door—even things they didn’t know they wanted—with no extra effort required.

However, their biggest benefit is also a huge drawback. Because customers don’t need to think about their subscriptions all the time, it’s easy for them to cut them loose once they stop adding value to their lives. This is why brands with subscription models are plagued by churn. Customers might jump on with ease, but if they don’t find lasting value, the novelty wears off.

Subscription-based companies must reward loyalty. They should be incentivizing customers to stay with them for the long haul, delighting them with new surprises and offers based on the length of time they’ve been subscribed. Every delivery must be used as an occasion to build a deeper connection. Agents need to be well-trained to deliver a complimentary experience, consulting with customers on their options and learning more about them to better target offerings.

There are more than 2,000 subscription box services on the market right now, but only a small percentage will still be doing business this time next year. To succeed, subscription businesses need to deliver a valuable customer experience. What does this level of customer experience look like on a practical level?

Rewarding loyalty

Bespoke Post and Boxycharm reward the customers that have been subscribed the longest with more hand-picked, high-value options in their boxes. The upfront cost pays for itself, as customers keep subscribing in anticipation of future surprises.

Asking questions

Every change in behavior is a chance to build a deeper connection. For a brand like Material World that delivers personalized outfits, if a customer puts their delivery on hold, it’s only in their interest to find out why. If the customer is going to be traveling somewhere warm, they could even send their box to where they’re going to be staying—with some tropical inspired options inside.

Exceeding expectations

Don’t hesitate—if a customer is asking about upgrading their subscription tier for a brand like SprezzaBox, reach out and follow up with a personalized offer. After trying out a free trial of a premium box for three months, they’re more likely to be convinced to bump up their subscription permanently!

Digging for more data

For classic subscription brands like Birchbox, agents should take every opportunity to learn more about their customers. They should be reaching out to customers to fill out their profiles, sending surveys to get a better understanding—and their organization should be empowering their agents with the data they already have.

Being proactive

If bad weather is about to roll in to a particular region, rather than being reactive and waiting for customers to respond with questions about a shipment, a brand like LOLA with a time-dependent delivery can reach out to them as early as possible and present them with new shipping options to avoid a delay.

As both brand new and legacy brands catch on to the benefits of subscription model, the delivery box options will only grow. However, the subscription companies that understand their customers and use great service and customer experience to ensure their loyalty are the ones that will last.

Want to see how Kustomer can help your company? Find out how we enable ecommerce business here.

IQPC CX Research Report for Retailers: Top Takeaways

Our executive-level insights from our most in-depth report yet.

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At Kustomer, we love retail and direct-to-consumer brands. These brands are becoming more and more obsessed with their customers—because they need to be to differentiate themselves in today’s competitive era of retail. For them, experience is everything: product, sales, service, branding, and more.

Our most recent and intensive research report, authored in partnership with Customer Contact Week Digital (a division of IQPC), takes an in-depth look into the state of customer experience for retail businesses. What we found was enlightening.

If you’re at a retail brand, definitely pay attention, because one thing became very clear:

CX IS THE MAIN DIFFERENTIATOR FOR RETAIL
That’s right. Not branding, not marketing, not pricing.

The research shows that you must avoid the major retail trap and focus on the entire customer lifetime journey — not just the Point of Purchase. Retailers need to optimize their interactions, but stay focused on increasing lifetime value with simple, personal experiences. And despite their commitment, most retailers aren’t capable of delivering these experiences. The report found that:

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The #1 priority of most retailers is to reduce the effort customers need to spend in their customer experience. The #2 priority is automation.
  • The #1 frustration for agents is disconnected systems.
  • 80% of retailers say that their customers struggle to move between touchpoints without having to repeat information.

And in the report, we dive deep into the opportunities for retailers and how they’re capitalizing on them to improve their experience and drive business growth:

  • Reducing Effort: Only 48% of businesses are making any attempt to measure effort. However by putting all their information in a single timeline, ParkWhiz was able to matchmake users and parking spaces, and found a 2–3% increase in retention with customers who have interacted with the CX team — and increased average Time to First Response by more than 10%.

  • Personalization: Only 46% of businesses are actively attempting to assess the personalization of their experiences. Yet Glossier is able to see all their customer and order information in one place, which makes it easy to deliver highly personalized, 1–1 interactions.

  • Automation: 79% of retailers believe bots are important, and 60% plan to maintain or increase their investments in automation. By making the customer their atomic unit of understanding, Slice was able to manage customer interactions across teams and manage thousands of touches daily, seeing a 20–30% decrease in handle times.

Investing in these goals yields real results.
Delivering a solid and memorable experience is difficult and getting harder, but Kustomer is here to help. The full customer picture provides teams with the right intelligence to better optimize business service processes with automation, prioritize team member time, and scale your service operations as the business grows, driving increased customer lifetime value.

The retailers that invest in their customer experience and get this complete customer view are going to be able to differentiate themselves and remain relevant. Read our full report, and make this the year you deliver the best customer experience yet.

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14 Great Gifts for Valentine’s Day

As enjoyable to get as they are to give

V Day isn’t far off, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re getting your special someone — or, hey, what’s a better excuse to treat yourself?

At Kustomer, we’re all about amazing experiences, so here are some suggestions for great presents you’ll enjoy getting just as much as you will giving:

1: Fab Fit Fun

A subscription box that contains full-size beauty, fitness, and fashion products, it’s a perfect choice for a Valentine that wants to feel good and look great (and who doesn’t?).

2. Glossier

Ultra hip beauty brand Glossier has a slate of must-buy products that make perfect gifts. Their Balm Dotcom skin salve and Glossier You perfume are easy choices for anyone in your life who loves looking (and smelling) their best.

3. Parachute Home

“If you love someone, let them sleep” says Parachute’s homepage, and their high-quality bedding and textiles are sure to help you get 40 winks and more. If new sheets aren’t quite romantic enough, then their bathrobes, slippers, and candles will all make for an extra cozy Valentine’s.

4. Urban Stems

Who doesn’t love flowers? Urban Stems makes it easy to send fresh, seasonally appropriate arrangements all over the country.

5. Cuyana

Cuyana is all about the essentials, so what’s better than a gift that someone can use every day? Their leather bags, accessories, and sustainable clothing are all sure to become mainstays for your Valentine.

6. Modern Relik

Modern Relik is an interior design-driven furniture brand creating amazing pieces that bridge timeless elegance and modern sensibility. Their Valentine’s Day Collection includes pink tassel napkins, a jeweled heart box, and crystal napkin rings.

7. Outdoor Voices

For the sporty couple, Outdoor Voices has inspired activewear to get you from cuddling on the couch to embracing the outdoors. Stretchy warmup leggings for her, breezy shorts for him.

8. Hawthorne

For the man who would a appreciate a signature scent, Hawthorne lets buyers take a quick quiz to pick a pair of designer colognes that fit their taste, style, and body chemistry. Finally, a way to help the men in your life smell great without wandering around the perfume aisle until your eyes water.

9. Birchbox

For the beauty brand lover who likes variety, Birchbox is the perfect way to try all sorts of skincare and makeup products before you buy. Now offering a box for men, as well as women!

10. Adore Me

It’s not easy shopping for lingerie, but Adore Me cuts out the stress by creating a wide range of fits and sizes so that everyone can find the perfect piece. Finally, a lingerie brand that knows that looking good shouldn’t feel uncomfortable.

11. Bluefly

Designer style has never been more attainable, but Bluefly puts it just a few clicks away. Outfit your Valentine with clothes, shoes, and bags from Prada, Balenciaga, Ferragamo and more with discounts of up to 80% off.

12. Scentbird

Perfume and cologne can be a big commitment, especially as a gift — one large bottle could last over a year! Take out the pressure of picking the perfect scent by giving a subscription to Scentbird instead. The service lets you pick a different bottle each month that you can store in a refillable case, so your Valentine never has to commit.

13. Fenty Beauty

Rihanna’s beauty line is making major waves by offering a more diverse palette for every skin tones, as well as just having great, high-quality products. Her Plush Matte Lipstick can be seen all over Instagram and the red carpet.

14. Feastly

If all else fails, take them to dinner—and with Feastly, you get a premium chef’s table experience that goes beyond the usual restaurant fare. Just browse the options near you, book, pay, and eat. Voila!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Kustomer — we love you as much as you love your customers (which is hopefully a lot).

Want to learn more about Kustomer? Check out how we can help you deliver great customer experiences here.

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