Here at ROBIN HQ we always say ‘Great customer service is the best marketing’. For us, this isn’t just a slogan. It’s a way of life, a mission, a strategy … all rolled into one. And we’re executing it too. But before we tell you our story, let’s focus on you and your new e-commerce web store.
You’ve probably just spent a good deal of cash on designing and developing it, right? Your products are fully locked and loaded. Fulfilment is slick, payment systems too. And your bootstrapped launch has kickstarted great initial sales.
But, as every entrepreneur knows, now is not the time to sit back and pat yourself on the back. The first year of any E-commerce web store is crucial. To build a business that really hits the hockey stick you need to put your hard-earned cash in exactly the right place.
Customer service versus acquisition
So should you focus more on getting new customers? Or is it better to ‘wow’ your existing clients? It’s a classic e-commerce startup question that Carrie Johnson from Forrester Research answers like this:
“In a perfect world, [you should do] both and everything. [But] in the real world the general marketing rule is that retention is a lot more cost effective than acquisition.”
Here’s three damn good reasons why she is right and how ROBIN can help.
1. Happiness is simply a great business strategy. Full stop.
Today’s consumer is an empowered one. They have more choice than ever. Trust is increasingly important. And an amazing customer experience can be the deciding factor. Today’s successful e-commerce companies win the hearts of customers by engaging with them on their terms: happiness!
- 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence outperform their competition (Source: Buffer)
- 98% of respondents said that customer experience is in the top 3 factors to decide whether or not to buy from you (Source: Kissmetrics)
- 73% of customers actively seek out companies with friendly customer service representatives (Source: Oracle)
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (Source: McKinsey).
How ROBIN can help:
Using ROBIN is telling your customers that you take customer service seriously. We help you build trust with online shoppers in a number of ways. First, we place a contact tab on your web store so customers can easily reach you. Second, ROBIN enables you to actively manage customer satisfaction by inviting customers to rate the conversation they are having with you. Third, we allow you to put your customer service performance on parade by placing the performance widget on your web site.
2. Happy customers and increased revenues go hand in hand
This is down to what’s called the law of reciprocity. And it’s been around since Aristotle. Here’s the basics: When someone does something nice for you, you feel an innate obligation to return the favour. For an e-commerce web store that focuses on delivering oustanding customer experience the reward is in the bottom line.
- 81% of customers say that they are more likely to give a company repeat business after a good service experience (Source: American Express)
- Customers spend up to 5 times as much if the service is ‘exceptional’ as opposed to just ‘good’ (IPSOS Loyalty Report)
- 81% of shoppers are willing to pay more for better customer experience (Source: Oracle)
- A totally satisfied customer contributes nearly 3 times the annual revenue that a somewhat-satisfied customer and 14 times the revenue of a somewhat dissatisfied customer (Source: InfoQuest)
- Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase (Source: White House office of Consumer Affairs)
And the kicker:
- An 8% increase in customer satisfaction results in an increase in profits of up to 28% (Source: Kissmetrics)
How ROBIN helps:
ROBIN makes it super easy for online shoppers to contact you while they are browsing your store. When customers contact you - via email, web form or live chat - you get immediate notifications via email, browser or your mobile device. This allows you to respond when the item is still in the shopping basket.
But there is more…
ROBIN integrates with leading e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento. This enables us to show you relevant order information with every incoming customer conversation. It also allows you to identify loyal customers. Soon we will also show how much they have already spent in your store. This gives context to the customers’ question so you can better personalize your answers and drive conversion.
3. Happy customers are the best marketers you could ever hope for
Don’t take offence, but no matter how good a marketer you are, happy customers are even better. They are impartial. They scout out all the info and competition before they make their purchase. And when they do make their purchase from you, they will share that experience with their family, friends - and anyone who will listen! These experiences form the core of others’ decision-making processes: ‘Should I buy from the grumpy folks? Or the ones that everyone says are wonderful?’ It’s a no-brainer.
- 65% of all new business comes from referrals (Source: New York Times)
- On average consumers share a positive experience with 15 people (Source: American Express)
- 77% of online shoppers use reviews to make purchase decisions (Source: TabJuice)
- 92% percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising when making a purchase decision (Source: Nielsen)
- 59% of consumers say user-generated product reviews have a significant or good impact on their buying behavior (Source: Monetate)
And you know what? Happy customers are a damned efficient marketing investment too!
- It’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one (Source: Bain & Company)
- You have a 60-70% better chance of selling to an existing customer versus a 5-20% chance of selling to a new customer (Source: Marketing Metrics)
How ROBIN helps:
ROBIN’s conversation rating system helps you manage customer satisfaction. Red and yellow smiley’s invite customers to keep the conversation going, so you can actively manage unhappy customers and prevent complaints in social media and review sites.
But there’s an up side too!
Green smiley’s automatically invite the customer to leave a review or spread the love via social media. This way, you are actively driving word of mouth for your web store at exactly the right time: when the customer is happy! This is how you bring quality to your recommendation marketing!
So exactly how difficult is this happiness thing?
Well, after that argument, you may be surprised to know that only 1% (!) of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations.
So the chances are good that if you zig while everyone else zags, if you put the volume up on customer service rather than acquisition in that first year, you could end up on top of the E-commerce pile - right alongside the 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies in creating exceedingly happy customers who outperform their competition.
Practicing what we preach: 97% happiness rocks our world!
We started this post by citing one of our favorite sayings: ‘Great customer service is the best marketing’. And we live, eat, sleep and breathe it.
Of course we advertise and promote our product. But for us, gaining clicks, views and attention through AdWords, affiliate marketing and even content marketing, are tactics to fuel the real engine of our business - happy customers.
At present, according to our own customer feedback, they are 97% happy! And 99% of our customers believe we fulfil our promises on time. Obviously, those stats change in real time. You can check them in real time here:
ROBIN: working it each and every day
Those figures are no coincidence. We work for them: Every single new signup gets a welcome email from our CEO. Plus, a personal follow-up email from our Customer Success manager. In each of those we invite our brand new customers to contact us by email, live chat or on the phone, if they need any help at all - on anything.
In short, we do everything we can to win people over one by one - customer by customer. Person by person. At this point we can hear you thinking:
“How can I build a business by focusing on individuals as opposed to whole market segments? Isn’t it better to bring in loads of new customers rather than to molly-coddle the ones I’ve already brought in?”
Well, I’m afraid the simply answer is no, as we argued above. Building a sustainable business is a bit like getting a camp fire really really hot at the core - before you start adding more logs.
The moral of our story
If there is a moral, I guess it’s this: work from the inside out, and focus on building customer happiness into the heart of your business.
It’s working for us. And we’d like to help make it work for you too.