Effectively analyzing online consumer behavior
No timidness in e-commerce - 3 strategies for proactive customer service
Rows and rows of long white shelves. Small labels describe the advantages of the individual products. Red colors in between stand out and call attention to reductions. The customer is right in the middle of it all.
The customer slowly makes his way through the shopping maze in search of an item. He is overwhelmed and unable to cope with the variety, turns around and quickly makes his way back to the exit. In this case, a good customer service representative would immediately step in and offer the customer assistance before he is actually aware how and where he exactly needs help.
The customer service representative is proactive. Not only does the same kind of service lead to success in brick-and-mortar businesses but also in the online world. Yet many companies lack proactive customer retention measures. Andreas Hertwig, Director of Sales at LivePerson, Inc. reveals the three most important proactive customer retention measures.
Analyzing customer behavior
What distinguishes a good customer service representative in the store? He or she analyzes the body language and facial expressions of customers. In doing so, she is able to recognize exactly when the customer wants the attention of a consultant. ''The online equivalent of this is to observe and analyze the usage behavior of the customer in the online store,'' explains Hertwig. How long did the customer stay on a specific product page for example? Does the customer hesitate during the payment process? Frequently customers are very reluctant to actually ask for help both in online and offline cases. Many primarily shy away from clicking a button, writing an email or actually calling the hotline to be put on hold if worst comes to worst. Proactive customer service in the online store recognizes that now a chat window should be opened for instance to instantly offer the customer help. ''It supports the customer before he/she actually needs this help,'' Hertwig points out.
Recognizing the right moment
It’s essential in proactive customer service to recognize the right moment to provide the respective assistance. When the customer enters a store for example and is immediately besieged by several service representatives, he is put off. Good service gives the customer room to take her time and look around. However, it may also be too late to approach the customer if she is overwhelmed and frustrated and already on her way to the exit. ''There is only a small window of opportunity to be proactive – both offline and online,'' confirms Andreas Hertwig. A customer wants to purchase a new rug for example. The customer is on two product pages at the same time – on a page that offers kilim rugs and on a page that features hand-knotted rugs. A proactive online store would now automatically offer the customer product details or a side-by-side comparison of both rugs with the help of a pop-up window for a better comparison. The U.S. home improvement retailer Home Depot, a current customer of LivePerson, also pursues this approach. Thanks to an applicable software, the store is able to proactively approach customers who have a tough time making a decision. A chat window opens, for example, to talk with the customer and offers a secondary link.
Utilizing social media data
Social networks provide an incredibly large amount of user data and customer information. Some customers are connected with the company via the social networks. The pages reveal the interests and habits of customers. A savvy online retailer can take advantage of this. ''Proactive support does not just mean to encourage the customer to purchase a product but also to respond to the customer and his/her basic preferences”, says Hertwig. A customer already bought a power drill for instance. She reviewed it on the retailer’s network. If the online store offers a new power drill in its product line, it can recommend the product to this specific customer during her next visit on the web page or even offer a sales discount. It is up to customer service to utilize this information and thereby proactively retain the customer for the company.