Service and support in the new era: The power of ‘thank you’

By: Lauren Smartt

8th September 2020

Speaking recently at the 99//Club Digital Festival, Group Head of User Experience Design Nick Fry discusses why customer service is so important during COVID and how brands can win with something as simple as good CRM.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for many brands, waking them up to what they must do in the digital age to reach consumers in their homes. 

This new era, defined by physical distancing and a greater migration to online, has put a renewed and much needed emphasis back onto service and support. Regardless of your brand, you can only succeed if you have good service and this must be translated online, not just in the physical world.

A key theme of brand comms during COVID was exactly this: support. “We’re here for you”, “Supporting our customers in need”, “Helping each other through this difficult time” – all sentiments we’ve received from our favourite brands, particularly via email marketing, over the last few months.

But how can brands ensure this communication is effective at offering the right support and building loyalty, as opposed to just ending up in the junk folder?

It’s not always about the flashiest, newest, most innovative technologies to bring in more customers. There is tremendous value in going back-to-basics and getting email and CRM right, and harnessing the power of ‘thank you’ to bring in and keep your customers.

There are now many more touch points with consumers and opportunities to collect valuable insights about them on their purchase journey that can help create market-leading service. As a brand, it’s your responsibility to use that data responsibly to create Meaningful and useful experiences for your customers.

This extends to the entire customer journey. Your relationship with a user doesn’t end when they click ‘pay’ and leave the site; the service you have promised must continue, especially if you want them to repeat purchase and become lifetime customers.

This is especially pertinent for ‘lifecycle’ brands; that is, businesses with products and services that link up with other key moments in a customer’s lifecycle. Home appliances for moving out of home, first car, first bank account; if a brand can be there to support a customer at these life stages and offer genuine support, they will have a customer for life.

I’m sure more than a few bread makers were sold during lockdown, for example, and even then there are simple ways to follow-up with a customer and ask how they’re getting on with it, keep them up to date on warranty, or even link with a partner to provide new recipe options. This is why CRM (and post-sales CRM, specifically) can be the most important stack in your marketing arsenal. It’s what makes the sales journey human. 

CRM is often overshadowed by newer tech, but the perils of getting it wrong and not servicing users’ needs can be damaging to a brand. Personalisation has got a bit of a bad rap recently, but only from invasive and often unnecessary data collection. Let’s not ask customers to fill out a long form where they have to put their name, inside leg measurement, favourite football team, what cake they like – let’s just ask them what they want. Do they want to be communicated with all the time? A courteous ‘thanks for buying’ email is great, followed by here’s how to get the best out of your product / service and give them the courtesy of ‘do you want to opt out of this?’. Simple.

Sometimes it’s about going old school and getting your emails right. Thank someone for doing something – whether that’s making a purchase or signing up for the mailing list – and that’s just as good as delivering something in a box. Not to mention incredibly easy and cost effective!

For brands to succeed – they need to put support and service upfront with purchase. As consumers’ online lifestyles evolve, it’s the brands that embrace data in the right way and serve predictive solutions to users that will outshine the competition.