What’s the key to the success of direct-to-consumer brands like Glossier and BirchBox? Well, the name of this new breed of businesses says it all: it’s that direct relationship with consumers. And in a world in which many customers never even set foot in a physical retail store, your customer support team is in charge of establishing and nurturing the relationship with your customers.
At Guru, we’ve chatted with some of the industry’s leading direct-to-consumer brands to distill the 5 key customer service principles to win the hearts (and pockets) of customers.
1. Anticipate customer needs
Customers don’t just expect brands to fix their problems; they expect them to anticipate their needs. When they’re armed with updated information about the customer and product, agents are able to go above and beyond in their customer service (e.g., providing recommendations, giving updates on new product launches, notifying customers of delays before the customer finds out for themselves, etc.).
2. Provide personal support
When agents are able to deliver personalized recommendations with confidence, it radically transforms conversations with customers. Moments that feel very personal and special make customers feel like the brand truly cares about them. Those are the brand experiences that customers want to tell others about, and that make them keep coming back for more.
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3. Meet customers where they are
Call me, beep me, if you want to reach me. Gone are the days of just phoning into call centers. Today, customers are going straight to the source by reaching out on the channels they’re already using: chat, text, Twitter, Insta, etc. In fact, for companies like Glossier, DMs via social platforms have become the highest volume support channels. And just like IRL, customers expect quick (and consistent) responses wherever they’re reaching out from.
4. Build a customer-first culture
Direct-to-consumer brands have been built around the customer. In fact, many of the most successful companies have every employee, from engineer to marketer to CEO, take a turn in the support seat to understand and empathize with the customer at all times.
5. Create brand advocates
Word-of-mouth buzz is the most powerful, and cost-effective, form of marketing for direct-to-consumer brands. When customers feel like a brand’s support team has gone above and beyond for them, they want to share. Investing in exceptional support is investing in lifetime value, loyalty and love.
Today, customer support isn’t just for crisis moments; it’s what truly differentiates from competitors in crowded, and often commoditized, marketplaces. It needs to be a central part of a brand’s ethos in order for the brand to survive and thrive. The modern consumer has choices. Apply the 5 key customer service principles so that they’ll continue to choose you.