In episode 118 of the Customers Who Click podcast I sat down with Neil Forrest, the Strategic Partner Manager at Gorgias, one of the most popular customer support platforms in the ecommerce space right now.
A lot of businesses treat customer service as a cost centre, its just something that has to be done. But there’s actually so much opportunity to help the business grow by both converting, and retaining customers. And while it probably shouldnt be treated as a sales team, its absolutely possible to measure the impact good customer service has on revenue.
The key thing that people agreed on was doubling down on retention.
Its looking more and more likely that we’re going to head into a difficult period, so its absolutely crucial that businesses do whatever they can to convert customers, and importantly retain them. Retained customers are significantly cheaper to generate extra revenue from, so once you’ve got people through the door, make sure you keep them.
Neil is the strategic partner manager at Gorgias, an ecommerce focused customer support platform. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or head over to https://www.gorgias.com/.
01:04 - 02:02 - Biggest Opportunities for D2C Growth - Neil actually posted about this on LinkedIn and the answer that came back was retention, doubling down on retention. Community, customer service, and conversion rate optimisation are all high on peoples agendas right now to get customers through the door, and then keep them retained.
02:37 - 10:17 - What Does Good Customer Service Look Like? - Good customer service can be measured using several metrics. First response time, resolution time, how many tickets are automated, how many channels are integrated, and revenue generated. Only about 3% of brands meet all the criteria for top customer service, and some of thi is quite challenging to do, they’re not easy setups. The majority of brands sit around level 2 of 5 though, so theres huge room for improvement, and quite a lot of that can be driven by automation.
The average response time for a lot of brands is 12 hours, with a resolution time of 17. Thats a ridiculously long time these given the ease of access to competitors. If you can’t answer my question pre-purchase, im just going to go buy elsewhere.
10:26 - 11:22 - Multi-Channel Customer Service - Gorgias integrates with a lot these days. Email, phone, SMS, live chat, Facebook posts, Facebook messenger, instagram posts, DMs, and soon Whatsapp. It might sound a bit overwhelming, but you can automate alot of initial responses, and really, you need to be where the customer is. These are all important channels, and lots of people prefer to contact a brand through those channels because thats where they hang out. If someone checks Instagram 20 times a day they’re more likely to see your response than in the email inbox they check once.
12:59 - 33:24 - How to Monetise Customer Service - Revenue comes into play when you get a lot of pre-purchase inquiries. Now arguably, these questions should be dealt with on-site, but there’s always going to be some information missing, or someone has a specific use case for your product in mind so they want to check if it will work for them. In these cases, if you can answer quickly and effectively, this has a high chance of then leading to a conversion. That conversion can then be partially attributed to customer service, showing you the value of responding quickly. In Neils example, a company improved their revenue generated through customer service by over 80% because they got theright systems in place.
In Gorgias, roughly one third of tickets are pre-purchase. So if that applies to every business, there’s a huge amount of opportunity to be converting customers.
24:17 - 27:54 - How Does Good Customer Service Contribute to Retention - If one third of inquiries are pre-purchase, that means the other two thirds are post purchase. So these are customers who have questions they need help with, after they have made a purchase. This is where retention comes in. You still need to answer these questions quickly and efficiently. Simply being fast in your responses is enough to impact retention, particularly when its subscription based. Customers don’t want to wait around, because they’ll end up cancelling their subscription because they don’t want to risk it re-newing before they have an answer.
38:45 - 41:57 - Missed Opportunities with Customer Service - Two main things, be fast, and be on social media. Being fast on that first response will make a huge improvement because it lets customers know youre reacting to the inquiry. Being on social media is important because a lot of brands arent. Responding to DMs is great, but if youre also responding to comments on posts, not only does it help with the post itself, but everyone else can see you answering questions and being active in the community. The benefit of a platform like Gorgias is you can do it from the platform, you dont have to be logging in to every separate social channel.
45:56 - 46:37 - How to Keep Improving Customer Service - Use the best tech available, and use the data available. Leveraging tech will make your life so much easier, while that data can be used to improve multiple other areas of the business.
47:21 - Who Would Neil Like to Take For Lunch in the D2C Marketing World?
Neil Patel and Gary Vaynerchuck
50:09 - Neil’s Must-Have Ecommerce Tools: