Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a daily news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate the shopping experience.
The world of business used to run on the model of "product, price, promotion." But the internet caused the world to wake up.
"There was a burnout from marketing promises that didn't work out," said Micah Solomon, customer service consultant and bestselling author, during last month's Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit in San Diego. "Customers stopped believing what your company was saying, unless it matched up to what they were actually experiencing with the brand."
The resulting, post-awakening commercial environment is no longer driven purely by carefully crafted and corporately-driven marketing messages — it's now driven by humans, three types of them in fact.
"The three H's that determine whether your marketing message will work in the real world are: Humans that they [the consumer] know in the real world; humans they interact with in your company; and humans they interact with online," said Mr. Solomon.
While the three-H world is a treacherous place to be, retailers have unprecedented power within it, as long as they know where to start with exemplary customer service.
Beyond beginning with a perfect product that resonates with the customer coupled with caring and friendly delivery, addressing consumer's time urgency is another key step to delivering better customer service. Nordstrom and its personal shopper program, along with Apple Genius Bar's personalized appointments are examples of brands valuing customer's time.
Going even further, what Mr. Solomon calls the "Italian Mama Method" can woo deeper customer loyalty in the problem resolution process.
"You need the Italian mama — you want to channel her," he said. "If you think of a caring parent, maybe even an over-caring parent, one that kisses your 'ouchy' — that's how you need to be with your customers."
A personal experience with Lego was provided.
"My daughter was two-thirds of the way through building her scale model of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece Falling Water when she came to me and said she was missing two pieces," Mr. Solomon said. "We went on the Lego website and found that they had a no-questions policy for replacing or supplying missing pieces."
And Lego also successfully bandaged the missing piece boo-boo with a personal letter of apology.
The importance of anticipation — giving the customer something they want before they have to ask for it - was also stressed although it needs to be intricately tied to the person delivering that service. Five traits that humans should have for providing the perfect preemptive package include:
Has human-interaction has become more or less important in helping brand's connect in the digital age?