A Chinese city has divided a sidewalk on one of its busiest streets into two lanes -- one for cellphone users and the other for those without. Chongqing painted the lines on busy sidewalk to avoid "potential safety hazards." Non classé

While Europe is still discussing whether E-commerce is a good or a bad thing, China is already running ahead with a highly digitalized environment, people’s lifestyle has changed greatly. Look around you: you can get food ingredients delivered in 3 hours, just in time for dinner; Empty taxis are ignoring customers on the street because they are running for the customers who called them through applications; You can pay with your phone in any convenience store, without having cash on you… Higher digitalization brings great benefit, but benefit is not just making payments easier, it’s also servicing those intangible, but still important needs such as customer service.

CHANGE FOR THE NEW TYPE OF CUSTOMER

Traditional ways to provide customer service can be through a face to face contact or by call center, either way communication is the key. Today, we are facing a brand new type of customer: digitalized consumers, who are tightly linked with internet and willing to learn about products and brands through websites and social channels. According to the survey conducted by TNS Global market research company, 44% of adults use the web to share complains about products, and 57% of consumers prefer searching online to solve customer service issues.

Compared to the traditional customers, those digitalized customers have higher demands for good service: they desire a conversation with the brand rather than one-way ad messages, they want brands to listen, engage and respond quickly, and, according to the information provided by Socialbeta, they are also willing to spend 21% more for good service. The following chart shows that digitalized consumers have a much stronger influence power than traditional consumers and they cannot be ignored.

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So how to improve the customer service to meet those digitalized consumers’ standards in the digital environment?

1. INTEGRATION WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

In the digital era, social media is changing the landscape of customer service, more and more brands are transforming themselves from traditional CRM to SCRM (Social Customer Relationship Management). Using social media, brands are able to build direct connection with consumers and customize the service according to their needs.

ALCON CASE: Using WeChat to Provide Customised Service

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The global eye care leader brand Alcon is trying to use both Website and WeChat platforms to build the direct link with its customers: A complete loyalty program is integrated into their WeChat.

Alcon established a customizable service solution that enables push notifications when the users’ contact lenses or lens cleanser are soon to expire, check the status of orders, provide 1-to-1 online consultation and redeem points to be rewarded.

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To improve the member conversion rate, Alcon launched serval promotion plans to activate the existing members from the old CRM database, encourage them to be active in the new platform and recommend new members in order to earn more points. By the end of the activity, Alcon successfully gained nearly 20,000 active members. Thanks to these online activities, Alcon managed to collect customer data that allowed the brand to analyze the members profile, in order to develop activities for different types of customer.

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2. CONNECT ONLINE AND OFFLINE

We observed how Chinese digitalized consumers intend to find solutions online first, when they have a problem related to products or brands. For this reason, companies need to tear down the wall between online and offline to provide integrated solutions in order to have efficient and convenient customer services.

JABSEN CASE: Book Online, Service Offline

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Jebsen, a major Porsche dealer launched an APP to deliver a premium customer experience based on a exclusive service approach. With a registered Porsche car, customers can book service appointments 24/7 such as roadside assistance, car maintenance… Once the appointment has been booked through the application, customers will receive the confirmation call, allowing them to follow-up every step of the process in the application.

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3. OPEN CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

Follow-up with your customers doesn’t only mean to deal with their complains, but also carefully listen to the conversation, join the conversation, and smartly lead the conversation. An efficient two-way communication can result in an unprecedented level of authenticity and credibility to the brands.

LEXUS CASE: Create Conversation with Customers to Build-up the Brand Trust

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Lexus Sweden is trying to work with retailers together to identify productive ways to address customers’ problems with the brand by monitoring the users’ complains online. The marketing manger was also conducting phone interview directly with the car owners on a regular basis. Lexus Sweden is not only listening to the online conversation, they are taking a further step:

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Lexus Sweden found a way to use customer reviews collected from different channels to increase the brand credibility and trustworthiness. One can find twitter quotes and listen to phone interviews from customers on their website homepage. “We communicate with reviews instead of just using traditional marketing because authentic customer commentary is more trustworthy,” explains Drakenberg, Marketing Manager of Lexus Sweden.

This campaign proved itself successful: 99% of reviewers said that they would recommend their friends to buy a Lexus car.

4. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR CUSTOMERS

In this new era of high mobility of people and information, thanks to the Internet and a sensibly improved global wealth condition, people managed to tear down the barriers of space and time that set them apart. Under this premise, companies found themselves in the need of building the capabilities to track their customers and efficiently communicate with them, borderless and at the right time.

BURBERRY CASE: Create Borderless Customer Experience

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The program called “customer 360” is a powerful tool developed to track customer information:

The system can record every purchase made at any Burberry store in the world and link it to the specific customer profile. Every store can have access to this information in order to provide a more personalized customer service.

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By using this program, a Burberry shop assistant in England can instantly learn what a customer purchased during their trip in Paris, and even what they said about Burberry on Social Media.

PUT THE CUSTOMERS AT THE CENTER OF YOUR BUSINESS

Yes, it is challenging to provide good customer service in the digital era, but there are also inestimable opportunities: all the new digital tools allow companies to connect customers more directly and more efficiently with a much lower cost than before.

We can argue that today’s economy entered a customer-driven era, so it’s essential for companies to provide fast and good customer service by adjusting their technologies and corporate culture to meet a new generation of customers’ expectations. The key for companies to survive the battle in the digital era is to PUT THE CUSTOMERS AT THE CENTER OF THEIR BUSINESS, and changing the mindset about customer service is only part of this process.

If you want to know more on how to do business in the digital era, we will be pleased to see you at our Digital Transformation Seminar on the 19th of November, hosted by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (Shanghai).

For more information about the seminar please contact: marion@equancy.com.cn


Avatar de Ben Tian
Ben Tian

With a strong background in audiovisual production in Shanghai, Ben combines creative and digital skills with local insight. Curious and open-minded, he is always in pursuit of the latest trends and market innovation. He likes to think straight and deliver sharp market behaviors analysis while predicting new coming trends.

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