ERA D2C Wrap-Up Part 1: Keep Your Eyes on the Road and Your Contact Center “Trendy”

ERA-Part-1

“Stop looking in your rearview mirror to see how things have been done in the past…Look through your windshield to see what is coming down the road ahead.” This statement made by Jeff Tobe, certified speaker and “The Guru of Creativity,” really stuck with me following his keynote at last month’s ERA D2C event. He challenged the audience to step outside of their comfort zone and position themselves more creatively than ever before in order to create a “competitive edge” in the direct response industry.

His message rings true when it comes to social media’s role in retail and direct response. While voice and chat channels are still the most widely used in the retail contact center, brands need to turn their focus to the opportunities that lie farther down the road. Social media customer service may be top of mind for retailers these days, but it is evident that many brands are still struggling with how to utilize these channels and enable their talent to provide best-in-class customer service in public forums. They are also struggling with creating their own army of Super Agents, a new breed of agents that are well-versed in delivering exceptional customer service through every communication channel.

Mingling on the show floor and attending conference sessions confirmed that attendees – not just exhibitors – were definitely in tune with the ever-increasing need to embrace the social trend. During the Masters Series Session “D2C Social Media Marketing: The New Frontier” with Michele Tivey of SMT Media, it was established that 70 percent of attendees were promoting their brand and products on social networks, but a whopping 90 percent conceded that they needed to do a better job of utilizing these channels for customer service. Participants agreed that communicating with customers through their preferred channel, whether it be voice, email, chat or social, is critical to improving satisfaction and ensuring customer retention. This feedback echoes the findings from LiveOps’ research conducted earlier this year, which found that 89 percent of consumers believe it is important to be able to communicate with brands on any channel and receive consistent quality and efficiency of response. So what’s holding brands back?

This need to elevate customer service into a competitive differentiator creates a unique opportunity for all retail and DR brands. They simply need to quit looking to the past and, instead, focus on adapting to the trends of the future, which are shaping customer service as we know it.

Stay tuned! There’s more to come on our own CEO’s presentation in Part Two of my ERA D2C blog series.

–          Ann Ruckstuhl, SVP and CMO, LiveOps

 Photo copyright of ERA.

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