It goes without saying the majority of today’s businesses’ transactions happen digitally. In retail, we saw the shift from brick-and-mortar to online, and we’re increasingly seeing the shift from desktop to mobile. In fact, according to Google, the internet is now mobile-first, as consumers are choosing to browse the internet on their phones rather than their desktops, leading to additional avenues of potential personal hacking.
E-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, according to a study by Shopify. As e-commerce business grows, companies also position themselves for a greater risk of receiving cyberthreats and costs associated to responding to those threats. For example, when Sony was hacked a few years ago, it spent about $170 million to clean up the hackers’ harm to protect its customers. In today’s digital economy, businesses must put a stronger emphasis behind winning and maintaining the trust of customers, especially in the event a cyber breach occurs.
While the initial instinct of a business is to scale customer numbers, it’s equally as important to scale customer trust — especially in the event your customer experience (CX) teams need to act fast to respond to a cyber breach. So how can your e-commerce company break away from the pack and use its CX teams to appease customer concerns? Consider adopting the following tips to find success in times of crisis.
Build a Team That Will Deliver Great CX
Offering a fast and helpful customer experience in a time of crisis can be attributed back to the team you’ve built and trained. Take it from Aisling Hassell, global head of customer experience at Airbnb — don’t compromise on the hiring process. In choosing your CX team, it’s crucial to hire employees who support your company’s mission, and are eager to work hard and fast to solve problems. In a department like customer service that works to create personalized experiences, Airbnb makes it a point to not rely on the traditional interview process. Rather, the company goes a step beyond to take potential hires to coffee or dinner, and analyze their personalities further to ensure they’re suited for the front line.
Keeping Your Customers Calm in a Time of Crisis
Strong customer communication is crucial at all stages of CX — especially in times of security and crisis. A strong customer communication skill set requires being proactive with your customer, maintaining full honesty and transparency, and doing what’s right for the customer. Proactivity doesn’t stop at communication with your customers; it’s essential that your team is working tirelessly to shut down security breaches from an internal standpoint.
Vivino, the world’s largest online wine library, has 27 million active users who engage and interact with the company’s app to receive real-time and personal recommendations for any occasion. Chad Boonsupa, global vice president of customer experience at Vivino, discusses how the company’s e-commerce model finds success through its partnerships with trusted third-party vendors. Because of these relationships, Vivino is able to move swiftly and communicate accurately with customers to ensure their orders will be delivered. The company aims to provide an end-to-end experience, behind the scenes, working to keep the supply chain flowing for a positive customer experience.
Using Partners to Meet Customer Needs
Communication and partnerships are a large part of life; the same goes for business. Finding the right partner is a process, and one that should be taken seriously. You may be hesitant to outsource a portion of your company, but there are partners out there that have business models that were built to assist companies like yours in strengthening customer service departments.
In choosing a partner, weigh your options and align with a company that has similar values and personality to yours. Most times, we see companies who have multiple CX platforms and services — consolidate those. Working seamlessly across departments on one platform increases efficiency and speed of responding to customer issues.
Entering the e-commerce market is a choice to not be taken lightly, as it’s a space that poses greater risk to encounter cyber hacks. Furthermore, it’s a space where you can have a constant flow of customer communication (and problems) at any moment. Executives have the responsibility to get ahead of CX and security issues by hiring a skilled team that has been instilled with tactics on how to keep customers reassured during the most stressful situations. If you’re looking for some extra attention to your CX model, like Shippo and Vivino, weigh the option of working with a BPO partner that meets your needs and matches your company’s culture. Working with a partner has a history of making businesses succeed.
This article first appeared in Total Retail on May 3rd, 2018.