Last updated: Customer service strategies to drive your DTC business

Customer service strategies to drive your DTC business


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Direct to consumer (DTC) is in aggregate, the highest growth channel in consumer products. There are obvious benefits that come with DTC, such as higher gross margin, an ability to pilot new products in controlled, brand-owned spaces, and of course, providing your customers with a sales channel they likely expect.

But DTC success requires operating at scale with a high degree of efficiency and excellent customer experience. The right customer service strategies can help you realize your DTC goals.

Modern service that connects back-office operations to front-office customer engagement can be a catalyst for growth.

Customer service strategies: Building loyalty

Let’s consider the role customer service plays for any business, including DTC. Is it a cost center or a profit center? Does it help you build customer loyalty and advocacy?

Of course, there’s an opportunity for customer service to be a profit center and it’s easy to measure. However, loyalty and advocacy are where customer service really becomes strategic. It can be measured in many ways. One critical measurement is customer lifetime value (CLV).

Servicing your customer at their point of need is an inflection point for CLV every time a person engages with a company.

From self-service to corporate ambassador

Customer service typically begins with self-service. Low cost and often preferred by customers, it’s provided in-app, on the web, and via live channels such as SMS and OTT, chat and voice. But when there’s a need for person-to-person communication, success depends on operational efficiency and service excellence.

Operational efficiency is especially critical at a time when brands are grappling with supply chain issues that have become an everyday reality along with a labor shortage.

As self-service channels have become more intelligent, the role of service agent has been elevated to corporate ambassador. Agents are faced with more complex issues; handled poorly, they can evoke strong customer reactions like:

  • “I was transferred multiple times; I had to repeat myself.”
  • “The agent was very nice and wanted to help, but it seems like they didn’t know how.”

What we want to hear a customer say after a service experience is: “They knew exactly who I was. I got my answer right away and in fact, they had a great suggestion of how it could work even better.”

4 customer service strategies for better DTC

So how do we deliver exceptional experiences that can make your DTC business stand out from the competition?

  1. Use modern servicing to shorten the onboarding of new agents with contextual training, guided service flows, and contextual knowledge articles to ensure service consistency.
  2. Know your customer with a customer record that’s fed with insights from your customer data platform.
  3. Understand, in real-time, how your customer engagement is performing with sentiment analysis.
  4. Service your customers’ needs completely with direct access to back-office systems like billing, warrantees, parts, and inventory.

When a customer service engagement is successful, that person-to-person engagement builds trust. Know the moment to seamlessly shift from supporting to selling with suggestions of complementary offerings.

DTC customer service example

To better see how these strategies can support a DTC business, let’s consider this scenario.

Best Run Coffee has added the DTC business model to recapture market share and meet customers’ changing needs. Angela, a new customer, ordered a coffee maker from the company’s e-commerce site, but received the wrong product. With a house guest coming in two days, she’s ready to go with a different brand, and leave a negative review.

Angela uses self-service to initiate the return, but the proactive chatbot connects her with a live agent, Aaron, who hears her frustration. Angela’s complete customer profile and the returns-specific case flow empower him to pinpoint the issue, get the right machine to her overnight, and lift her mood by offering her a complementary Coffee Lovers’ Chocolate pairing.

Now that Angela’s mood had shifted, the guided workflow alerts Aaron that Angela had checked out the coffee subscription, but never made the purchase. He asks if she’s still interested, offering her a 2-month free trial.

Angela expresses her concern about deliveries as she’s a frequent business traveler. No problem, Aaron will help her schedule the first month’s delivery and share an article that shows how to schedule future delivery in one simple step.

Aaron sends an email confirmation with order tracking, a digital coupon that Angela can share with friends for a the two-month subscription trial offer, and a customer satisfaction survey.

Capitalizing on service

When an order doesn’t arrive, or the wrong item arrives, it’s a dangerous churn point for a DTC business.

Best Run Coffee capitalized on a premium service channel to turn what could have been a lost customer into an opportunity to win loyalty and upsell complementary offerings.

Better agent efficiency, more loyal customers. Get the Aberdeen report to find out how B2B service leaders do it HERE.

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