Promoting your business

5 innovative customer service practices that build brand loyalty

Whether you’re a sole trader or larger business, customer service is a big deal. It's so important, in fact, that 75% of customers say customer experience is an important factor in their decision to buy – just behind price and quality. 

It can mean the difference between success and mediocrity and can be a key driver for brand loyalty.

As the online world exposes customers to a greater choice of vendors, more brands have begun using innovative, out-of-the-box strategies to improve their customer service and help them stand out from the crowd. Here are five clever examples.

1. Interacting with GIFs

It’s hard to believe Facebook only introduced the GIF button in 2015, which only speaks for the popularity of these incredibly relatable, animated images. While there may have been some hesitation about using them as a means of communication in a professional setting, more brands are incorporating them in their customer interactions.

One great example of how GIFs can improve the customer experience and drive engagement is the Gold Coast brand HiSmile. The teeth whitening business regularly uses cheeky GIFs to respond to customer comments on social media. As they like to put it, “sometimes we're savage, and sometimes we're sweet”. Either way, their audience is loving it.

2. Feedback Fridays

Instead of being reactive when it comes to customer complaints, a growing number of savvy brands are actively using their social channels to ask for feedback. What would you like to see more of? What don’t you like? What can we do better?

It sounds simple enough, but it’s a great strategy to boost engagement and find out exactly what your customers want. Domino’s Australia, for example, introduced themed Feedback Fridays. They pick people's brains on everything from menu changes to ingredients, with a single post generating almost 2,000 comments.

3. 'Everyone matters' attitude

A recent survey found that 83% of people expect brands to respond to comments on social media within 24 hours. They don’t expect an immediate fix, but they want to feel ‘heard’.

Despite operating in one of the most demanding global industries, AirAsia has built an outstanding customer support system. With over three million likes on Facebook, the company has an immense influx of comments each day. However, they still make a point of responding to as many comments as possible, at all hours of the day, with helpful links and always-friendly advice.

4. Dedicated social handles for support

Setting up dedicated social handles for customer support keeps marketing messages separate from complaints and helps brands to better respond to customer needs. Including the handle in the brand's main social profiles shows customers where to go for help and to sort service enquiries from other social interactions.

Streaming giant Spotify goes one step further by letting customers know what they need to know to help them. A brief description in their Twitter bio asks customers to provide details on their mobile device with their queries, or send direct messages for payment-related questions.

5. Making it seamless

Great customer service is frictionless, and today's smart tech can make it even more so. Burger chain Grill’d is one smart business that loves to take advantage of digital solutions to improve their customers' experience.

The brand has recently introduced a new takeaway offering that makes collecting your order even smoother. Called ‘SwingBy’, the initiative allows customers to notify the restaurant team when they’re close by, so a team member can be ready with their takeaway order outside the door.

According to PWC, 80% of Australians say they want more human interaction in the future, not less. Technology is well placed to help us do that, so brands can inject a more personal touch into their customer service solutions. That's when you have the best chance of building more customer loyalty towards your brand.

Keen to do more to grow your business? Here’s how to use customer data for marketing purposes.

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