5 Expert Customer Service Lessons for Retail

Charlie Mitchell

Pura Vida Bracelets boasts a CSAT score of over 95 percent. Here are five service lessons that helped it achieve this remarkable result

5 Expert Customer Service Lessons for Retail

Trends such as conversational AI, hyper-personalization, and agent experience are changing customer service.

Many businesses have quickly acted on these trends. But, few have had the success of Pura Vida Bracelets, which now boasts a customer satisfaction score of 95 percent.

At NRF Nexus 2022, Andrea Paul, Director of Content and Research at Kustomer, sat down with Dan Brady, Customer Success Manager at Pura Vida Bracelets, to discuss the retailer’s secrets for success.

From the conversation, five expert customer service lessons for retail emerged.

1. Move Over Customer Service, Think Customer Success

Customer service is not all about post-transaction problem-solving. Some contact centers strive to offer a strong, supportive hand across the customer journey.

Such thinking is still a novelty. Yet, by connecting siloed data, leading the digital charge, and driving the voice of the customer (VoC) across the business, service operations can become the cornerstone of CX.

Pura Vida Bracelets has embraced this new customer service vision, giving the contact center a highly strategic role within CX. As Brady says:

“We’re not just about servicing our customers, providing responses, and solving inquiries. For us, making customers successful also involves relaying feedback to the right departments, so we can offer better service in the future and make better products.”

In line with the trend, CRM systems will evolve, pushing past the boundaries of customer service and sales teams and into the broader tech stack, bringing valuable customer data into the broader enterprise.

For example, consider the possible marketing applications as the department gains more insights into the success of its campaigns and call to actions (CTAs).

2. Dip Your Toe Into the Conversational AI Waters

Many retailers are skeptical of bots, understanding the importance of providing personalized service and a human touch. After all, people like speaking to people.

However, for handling basic queries – such as: “Where is my order?” And: “Can I make a return or exchange?” – they deliver the rapid response times that customers crave all the time.

In the case of Pura Vida Bracelets, conversational AI resolves between 15 and 20 percent of contacts.

Does the solution automate the nitty-gritty queries? No, but the retailer does not risk the additional deployment complexity. Instead, it chooses a more customer-friendly approach.

Indeed, it has implemented a chatbot that collects customer information for advocates upfront – no matter whether the customer uses a mobile, tablet, or desktop device. This includes the contact reason, order numbers, and other insights pertinent to the intent. As Brady says:

“It is collecting the information that you’d otherwise be telling the advocate once you get connected. So, by the time the advocate is chatting with people, they already know what is most important.”

Since deploying this bot solution – powered by Kustomer – Pura Vida Bracelets has recorded a 25 percent growth in advocate productivity, a 50 percent reduction in handling times, and CSAT has also improved.

3. Prepare for a Personalized Future

As Gabe Larsen, VP of Marketing at Kustomer, told CX Today: “Many companies now realize that an internet connection is not the same as a personal connection.”

Pura Vida is one such business, harnessing personalization to power not only its interactions but its product range too, offering personalized engravable items to create lifelong customers.

Yet, most of its personalization initiatives are highly data-driven. Indeed, it works with Kustomer to create a central platform to store purchasing, conversational, and sentiment insights. Such a resource is a goldmine for advocates.

However, it also enables further hyper-personalization strategies. These include custom pricing, automatic form-filling, and contextualized, proactive alerts.

In facilitating such use cases, Kustomer creates close relationships with brands like Pura Vida Bracelets to reimagine retail experiences.

4. Build a Brand Personality That Guides Customer Success

Developing a brand personality that stands out helps to create a coherent voice for advocates to emulate. Although it may differ across channels, customer success can lay the groundwork and decide when it is best to lean into particular aspects of the personality.

Of course, customer service fundamentals – such as empathy – are critical when dealing with serious queries and upset customers. Yet, a personality helps retailers build their character and is something the team can have fun with.

Sharing Pura Vida’s approach, Brady says:

“Pura Vida is a phrase that typifies values like live free, do good, be kind, representing the laid-back Costa Rican lifestyle. From a brand voice perspective, we try to pass that along to our customers.”

“In all of our pre-written responses – whether it’s social, email, or chat – we want to keep it less formal… and represent the brand how it is intended to be.”

Filling advocates with the confidence to express this brand voice and personality is critical. Support tools and a complete customer view will increase agent confidence in handling issues while empowering teams to take the best next action at scale.

5. Shift from “Agents” and “Reps” to “Advocates”

“It represents more than advocating for a brand; it represents advocating for customers,” says Brady.

Indeed, an advocate goes beyond representing the business and servicing customers on its behalf. A customer advocate also relays messages from customers to management.

These may include messages such as: “Customers would like us to reconsider this policy,” or: “Customers have asked us to provide this shipping option.” Agents like to have that voice, and retailers must take the time to listen to and act on it.

Discussing the Pura Vida Bracelets’ approach, Brady adds:

“Many businesses continuously collect and monitor customer feedback. For us, it’s the same for our employees. We always find out what we can do to make the team happier – whether that is through growth opportunities, leadership training, or better support technology.”

In taking this approach, the retailer achieved a 96 percent employee satisfaction score, nurturing positivity that advocates pass on to customers.

Uncover More Insights from Kustomer

Kustomer often engages with its customers to share best practices – like these five retail lessons – with a wider audience.

In doing so, the leading CRM provider, which is now part of Meta, offers a library of CX research papers, webinars, and infographics.

To delve deeper into its customer-driven content, visit: www.kustomer.com/resources


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