The luxury brand experience is not just about the leather being softer, or the shoes being more comfortable. It’s about the sensations, feelings and behavioral responses evoked by the brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.
What can we take from the luxury goods in-store experience to apply to any brand’s customer experience (CX) over the phone?
Think about the interactions you’ve had with a luxury brand or when purchasing high ticket items. How did you feel?
The people there knew everything about the item you were considering. They helped you with something before you even knew you needed help. They had all the time in the world.
So, how can your brand deliver a “white-glove” customer experience without necessarily being a luxury brand? Here are some recommended strategies:
Be an expert
Customers like dealing with experts – they feel more comfortable with their decisions and they are less likely to feel buyer’s remorse. Agents need to have deep knowledge of your product lines and how to make recommendations for the customer. This enables the agent to become a trusted advisor, helping the customer through their journey and offering additional products that make sense for their individual needs.
Don’t let them wait too long
Luxury goods stores have on average a minimum of a one to one ratio of salesperson to customer. Many even have guards at the door to prevent more than one customer entering at a time. Survey your customers - are they rating you “average” or “poor” because of their wait on the phone? Then adjust it!
Give them all the time they need
You don’t have to be a luxury brand to provide white-glove service. Zappos (an Amazon subsidiary) doesn’t pay attention to AHT (average customer handling time) – they once helped a customer on the phone for 10 hours straight! Extra time spent helping customers over the phone, in a chat window, over email, or on social media will be paid back many times over by a lifetime of brand loyalty.
Luxury-goods salespeople know how to lend an ear when hearing your complaints. No story is too trivial to elicit a knowing nod. Empathy is the key to establishing customer relationships - which translates into customers choosing you as their travel provider in the future. Have your agents practice it in role play and through training simulations.
If you’ve ever shopped at a luxury store, you know the salesperson won’t let you leave without giving you their card and asking for your email and phone to alert you of any sales or special deals. Being proactive helps them rack up sales that may have gone to another associate or store.
Proactive customer service is essential due to ongoing shifts in customer demographics and preferences among Gen-Xers and millennials (who mostly rely on email, social media, and text messages). You can proactively reach out to customers via automated voice, email or text. Find a good reason to keep in contact, whether it’s tips on items that may be of interest, a welcome call, or just a reminder about bill payment.
Treat your customers as if you are a luxury brand, and you will increase your brand loyalty and advocacy, as well as reduce call center inbound call volume.