From social media, to review sites and even SEO, the role of digital media has never played such a pivotal part in not only marketing, but increasingly the role of customer service. The way in which consumers can interact with brands is faster, more transparent, and demands a publicly acceptable response or resolution.

Regardless of whether you are an online retail business, a recognised consumer brand on the supermarket shelves, or a local independent hairdresser, these are our top three considerations when adapting your customer service approach to the digi-savvy consumer!

First stop, Google
Google is now not only a general search tool to seek our products and services, it is also the first stop for consumers looking for information to reinforce a potential purchase. This will often direct them to news stories, social media pages and primary review sites such as TripAdvisor.

Unfortunately you cannot expect to escape all negative comments. You can however manage these, by publicly responding to posts and reviews from customers that may have had a bad experience, and turn their feedback into a positive one. For those that Google and stumble across such pages, they will be filled with more confidence in a company that manages its customer service online, rather than ignoring disgruntled members of the public. Which can even add fuel to the online fire!

Social demands an answer, now!
We live in an age where virtually everyone has a smartphone in their pockets, connecting them to just about every aspect of their lives. Consumers expect companies to have knowledge and answers at their fingertips, and often feel like there is no excuse for getting it wrong.

When surveyed about a product or service, 66% of consumers expect a response to their query on the same day, and over 40% expect a reply within the hour. And if they don’t, this only leads to further frustration, and the feeling that their voice is being ignored.

Ensuring your brand is monitored regularly across social media, with set alerts to ensure any queries are dealt with in what is deemed an acceptable time frame and tone, can be the difference between social success, and one of those eye wincing social blunders…

Paying for the convenience of e-commerce?
Paying for delivery costs is no longer accepted standard for shopper, and the additional cost can at times put consumer off when they see the total amount, and will often consider the “all round” price in their decision to purchase. The ease of online means that most consumers will shop around and price match, inclusive of delivery. Similarly, they also want a free, easy route to return items.

Whereas it was once well and truly part of the deal of online shopping, for the consumer, it now seems unfair to pay for an added service like delivery. Companies such as ASOS have introduced premium subscription packages such as unlimited next day delivery for a year, at an extra cost. This not only helps them commercially, but offers those consumers added value and convenience.

Factoring in essential services such as delivery, and how this can work for your business without disrupting consumer satisfaction, is important for digital as it is a common cause for both praise and dismay online.

Consumers are in a more powerful position that ever, and although you cannot manage them, you can manage your online retail pr approach. With the right technology, there’s no reason why any business can’t exceed the rising customer expectations. And with customer service now playing a key differentiator, making customer experience a priority could be the area that sets you apart from your competitors.

Our consumer lifestyle digital PR team specialise in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PR, Food & Drink PR, Consumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at www.escapadepr.com/about-us.