TECHNOLOGY

This generation is most tolerant of poor customer service

BY Marianne Wilson

Millennials are the most patient generation of all.

Millennials are prepared to wait the longest times before getting agitated and are less likely to complain when things go awry, according to a study examining customer service experiences and expectations by Jive Communications.

The average 18-to-35-year-old was happy to wait 11 minutes on hold on the phone before their mood began to sour. That is 38% longer than respondents over the age of 55 who wait just eight minutes before becoming flustered and upset.

Millennials are also the most likely to forgive and forget — with 39% willing to return to a business if they experienced bad customer service there in the past. Only 23% of those over the age of 55 would do the same. But a unified 78% of Americans say they are likely to complain about any negative customer service experience they have dealt with.

The research by Jive showed that when it comes to being on hold with a customer service representative, nine minutes was the average acceptable wait time. In fact, nine minutes was also the average expected wait time for all Americans waiting for a drink at a restaurant or bar.

Additional survey findings include:

• Being transferred to multiple people is the biggest frustration that most Americans (55%) face when interacting with a customer service representative.

• Sixty-eight percent would expect some sort of free product or service from the brand after receiving bad customer service.

• Fifty-four are not very likely to return to an establishment or business after experiencing bad customer service.

• Seventy-six percent have — at least once in their lifetime — asked to speak to a manager due to poor customer service that they were either experiencing at the time or had experienced relatively recently.

• Fifty-four percent are not very likely to return to an establishment or business after experiencing bad customer service.

• The best way to gauge whether a company has good customer service? An overwhelming 82% of respondents claimed that friendly personnel was the answer.

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Rack Room Shoes steps up its digital messaging strategy

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A specialty retailer is exploring the next phase of its digital engagement journey — targeting social media communications.

Family footwear retailer Rack Room Shoes has been stepping up its digital communications efforts, with a goal of delivering more personalized messages via email, SMS texts and push notifications, and, in the near future, social media engagement. But the retailer wasn’t always on top of its digital messaging game.

Self-described as “late to the game” when it comes to digital engagement, Rack Room launched a loyalty program in 2013. However, pulling data from multiple sources — from POS and sales data to loyalty-specific data and SMS text lists — made it difficult to coordinate information and send personalized, “smart communications” to its 6 million members.

A very manual process further exacerbated targeted marketing efforts. Rather than reward customers for their shopping behavior, members only earned a discount once they hit a specific points threshold. Outgoing messages were often impersonal, mass emails — and not strong enough to drive consistent open rates or sales conversions.

“We were data rich, but nothing was actionable,” explained Scott Baldt, senior director of omnichannel of Rack Room Shoes, which is also the parent company of Off Broadway Shoes. “We realized that if we wanted to be successful, we needed to take our accumulated consumer data, and use it to create actionable results.”

Baldt wanted to create more personal and relevant email communications across both brands — and he wanted to use stored data to fuel the experience. He also needed to organize and merge customer information from all touch points into a single repository, a move that would make it easier to design targeted marketing campaigns and “increase the productivity of the messages we were sending,” Baldt added.

That’s when Rack Room added Salesforce’s cloud-based Marketing Cloud platform, a customer engagement solution designed to automate email communications based on customer segmentation.

With the new solution, all customer communications are now based on shoppers’ online and in-store transactions, as well as in-store order fulfillment. Once the messages are designed, the platform can conduct subject line testing, aid in customer segmentation analysis for more personalized engagement, and automate the delivery of content.

As individual members hit spending thresholds, they automatically receive an emailed reward based on their behavior. Rack Room also drives engagement through additional messages that count down the reward’s expiration — messages that are delivered via email, or text messages and push notifications.

Since launching the platform in October 2015, company’s loyalty base has jumped to 14 million members. Despite this increase, the automated platform has slashed the time Rack Room’s CRM team spends building and sending emails by 40%.

“We have also doubled our engagement,” Baldt reported. “We used to send an average of 2.3 non-targeted, mass emails per week. Now we send an average of 4.3 promotional, styled emails per week, and click rates are strong.”

Looking ahead, Baldt’s team plans to step up social media engagement. While the company collects information on these digital customer interactions to create targeted messages, “we engage these customers in an unsophisticated manner,” he said. “We share segmented files of CRM data with the digital marketing team to create targeted messages, but the process is very manual.”

Baldt envisions using the platform to create automated posts on social media — especially Facebook. These posts would contain relevant content targeted to specific members.

While there is no solid plan of a launch date, Baldt is eyeing the end of 2018.

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Report: Business division consolidations could be to blame for Amazon layoffs

BY CSA Staff

An online giant is working on merging two consumer retail business units — but at the expense of its workforce.

Amazon is working on consolidating its Amazon Prime Now and AmazonFresh divisions — a move that is believed to have caused this week’s layoffs at the company’s headquarters, according to Yahoo Finance.

The merger of these two consumer retail business units could eventually streamline a delivery experience for Whole Foods Market, which the company acquired last year. However, the report speculates that this consolidation spurred the unprecedented layoff that impacted “several hundred” employees at its headquarters earlier this week.

The effort to combine Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Fresh is expected to be completed by the end of this year, the report said.

To read more, click here.

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