DTC brands failing customers

QUICK READ: Many DTC brands are failing customers because of poor customer service. Amazon.com has set the bar high and people want to be treated like valuable customers, not just numbers.

Wayfair, the DTC furniture retailer, has a wait time of over 45 minutes if you want to speak to customer service. Dollar Shave Club take over two weeks to send an initial order and consumers are complaining on social media about meal delivery services who refuse to terminate customers accounts and keep on billing them.

Contrast that with a new start-up called nuts.com. They ship quickly, say thank you and provide outstanding customer service. It takes investment in the customer experience to be a DTC brand.

DTC brands are in trouble.

Why? Because Amazon.com has the bar so high that most can’t rise to that level of customer service.  Hyken.com interviewed more than 1,000 consumers in our 2020 Achieving Customer Amazement Study and asked about their willingness to switch brands or companies for better customer service. The response was a resounding “yes” to switching, in that 96% of customers will leave you for bad service. That’s almost everyone!

What DTC brands are forgetting is that “the customer decides if you meet and/or exceed their expectations. And, that means they decide if you fail as well. You may think you deliver great service, but in the end, the customer is the judge and jury”.

When it comes to customer service, your customers are smarter than ever. They know what good service is because the best companies have taught them. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Nordstrom, The Ritz-Carlton, and others that are recognized as customer service rock stars in their industries promise great service—and they deliver. As a result, they have educated our customers on what they can expect when they deal with an excellent company.

The survey asked those same consumers if they would be willing to pay more for customer service, and the answer was predictable: 62%. What makes this interesting is that convenience beats customer service. Consider the power of a good customer service experience that is also convenient. This is a combination that will set you apart from your competitors.

What channels of communication do customers prefer?

The survey asked customers what channels of communication they prefer to use when contacting a company for support.

Is it a surprise that the telephone came in as the number one channel customers prefer to use? It beat out email with a substantial 16.3% lead. Self-service came in at number three, showing that customers would rather help themselves than be forced to interact with channels such as social media, brand apps, and chatbots.

Texting came in at number four, just barely after self-service. Chatbots and brand apps followed and, surprisingly, social media ranked dead last for preferred use.

There was a 14.2% difference between social media and the next lowest ranking channel (brand apps). This is significant. Reports over the past 10 years have indicated that social media has become a strong channel; however, respondents indicated here that it is their least favorite. They still believe that social media is growing in popularity, however, so they cannot discount the importance of companies monitoring their social media presence. Even if it is the least popular channel, it is still the one that is most visible to the rest of the world.

The lessons are simple:

1ne: Make customer service a priority and empower customer service people to solve customer problems.

2wo: If your wait time, to speak to a customer service person is longer than five minutes you need to add people.

3hree: Shipping should be fast and reliable. Waiting over 2 weeks for an initial order is unacceptable.

4our: Clearly have contact information on your website including a phone number and email. It shouldn’t take more than one day to answer an email.

5ive: Every DTC brand should have a customer experience officer. There is no excuse to overlook this function.

6ix: All it takes is one bad customer experience to lose a valuable brand advocate. Can you afford that?

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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