What makes customers give 5* feedback? Insights from 4 leading retailers
Warren Buffet once said that it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it. For some retailers, five minutes could be a generous estimate – if potential customers are researching Trustpilot ratings and don’t like what they see.
95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, making 5* ratings more important than ever. Every retailer has their own, unique perspective on what makes a great customer relationship, but there are some traits that are common to all brands with an excellent customer service reputation.
To help more retailers gain 5* feedback, we spoke to four industry leaders that regularly achieve top marks with consumers. We’ve collated the full interviews in a new ebook: The Secret to Outstanding Customer Service, which is available to download now. Here are a few of the most important soundbites from our discussions…
“We praise our colleagues' commitment and encourage their input, advocating two-way communication.”
Julie Abraham, CEO, Richer Sounds
When it comes to the standard bearer for great customer experiences, it’s hard to think beyond Richer Sounds. The company has built its brand on customer service and retention, and what interested us was CEO Julie Abraham’s focus on colleagues.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a customer-centric business such as Richer Sounds puts the customer at the heart of everything, but the electronics retailer puts a huge emphasis on its employees. The wellbeing, progression and opinions of colleagues are highly important, and Abraham’s senior team actively encourage feedback and suggestions from everyone.
“Success does not mean getting the customer to buy something once - it's about encouraging them to repeatedly buy from us."
Andrew Parkhouse, Operations Director, Axminster Tools & Machinery
In a specialist sector like tools and machinery, brand affinity can make a huge difference to the bottom line, and Axminster Tools understands that impressive customer experiences are built over several visits.
It’s relatively easy to get something right once, but what keeps customers coming back to Axminster is the confidence that they will receive the same product quality and smooth service experience every time. And interestingly, they weren’t the only 5* rated retailer that preached the benefits of consistency.
“You need a scalable structure. Otherwise you can’t grow as a business."
Matthew Lawson, Chief Digital Officer, Ribble Cycles
The cycling community is close-knit, which means a bad review can travel far. With this in mind, Ribble Cycles understands that its customer service levels cannot suffer as its business grows, and that means building a future-proof infrastructure.
What makes Ribble’s challenge especially interesting is that the scalable structure concept works on so many levels. Every bike is custom-made, involving hundreds of components, which need to be available and accessible as order numbers rise; and equally, the front-of-house service and marketing standards need to remain constant, as more and more consumers explore the Ribble brand.
“If something goes wrong, we want prompt answers."
Jeffrey Doltis, Managing Director, The Savile Row Company
It’s easy to think that 5* rated retailers got their score because they never go wrong, but the truth of the matter is that mishaps occur in every organisation. In a company that is known for high-end products and customer service, like The Savile Row Company, it’s learning from those misfortunes that enable it to evolve the consumer experience.
If the general level of service is outstanding then shoppers can often let an issue slide without too much impact. But if that same error happens repeatedly, it’s far harder to forgive. The retailer that uses obstacles to grow and improve can be empowered by errors; so long as they don’t happen twice.
These quotes are merely scratching the surface when it comes to what makes a 5* rated retailer; the experts we spoke to offer real insight into how they achieve top marks from their customers.