One of Los Angeles’ local clichés is people who drive nice cars and wear expensive clothing, but live with their parents or in run-down studio apartments. Ultimately, all of their front-facing style is undermined because it doesn’t carry through all aspects of their lives.
I feel the same way about brands that have visually appealing sites and promotional emails, but then drop the ball on branding and design once customers have made a purchase. A consistent, branded customer experience at all touchpoints creates a sense of trust, a sense that a company is not just trying to win your business, but also keep you coming back for more.
Here are three important touchpoints that make a great, on-brand impression beyond the purchase:
Transactional emails not only help reinforce your branding, but also convey a dedication to customer service and product quality. Unbranded and sloppy transactional emails send the message that you don’t really care about the customer once you have their money.
Check out the way Gap and Gilt transactional emails look and feel. Both have strong branding, and also include all of the the formal operational information that customers need to track their orders and contact customer service, in the event that they need to. Another nice touch is how they feed the images of the purchase products and their product detail page links dynamically within each email.
By customizing these emails they also provide a great opportunity to add access to related products and promotions, including reminders to join loyalty programs or sign up for credit cards.
Shipping & Packaging
Lets face it, Amazon raised the stakes when it comes to ecommerce fulfillment. As competitors, we can hate on them as much as we want, but as consumers we appreciate getting the stuff we ordered in as little as 24 hours. With the power of their site and fulfillment infrastructure, they have the whole ecommerce convenience market cornered.
While their fulfillment is convenient, they add zero personal touch. Brands need to flex their creative muscle to make the shipping experience pleasant (especially if they can’t ship cheaply or quickly). That’s what we all want, right?….. A dare to be great opportunity… a chance to be creative?
Creating a high-touch experience for unboxing by thoughtfully packaging items (rather than just throwing them in a box stuffed with brown paper or styrofoam peanuts) should be a given for brands that consider themselves high-end, but is also something that every brand can use to tell the customer they take pride in their product and care about their customer’s experience. When customers get a high-touch package they’re much more likely to embrace any promotional items you include, increasing opportunity, and capturing the definition of low-hanging fruit.
Here’s some motivation for you to get started:
Whether your customer service is handled in-house or through a service provider, a customer service team trained and equipped to provide a branded customer experience is critical to keeping customers. As with transactional emails, your customer service team may need to be slightly more formal than your website or store branding, but make sure to provide them with the same on-brand tone, and messaging guidelines your production and marketing teams use.
Their correspondences with customers should also be branded (like transactional emails) with at least a branded email signature. Finally, it’s a big help if your customer service team has experience with your brand and your products, so find ways to have them interact, either with samples or training sessions. Make an effort to properly familiarize your entire team with the products you’re selling, and you’ll see a measurable difference in how far your brand’s messaging carries through your customers’ entire ecommerce experience.