5 Ways to Improve Your D2C Customer Service Efforts


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DTC package with a thank you note

Cutting out the “middleman” by moving to a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model can be an attractive way to increase your company’s revenue. However, it puts a much greater responsibility on your brand to provide top-notch customer service. And customer service isn’t something you can afford to take lightly.

If you’ve historically only worked through distribution middlemen, you may be surprised by how seriously customers take service. In fact, subpar support can cause massive customer churn. According to HubSpot reporting, 61% of consumers have broken ties with brands over lousy customer service. That’s not something you want, especially if you’re trying to build a positive reputation for your DTC experience.

Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies you can leverage to improve your customer service and delight your customers.

1. Shatter conventional service expectations

Customer service doesn’t have to be ordinary service. Going the extra mile for your customers can impress them tremendously. It can also show that you really care about what matters most for them.

Consider the powerful story from the service department at DTC insurance company Kin. During a recent hurricane event, Kin connected with its members that were in the path of the storm via text messages in the days before landfall. The multiple texts were aimed at keeping Kin’s policyholders updated on the impending storm and to provide advice and recommendations for storm preparedness and safety. Once the storm passed, they again texted their members to check on their safety and they also provided links so affected homeowners could file claims instantly online.

In the case of one Kin policyholder, who suffered a total loss of her home and personal property, her entire claim was resolved with payment of her policy limits within an unprecedented timeframe of under 72 hours. Kin’s remarkable and pragmatic service efforts bucked the normal trends in the insurance market.

Whatever your industry, strive to do likewise by outdoing the competition. This will help you differentiate your company and attract attention.

2. Streamline the resolution process.

The faster you can resolve a customer’s problem, the faster you can win a fan. That’s where having a customer-centric resolution process is critical. You can’t just think of resolution from your brand’s perspective. You need to think of ways to remove friction for buyers, too.

A heartwarming example of fast, easy resolution in action comes from Chewy. The DTC pet supply company reportedly was contacted by a grieving customer who had lost her pet. The customer asked to return the food she had just purchased. Instead of accepting the return, Chewy refunded her purchase and sent her flowers.

Not surprisingly, the customer took to social media to praise Chewy’s responsiveness. Not only did Chewy’s customer service agents empathize with her situation, but they went the extra mile. Their thoughtfulness made her service interaction simpler — and rewarding.

3. Offer a variety of self-service options.

Some customers aren’t interested in having any human engagement when they need service. On the contrary, they’re happy to self-serve. In fact, they enjoy self-serving because it allows them to be proactive whenever and wherever. Therefore, you’ll want to put measures in motion to offer as many ways for your buyers to solve their issues as possible.

What are some ways that you can give buyers the ability to take care of their concerns on their own? Chatbots are an obvious and economical choice. AI-powered chatbot technology rapidly can assist customers with routine questions. Chatbots aren’t the only self-service mechanism, though. Take a look at Apple, which has mastered the self-service universe. Apple’s main site includes a robust web presence of content devoted to self-support. The brand’s support possibilities are varied and engineered to enable visitors to figure out how best to solve their snags solo.

Self-service is truly the wave of the future in DTC. Plus, a nice side effect of providing self-service choices is that your human agents will be free to spend more time with other customers. It’s a win-win solution for everyone.

4. Embrace social shopping.

Although you’re a DTC business, you can transfer some of your customer service to a third-party system. For instance, many DTC brands are exploring social commerce. Social commerce (also referred to as social shopping) encourages consumers to buy items they want without leaving their favorite social platforms. Consequently, they can bypass the need to go to your website but still order your merchandise.

Social shopping is still evolving, but it’s on track to be highly successful. Research published by Influencer Hub Marketing predicts the social commerce economy to exceed $3 trillion by 2028. In other words, it’s a lucrative and exciting prospect for you as a DTC company.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to have a strong social presence to make social shopping part of your overall service experience. Consider ways to connect your social marketing and selling initiatives with social service ones. You may want to explore opportunities for partnerships with influencers to double down on your social shopping and service processes.

5. Keep upskilling your people’s abilities.

Customer service is changing all the time. With advancements like AI assistants and generative AI programs, your customer service agents have a lot to know and learn. Make sure you’re taking the time to not just onboard them once but to help them consistently and effectively update their skills.

It’s not possible for you to promise your DTC buyers a world-class customer service experience if you don’t have world-class talent. Consequently, invest time and funding into your customer service team members. When you do, you’ll be rewarded with a stronger department and potentially less employee turnover.

One of the leading reasons that workers leave companies is because they aren’t getting professional development. By showing your customer service representatives you’re serious about their education, you’ll be doing your part to keep them with your company. That’s a great method to ensure that you can focus less time on finding new hires and more time on staying innovative.

Without a doubt, DTC brands are having their moment. Consumers appreciate being able to buy what they want and need straight from the source. Yet they don’t appreciate being without support when they have problems or questions. To meet — and exceed — their expectations, you need to take your customer service up a notch. In return, you’ll see more loyalty and goodwill from a growing customer base.

Image credit: Monstera Production; Pexels

Chalmers Brown
Chalmers is the Co-founder and CTO of Due. He writes for some of the largest publications and brands in the world including Forbes, The Next Web, American Express, and many more.


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