It’s a question that executives in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry ask themselves every day. In a world filled with nearly limitless choices, what motivates consumers to select one product over another?
For some shoppers, it’s a no-brainer: Just go with the brand name you know and trust. Thrifty patrons might choose a bargain discount, regardless of what name is on the box.
But for many, the choice can come down to a cluster of criteria, including price, but ultimately decided by a quality that tracks back to an underappreciated and often overlooked intangible – customer service. In a price-driven industry, CPG brands vie for consumer attention alongside competitors that often have the luxury of offering their products for the lowest possible cost.
Smaller and mid-size CPG brands can make their mark is by building loyalty the old-fashioned way – earning it through quality interaction with consumers. Whether it be by phone, social media or live chat, companies today have more opportunities than ever to foster deeper connections with their customer base.
Hire the Right People
Quality customer service doesn’t have to be costly. It all comes down to hiring the best possible brand representatives. If you want to be able to train quickly while preserving the customer experience, you need to hire the right people. That means identifying characteristics that imbue people who truly enjoy working with the public. CPG brands can save time and money by hiring people with a passion for customer service.
During the interview process, make a point to notice if the candidate is smiling when they speak. Pay attention to specific cues that often reflect a positive attitude. Role play, just to see how they might respond in a specific customer call-in scenario.
Little Things Get Remembered
When vying for consumer retention and loyalty, CPG brands should always remember that is the small touches that create a positive association in the consumer’s mind. It can be as simple as offering a coupon for a complimentary new product to every customer who calls a brand’s help lines. Not only has the brand addressed and satisfied the caller’s issue, but now it has presented them with a free opportunity to try a new product, thereby possibly expanding that purchasing loyalty on multiple fronts.
Incorporating rewards into marketing strategies is an efficient, and cost-effective, way to create a memorable connection. For instance, a popular add-on in the CPG industry is the recipe. Forward-thinking brands can utilize a recipe to spark a slow-moving product. For example, say your brand has a surplus of frozen broccoli. Place a recipe for broccoli casserole on a bottle of mayonnaise and now consumers are buying two products instead of one.
When surveying the landscape for ways to better attract and retain loyal consumers, CPG brands have everything they need within reach. It’s just a matter of putting the right pieces together to create that memorable customer experience that will reap dividends.
Summer Dennis is president and COO of Inktel Contact Center Solutions, one of the country’s largest privately owned providers of third-party customer-service solutions. The company provides support services in the form of online chat, social media, U.S.-based call centers, email response and marketing data analysis to some of the world’s largest Fortune 500 brands.
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