When it comes to luxury, there’s so much more at stake than just the product. Luxury is created by a combination of so many factors:
- customer experience
- brand reputation
- and more!
Creating luxury is not an easy or straightforward task. However, one key aspect is the customer experience—with luxury brands, the customer needs to be at the center of every interaction, feeling as though they are valued, respected and honored at every turn.
How does this happen? Clienteling is a key strategy—but it’s not an easy one. Creating relationships with customers—at scale—and implementing clienteling strategies that work are difficult, and it’s one of the most common reasons why brands decline in reputation over time.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what luxury clienteling looks like, four key mistakes to avoid, and how to perfect your clienteling strategy to support your luxury brand.
Understanding Luxury Clienteling
What exactly is luxury clienteling?
Clienteling is the process of creating trusted, long-term relationships with customers that feel personal and individualized and account for customers’ preferences, needs, behaviors, purchase history and so on. Luxury clienteling is the process that brands use to create personalized, luxury experiences for customers through clienteling.
In truth, there is no luxury experience without clienteling.
In order to create a luxury experience—and a brand associated with luxury—you have to create a customer experience where the customer feels at the center of every interaction, catered to in every way.
With luxury, brand reputation is everything. Luxury doesn’t just come down the value or the experience of the product itself, but the entire experience surrounding it, and the status of it. It’s the difference between staying at the Ritz and a Holiday Inn, the difference between unboxing the latest iPhone from its sleek white box and ripping open the plastic packaging from a pair of knockoff headphones from your local BestBuy.
As a result, mistakes in luxury clienteling can tank your brand reputation and lower the perceived value of your product significantly. Personalization and long-term relationships—key elements of clienteling—are key. But how do you ensure your clienteling strategies are adequately adapted for luxury retail? Avoid these four common mistakes.
Common Mistakes in Luxury Clienteling
In our decades of experience working with luxury brands, there are four common mistakes we see with luxury clienteling:
- Inadequate personalization
- Overlooking after-sales service
- Ignoring client feedback and preferences
- Inefficient use of clienteling technology
Let’s look into each of these in a bit more depth.
- Inadequate personalization. When it comes to luxury, personalization is everything. Luxury customers aren’t just paying for a product, but an experience. What’s more, luxury products aren’t just products: they’re status symbols, identity markers, and standout experiences. As such, clienteling helps brands deliver a customer experience that’s truly luxury.
Offering inadequate personalization breaks down the luxury experience for customers, and it’s a common mistake that many luxury brands make. That’s why our team at Global Response is often called in to support luxury brands. With our standout clienteling services, a team of agents who can become brand specialists to integrate seamlessly with your brand, and our focus on personalized customer experiences, we’re able to deliver personalized experiences that equate your brand with the luxury customers expect.
- Overlooking after-sales service. What happens after a customer makes a purchase makes all the difference in ensuring whether or not they make a purchase again in the future. When it comes to luxury client retention, after-sales service is crucial—yet it’s a step many brands overlook.
Outsourcing your clienteling can help you focus on and improve your after-sales service, whether through a dedicated outsourcing team to manage after-sales support, or a full-service clienteling team. After-sales service not only increases personalization (see mistake #1) but it also provides a richer customer experience by cultivating a customer relationship that extends beyond the sale.
- Ignoring client feedback and preferences. Like many aspects of clienteling, this is another layer of personalization. As a luxury brand, you simply can’t afford to not know and understand your customers. Luxury brands need to understand customers’ expectations, behaviors and preferences—and then deliver on and exceed them. Any gap between expectations and reality results in disappointment, which tarnishes your brand reputation and results in a reduced feeling of luxury.
One of the easiest ways to understand and deliver on customer expectations is to regularly collect, analyze and implement client feedback. Unfortunately, far too few brands do this. However, brands that do gain an upper hand on understanding client preferences and being able to meet and exceed them to create truly luxurious and personalized experiences.
- Inefficient use of clienteling technology. Clienteling technology can help you organize client behaviors and history, understand client needs and preferences, streamline client experiences and interactions and more—but only if you use it efficiently.
One of the biggest disconnects in luxury brands comes with in-store and online experiences. Brands who can create truly streamlined and connected experiences across all touchpoints have an upper hand on delivering a truly luxury experience—and using clienteling technology effectively can have a major impact on this.
The Impact of These Mistakes on Luxury Brands
While these mistakes may seem like small details, in luxury, it’s the details that make the difference. The impact of these mistakes shouldn’t be understated.
For example, any one of these clienteling mistakes can lead to damaged brand reputation and a lack of perceived luxury, which leads to lost customer loyalty and retention and reduced sales and profitability. In luxury, where brand is nearly everything, there’s very little room for error with customer experiences.
This is why many luxury brands work with outsourcing providers to manage customer service, clienteling, customer surveys and more. An experienced BPO provider can provide you with the exceptional customer service and clieteling necessary to manage a luxury brand and create seamless experiences at every touchpoint.
Ready to perfect your CX?
Avoiding Mistakes in Luxury Clienteling
So how do you avoid these mistakes? While outsourcing can help, let’s take a look at specific strategies that help avoid each of these mistakes. Whether you use outsourcing to manage these strategies or tackle them in-house, here’s four effective ways to combat the above mistakes:
- Implement effective personalization. It goes without saying that personalization is crucial in luxury, and the barebones of personalization aren’t enough. Effective personalization strategies are essential. One big way to implement this is to create employee training around personalization, as well as providing employees with ownership over client interactions to create personalized solutions.
For example, the Ritz-Carlton provides all employees with a per-customer $2,000 “budget” to provide spectacular customer service, whether that’s by next-day shipping a lost item to a client or resolving a customer issue that comes up during their stay. By providing autonomy and ownership to staff, they pave the way for personalized and luxury solutions to be created every day.
- Improve after-sales service. In all decisions and interactions, the customer should remain your first priority as a luxury brand. Great after-sales service ensures that the customer is always taken care—and shows that your brand care about them personally. Relevant and timely follow-ups are essential to create long-term relationships with customers.
When is the right time to follow up with customers? We recommend following up shortly after the sale is made, as well as at timely intervals after—whether that’s for special occasions, customer birthdays or special events, or at intervals where the customer may need follow-up services or products. An outsourced clienteling team can help ensure that your after-sales service remains timely and personalized.
- Use client feedback effectively. While many brands collect client feedback, fewer actually use and implement it effectively. Effective implantation of customer feedback can look like:
- scheduling regular periods to review customer feedback and add relevant feedback to upcoming roadmaps
- regularly informing customers of how their feedback has shaped business choices or product decisions
- having a team that regularly solicits and analyzes customer feedback
- analyzing customer feedback regularly for the most actionable items
- using social monitoring to gather information and actionable feedback from non-direct customer feedback
As with other clienteling processes, in many cases, companies may want to use an outsourced team to manage customer surveying, analysis and recommendations from client feedback to ensure that this remains a priority.
- Make the most of clienteling technology. One of the most important ways to use clienteling technology effectively is to ensure that it’s integrated fully with other client databases, such as CRM systems and retailing software. Not only does this ensure that all client data is being used to personalize their experience, it also creates more streamlined, straightforward experiences for customers that present a feeling of luxury.
Brands should also ensure that all staff know how to make the most of clienteling and other technology. After all, a luxury brand needs to maintain and uphold their brand image and luxury status at every single touchpoint—and interpersonal interactions between your employees and your customers are one of the most memorable and important ways to do this.
Perfecting Your Luxury Clienteling Strategy
Want to improve your luxury clienteling strategy? Keep these tactics in mind:
Improve your customer data. Better data means clearer insights on your customers, and clearer information on their preferences, needs, desires and behaviors. All of this affords stronger personalization and more effective clienteling, but it starts with data. If you want to improve your clienteling, you need to have an effective and scalable strategy for gathering, organizing, analyzing and using customer data.
Increase personalization. With better data, you can better increase your personalization—and increased personalization is at the heart of a great clienteling strategy, especially in the luxury space. Ideally, customers should feel as if they are your most valued customer—and being able to create that feeling depends on having the data and insights to create truly personal experiences.
Develop omnichannel and cross-team support. The stronger your cross-team support, the more streamlined and efficient all processes can be for the customer. Not only does this create better customer experiences, but it also streamlines outreach and relationships, allowing customers to feel they have a strong relationship with the brand as a whole, rather than receiving segmented communications.
Build real relationships. Finally, building real relationships with your clients is the ultimate key to clienteling. With the right team and customer success agents in place, you can begin to develop real relationships that understand who your clients are, what they want and need, and how to deliver on and beyond their expectations.
A luxury clienteling strategy can’t be implemented overnight—it’s a long-term process that takes time to build up but ultimately pays dividends. For companies who need support or expertise in creating this—or want to speed up the amount of resources and time they put into it—outsourcing your clienteling to a provider experienced with luxury brands, like Global Response, is an effective option.
At Global Response, we have 40+ years of experience working in customer experience and clienteling. Our team delivers luxury with a personal, human touch, providing high-touch, standout customer experiences and customer-obsessed clienteling that reinforces and strengthens your brand reputation. We’ve worked with luxury brands like FILA and LACOSTE to:
- increase online sales by 25%
- decrease customer issues 28%
- improve customer conversions and retention
- and more!
Ready to work with a provider who knows luxury clienteling? Connect with an expert from Global Response today.
Clienteling is the process of establishing long-term relationships with customers, typically through personalization and direct communication and interactions that take into account the preferences, behaviors and shopping history of individual consumers.