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Ensuring local players continue to thrive in the land of global giants

The increasing role of globalisation in shaping our approach to commerce means the story of local players being threatened by global heavyweights is nothing new.

Around this time last year Australia’s online bookselling marketplace became a lot more competitive, with U.S. giant Amazon arriving on our shores.

However, local players often have an ace up their sleeve: they understand their customers and they understand their market. An approach that worked in the U.S. or Germany, won’t necessarily deliver the same results here.

For example, long before Amazon staked its claim on this continent, Starbucks saw first hand how a local love of coffee and a lack of customer understanding can threaten to defeat an international brand.

Today, almost 20 years since its launch here, there are only 23 branches of Starbucks in the whole of Australia, compared to almost 250 in London alone.

By understanding their customers, being receptive to their needs and quick to adapt to new demands, local players can continue to flourish, in spite of today’s challenges.

Customer experience is key and helping brands and business to successfully engage with customers and meet their demands is Freshworks’ modus operandi.

Returning to the Amazon example, Australian online bookseller, Booktopia has continued to succeed thanks to a dedicated focus on customer needs. In the case of Booktopia, this isn’t just luck. By having access to a range of analytics and customer insight, provided by Freshworks’ tools, Booktopia has been able to personalise customer interactions, offering an enjoyable shopping experience. This translates into better customer service and wider business success.

For Booktopia, this winning approach has seen them recently being named 2018 Telstra NSW Business of the Year. And with four million customers, the bookseller is certainly doing something right.

It’s clear, effective customer engagement is key and the tactics that worked for Australia’s local coffee chains and Booktopia can be applied by any business looking to win in today’s increasingly competitive market.

Here are our three top tips for customer success:

Take a 360 approach

Businesses need to be across every channel that their customers use, this includes one-on-one attention via dedicated call centre teams and close monitoring of social channels. Freshworks360, our cross-product customer engagement suite, helps to ensure this.

An issue breaking on Twitter may provide useful context for a call centre operative when dealing with a specific customer experiencing a similar problem.

Not only should businesses be monitoring and collecting data from these channels, they should also know how to engage with customers across these channels. Whether communicating over email or through Facebook, brands will need to alter their tone and amend their approach accordingly.

Know when to automate and when to not

AI and automation has its uses. It can tackle repetitive tasks and filter certain queries. For example, Uber doesn’t need a team of people to update their customers when a driver is running late. Sophisticated algorithms and automation can perform this task more than adequately.

In customer service, automated services, such as chatbots, can offer answers to frequently asked questions or can be used to direct customers to the most knowledgeable team member, depending on the enquiry.

At Freshworks, businesses using our tools are assisted by Freddy, an omnichannel bot that collects data from successful customer interactions and automatically infers suitable answers to user queries. This ensures customers get the right answers, quickly and efficiently.

However, in many cases, customers still want to have access to a human, so make sure you don’t deny them this. The key to successfully using AI tools is to know when and when not to deploy them. This will ensure the human element of customer interaction isn’t lost.

One size doesn’t fit all

What worked for Booktopia or a local Melbourne-based coffee shop might not work for every business. Yes there are certain templates to follow but remember to respond to your customers’ specific needs.

The most important thing is to listen to your customer and engage accordingly. Customer engagement tools such as Freshworks are perfect for this.

Freshworks offers a full suite of cloud-based customer engagement software, including sales CRM, call centre and live chat management tools. These are all designed to provide customers seamless access to the feedback and assistance they require.

For more info visit

Author: Sreelesh Pillai, General Manager of Freshworks Australia

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