The retail industry, both in-store and online, is usually focused on showcasing its products. But this strategy alone will not yield more sales, higher customer satisfaction, or improved experience (CX). We’ve seen time and time again that human connections—meaningful exchanges and experiences between retailers and customers—are the true drivers of loyalty.
Recent data suggests customers have high expectations of retailers, as well. According to research from PwC, the most important factors for customers, and those for which they’d be willing to pay a premium, are efficiency, convenience, knowledgeable service, and friendly service.
It’s one thing for companies to note technology and customer experience when issues arise or the process becomes disrupted, but SMBs would be wise to always make them a priority. Here’s more on what sorts of technology can strengthen customer experience and make customers happier, and how to turn this information into actionable strategy.
Efficiency and Convenience
Efficiency is easy to overlook because when processes are potent and employees are making great use of their time, it can seem like the business is operating at a standard level. Under the hood, though, an efficient business doesn’t just start humming along; it’s being driven by technology that minimizes friction, maximizes speed, and enhances the human element every customer craves.
System unification plays a large part in increasing efficiency. Unification exists when all pieces of a company’s technology suite—from CRM to POS, and every acronym in-between—are deeply integrated such that powerful AI/ML services can function across the entire system. These services, which include customer sentiment analysis, pre-scripted contextual responses, anomaly detection, and chatbots, to name a few, all conspire to save representatives time on manual tasks, which take away from personalized customer engagement. On the customer side, tools like chatbots or automatically triggered responses provide immediate support, even on mobile, which can be a critical differentiator for retailers looking to improve accessibility and convenience.
Seamless customer experience unification also enables retailers to passively ingest, share, and store any and all relevant customer information to improve future interactions. When these disparate tools are properly integrated, a unified customer service system equips service representatives with immediate access to past customer interactions, product use case details, new product inquiries, and preferred frequency and mode of engagement. The technology provides the right context for retailers to personalize customer experiences, whether in-store or online.
Without proper context, businesses run the risk of frustrating or re-offending their customers, either by repeating or giving useless information, trying to up-sell a customer on a product they don’t need or already have, or directing a customer to the wrong agent multiple times. These common and seemingly innocuous occurrences all erode the trust and confidence a customer has towards a brand or vendor.
Data analytics is just as important to customer service as it is for sales or marketing. Data capture alone, however, won’t improve customer experience. Even a fully integrated, automated, and contextual CX system requires management and improvement based on constantly evolving market conditions. That being said, before a human can take appropriate action, they must first be working from clean, consistent, and comprehensive data, pulled from multiple customer-facing departments and interactions. This, again, is possible only when technology is aligned and unified.
Once a business is pulling in the right information, data analytics solutions can take over, creating custom reports, consolidating survey and feedback data, and providing invaluable insight into team and campaign performance. Using powerful and comprehensive customer service solutions like Zoho Desk, SMBs can customize and schedule reports detailing both the success and stagnation of all customer experience efforts.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Successful customer experience is a matter of marrying powerful technology with meaningful human engagement. All the data points in the world amount to zero unless businesses can effectively use insights to improve service. But unless service agents are freed up from mundane tasks and supplied with usable information, they won’t be able to connect with customers efficiently and thoughtfully. This is particularly true for smaller organizations that lack the time, personnel, or resources to maintain consistently high customer experience. Businesses at any scale will find the best customer experience results with a solution advanced enough to deliver comprehensive insights and context, while intuitive and enjoyable enough to use that they gain organization-wide adoption.
More in: Customer Satisfaction, Zoho Corporation