“Word of mouth is so very, very powerful,” says Jeff Bezos. “If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers in the internet space over the last 6 years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience […] that really does matter.”
Opinions may vary regarding Amazon, but one fact is beyond dispute: it has truly conquered the world of modern retail. There’s a reason that 89% of shoppers agree they’re more likely to buy from Amazon than any other retailer (Feedvisor) – according to Bezos, it comes down to one, simple philosophy.
A single-minded prioritisation of the customer experience.
Sparking a CX Revolution
But for decades – way before Amazon became the customer-centric commerce giant we know today – retailers were asking the question far and wide: ‘how to improve customer experience?’
Customer satisfaction has, of course, always been paramount. A great customer experience strategy gives organisations the blueprint to facilitating an exemplary customer journey.
Over the years, various tools have been deployed. From the implementation of personal shoppers to foster a positive customer experience and monitor buyer behaviour, to gamification strategies or customer loyalty rewards to encourage affinity with brands, the customer experience toolkit is nothing if not expansive.
Now, the question of ‘how to improve customer experience’ has led to the development of a new tool for retail – and it may just be the most powerful one yet.
Cloud-based omnichannel contact centres enable a revolution in what it means to deliver a great customer experience. They allow customer service personalisation, employee empowerment through intuitive tech, data analytics to predict customer needs, and efficient communication for a smooth overall customer experience.
Our VCC (Virtual Contact Centre) is a great way of achieving this in your organisation, and a tremendous business example of what is possible in retail communication. Far more than a traditional (and, these days, antiquated) call centre, our VCC is the software tool capable of totally transforming customer journeys in retail.
Contact us now, and a member of our team will be happy to discuss how to improve customer experience in your retail operation.
Customer Experience in Retail: The Current Landscape
Customer experience (CX) has always been a crucial aspect of retail, and organisations are constantly looking for ways to improve it.
A positive customer experience creates an unforgettable commercial impression, building trust and encouraging repeat business. Conversely, a poor customer experience drives prospects away, leading to lost revenue and reputational damage.
For modern retailers, it’s essential to facilitate a seamless and enjoyable CX. By delivering convenience, accessibility, and efficient service, retailers can increase customer satisfaction, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately, boost their bottom line.
An incredible amount of industry research has gone into the customer experience, and the conclusions are invariably the same: CX is more important now than ever before. Consider the following stats:
- 45.9% of businesses see CX as their highest priority over the next 5 years, and 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for an outstanding customer experience (Superoffice).
- 74% of shoppers are likely to make a purchase based on experience alone (Forbes).
- Over two-thirds of customer loyalty is built on the purchasing experience; more than brand power and price combined (CMSWire).
- Customers are 2.4x more likely to become a long-term buyer when a brand can resolve their issue quickly (Forrester).
CX Challenges Facing Retailers
As important as the customer experience is, it can still be a tricky thing to get right.
The modern retail industry has become unforgivingly competitive – yesterday’s ‘nice-to-haves’ are today’s ‘can’t-do-withouts’ – and any retailer aiming to step foot in the CX arena has a serious battle on their hands.
Below, we outline some of the key obstacles to overcome:
- Keeping up with customer expectations: Retailers must provide a seamless customer experience across multiple channels and touchpoints. This requires a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences.
- Balancing cost savings and efficiency: Cost savings that come with streamlined operations need to be kept in check against the quality of service.
- Managing customer touchpoints: Retailers need to ensure that all customer touchpoints, including call centres, social media, and chatbots, are integrated and optimised for maximum efficiency.
- Responding to customer feedback: Regular gathering and analysis of customer feedback improves CX and helps inform data-driven decisions.
- Incorporating new technologies: You’ll need to stay across any new technologies, such as AI-powered chatbots and self-service kiosks.
- Measuring customer satisfaction: There are numerous metrics intended to quantify the success of a customer experience strategy; in real terms, this can amount to a large volume of information.
The Right Tool for the Job
Cloud-based omnichannel contact centres like our VCC revolutionise the delivery of great customer experiences. By deploying a cloud contact centre, businesses can optimise customer touchpoints, increase accessibility, convenience and efficiency, and save costs.
Importantly, a great CX strategy not only leads to customer satisfaction but also improves data processes and organisation, and signals a wholesale upgrade to internal workflows.
In this way, a cloud contact centre modernises retail operations from the inside out; engendering a culture of customer-centricity and enabling a more effective service delivery.
Zooming-out slightly, as part of a wider CRM (customer relationship management) system, our VCC can help companies keep track of vital data (such as buyer behaviour or operational efficiency) for long-term attainment of core KPIs and sustainable growth.
How a Cloud Contact Centre Benefits Customer Experience
Implementing a cloud contact centre lends a lot of power to your customer experience strategy, and to your wider retail operations in a more holistic way.
While it is absolutely possible to draw a direct link between our VCC and an improved customer experience, for instance, that’s only one part of the bigger story. Future-proof, cloud-based communications software also creates the conditions for organisation-wide changes; transformations that cultivate customer-centricity and, in so doing, improve CX in a more tangential way.
To put it bluntly: a cloud contact centre is a real game-changer for retailers looking to improve their customer experience.
|Omnichannel communication||A cloud contact centre enables retailers to communicate with customers across multiple channels, providing a seamless and consistent customer experience.|
|Increased accessibility||Retailers are able to offer more convenient and accessible support services, which improves customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.|
|Cost savings||Our VCC represents significant cost savings by streamlining operations, connecting previously-siloed processes and eliminating the need for physical call centres.|
|Employee empowerment||The intuitive technology in a cloud contact centre empowers employees to provide better customer service and support. Future-proof tech is also remarkably intuitive to operate, enabling more productive and valuable agent activities.|
|Customer feedback||Valuable insights into buyer behaviour, customer needs and purchasing feedback will allow better-informed, data-driven decisions to improve customer experience, and the wider scope of your operations.|
|Data security||With ISO 9001 / 27001 security certification, our VCC is an extremely secure platform for the handling of potentially-sensitive customer information. This is in stark contrast to alternative or manual processes, which are prone to risk.|
Below, we’ll dive into a few of these benefits and explore them in more detail.
Integration with Customer Touchpoints
A cloud contact centre integrates with various customer touchpoints (or moments of brand/buyer interaction), providing retailers with a comprehensive bird’s eye view of the customer journey.
The integration of different touchpoints also allows retailers to provide a smooth and seamless customer experience across all channels.
This is the essence of what it means to deliver an ‘omnichannel customer experience:’ improved satisfaction and loyalty, because customers can change buying lanes as and when they like, with no negative impact on the service they receive.
Some of the touchpoints a cloud contact centre can integrate with include:
- Social media: Integrating social media allows retailers to provide customers with an additional support channel in the social platform (or platforms) they prefer to use. This makes it easier for customers to reach out, improving the customer experience and building customer trust. It also works wonders for brand awareness and familiarity.
- Websites and eCommerce platforms: Integrating websites and eCommerce platforms opens the possibility of a more unified shopping experience. This can reduce friction in the customer journey, making it easier for customers to find the information they need, complete purchases, and receive support.
- Email: For simple service requests, 60% of customers prefer email as a means of communication (Zendesk). Bringing email functionality under the umbrella of your cloud contact centre can streamline the customer service process and reduce response times, resulting in a more efficient and effective customer experience and boosted customer satisfaction levels.
- Live chat: Live chat support modules utilise AI (artificial intelligence) or a human agent to deliver real-time support and assistance. Many customers love self-service tools – they allow rapid resolution of issues, improving the overall customer experience.
- Phone: Via VoIP, IVR or other future-proof voice-based communication tools, customers can be made to feel heard and valued. It’s often the case that customers just want to hear a friendly voice on the end of the line; offering a voice channel for support and assistance caters to this preference in an efficient and cost-effective way.
Customer Satisfaction Fostering Loyalty
In retail, there is a direct link between brand loyalty and customer retention, and customer retention matters – in a big way.
Increasing retention by just 5% can equate to at least 25% growth in bottom-line profit (Bain & Company). However, trust in commerce is hard to come by, with Hubspot reporting that 55% of buyers now trust brands less than they used to (Hubspot Research).
So what does this all mean?
Well, look at it this way: customer loyalty is the key driver of retention.
Positive retention rates enable improved cash flow.
And so, to close the circle, retailers must find a way to improve customer loyalty. Enter, cloud contact centres and smooth omnichannel experiences.
When customers feel valued, brand loyalty grows, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth marketing. A cloud-based contact centre, with advanced features such as personalised service, data analytics, and efficient communication, is the key to unlocking customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Improved Accessibility & Convenience
Omnichannel cloud-based contact centres like our VCC provide a convenient and accessible platform for customers to connect with retailers.
With the integration of multiple communication channels, customers can reach out to a retailer – anytime, through any preferred method. This includes email, phone, chat, and even social media. Ultimately, this translates into a better overall customer experience.
Additionally, cloud contact centres can provide self-service options, such as automated chatbots powered by artificial intelligence or self-service kiosks. These options allow customers to get quick answers to their questions without having to wait for a customer service representative or agent.
Another advantage of cloud contact centres is that they can be accessed from any device. This makes it easier for customers to reach out to a retailer from their smartphone, tablet, or computer; again, feeding-in to a more seamless experience.
‘Optimisation’ Means Efficiency & Cost Savings
Optimisation of vital retail processes is another key aspect of cloud contact centres, paving the way for both increased efficiency and reduction of costs.
By having all customer communication channels in one place, retailers streamline their customer service workflows and, therefore, slash operational overheads.
Here are some examples of how cloud contact centres help retailers optimise:
- Automated call routing: People hate waiting, in retail or otherwise. By using intelligent call routing, calls are directed to the right agent or team member, reducing wait times and increasing the likelihood of FCR (first-contact resolution).
- Self-service options: Future-proof software allows customers to use self-service options like chatbots and IVR systems, reducing the need for live support and lowering costs.
- Data analytics: Cloud contact centres use information analytics to monitor performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Reporting & feedback: Retailers receive real-time reporting on customer satisfaction, allowing them to quickly identify and resolve any issues. This reduces the need for manual audits and can assist in decreasing the occurrence of complaints.
The Bottom-Line Metrics Retailers Need to Monitor
Tracking performance metrics is essential for measuring the success of customer experience improvements in retail. In today’s competitive market, it’s crucial to understand how customers perceive and interact with your brand, and use that information to make informed decisions.
Sherlock Holmes may not be best known for his travels in the world of retail telephony, but he got it right when he said that “it’s a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.”
The good news is, cloud contact centres provide the technology and data insights needed to monitor metrics effectively.
The bad news – or, should we say, the reality is – data tracking is not a ‘one-and-done’ activity. It’s an ongoing process, and you’ll need to commit to performance monitoring in order to effect real change.
Buying preferences change; customers come and go; trends evolve. Want to know how to improve customer experience? Prepare to track performance; but, equally, be prepared to commit to the process.
Why Data Matters
Cloud contact centres provide the ability to track customer journeys across multiple touchpoints, including social media and chatbots, allowing retailers to identify pain points in the customer experience and resolve them.
This data can also inform a customer-centric approach to retail operations, where teams make data-driven decisions and provide better support.
In essence, by tracking key metrics and using customer feedback, retailers can harvest the invaluable information needed to provide a great customer experience, improve customer loyalty, and drive business success.
Think of raw data as the seeds of improvement – in retail communications, you reap what you sow.
The Must-Know Retail Metrics to Improve CX
With that taken as read, we can begin pulling out some of the metrics that matter most in retail – of which, there are a fair number.
One important metric to track is the customer effort score (CES), which measures how easy it was for the customer to get their issue resolved. Another would be the net promoter score (NPS), which gauges customers’ likelihood to recommend your brand to others.
By monitoring these metrics, retailers can understand where they need to improve, and make changes accordingly.
Below, we provide a handy reference for ten of the most important metrics to monitor in retail communications. (For a more granular breakdown, check out our blog post on contact and call centre metrics).
(Customer Effort Score)
|To stand out in retail, businesses must provide quick and fulfilling, simple, and efficient customer service. CES shows how easy customers find it to receive answers; low CES leads to customer loyalty and increased revenue. Cloud contact centres make this possible.|
(Net Promoter Score)
|The Net Promoter Score is a trusted KPI of the telecom industry, asking customers how likely they are to recommend a brand. Scores of 0-6 are dissatisfied; 7-8 indicate neutrality neutral; 9-10 submissions are brand promoters, who drive repeat business and growth. NPS is a core retail contact centre metric and part of most customer experience management strategies.|
(Customer Satisfaction Score)
|Measuring customer satisfaction (CSAT) is perhaps the best benchmark of contact centre effectiveness; when consumers are happy, retailers generally do well. CSAT is important because it provides insight into product or service quality, communications efficiency, and brand power.|
|FCR (first-contact resolution) measures the effectiveness of resolving customer inquiries in one interaction or touchpoint; essential for customer satisfaction and management. It can be difficult to measure as definitions of what ‘resolution’ actually means sometimes vary, so consistency and careful measurement is necessary.|
(Average Handle Time)
|AHT measures the average time spent on a call/interaction by an agent. It starts when the interaction goes live and ends when it’s disconnected. To accurately reflect data, AHT is best calculated over a large number of support interactions. Low AHT is linked to customer satisfaction and loyalty.|
(Cost Per Contact)
|CPC is a cost measure of support interactions, including agent time & the technology required to provide service. High cost per contact rates can indicate unprofitability, despite good AHT & CSAT. Monitor CPC to ensure customer support cost does not exceed its value.|
|Customer Sentiment||It makes sense to monitor the general feeling among your consumers towards your brand. Sentiment analysis is the process of determining users’ emotions, opinions, and attitudes, helping measure satisfaction and track brand perception.|
|Quality of Service||Even when you focus on qualitative aspects like ‘manner’, ‘call etiquette’, ‘politeness’, or ‘advocacy’ it’s possible to quantify the inherent quality of interactions. This is generally reviewed by QM/QA staff based on factors such as greeting, clear speaking, brand guidelines, issue clarity, and script adherence.|
|Utilisation Rate||Utilisation is the percentage of time an agent is available for customer service compared to their total shift time. It helps determine if workforce is over/under utilised, and can be important in planning shift coverage for fluctuating call volumes.|
|Abandonment Rate||Retail contact centre managers should aim to minimise customer abandonment, which occurs when users discontinue an interaction due to boredom, frustration or poor service. Such abandonment can be reduced by improving wait times, service quality, and agent training.|
Harmonise Empathy With Innovation
Ultimately, the question of how to improve customer experience in retail is a dynamic, evolving issue. The more you know about the commercial industry, and the better your insight into your own operations, the more opportunities you’ll spot to make improvements.
Improving the overall customer experience was never going to be easy, right?
While you can’t simply snap your fingers and make poor customer experience a thing of the past, you can do the next best thing: implement a cloud-based contact centre solution.
This future-proof technological solution opens possibilities that contact centre managers of the past would never have thought possible.
- Enrich buyer-seller connections
- Consistently achieve business goals
- Drive greater profits
- Streamline processes and increase efficiency
- Offer a smooth omnichannel experience
As the industry develops, ever-more refined tools are required for retailers not only to survive, but to thrive.
In this day and age, a cloud contact centre is essential equipment to manifest success in retail communications – and they don’t come sharper, more streamlined, easier-to-use or better supported, than our VCC.
Begin your customer experience improvement journey with our cloud-based communications software, and delight both existing and new customers alike. Book a free demo today to harmonise empathy with innovation in your contact centre.