The consumer is driving the future of retail, but how do you work out what matters to them most, in order to deliver greater profitability through outstanding customer experience? That’s the quandary that many of today’s omni-channel retailers are facing.
In a recent article, international analyst Forrester noted the growing trend of Customer Experience rooms – interactive spaces designed to give retail workers greater understanding of the services their customers receive by replicating their journey within the store, over the phone or when visiting their website. The reality of what shoppers experience can often be painful for retail personnel, but many companies see this as essential for creating consumer empathy, which in turn delivers greater standards of service.
While putting yourself in the shoes of the customer is an incredibly valuable exercise, retailers shouldn’t rush to set up a Customer Experience room without taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, though. Statistics released by Accenture this week revealed that 76% of businesses admit to wasting up to half their customer experience budget, investing in activities that fail to generate ROI.
What many retailers forget is that customer service doesn’t always mean wowing shoppers with impressive merchandising displays or sleek sales pitches; these ‘icings on the cake’ are irrelevant if consumers can’t access the products or information they require.
Unifying communications and processes behind the scenes is the most important thing retailers can do to ensure they deliver a seamless customer experience. Being able to monitor all contact with customers, and draw on that information during future encounters to tailor promotional messages or personalise conversations can make or break shopper relationships and loyalty.
Visible data and operational clarity are just as important as empathy. Running a seamless, focussed operation behind the scenes will give customer-facing staff the ability to deal with consumer enquiries without getting stuck for basic information or being failed by back-end systems. This confidence is what makes the difference between a poor, good and great customer experience.