With a major focus on customer experience trends guiding the decision-making process for businesses across industry lines, it’s hard to know what to do to make sure you stand out. This is especially challenging for small or medium-size retailers who usually don’t have boatloads of capital to invest in new systems. Whether you are a brick and mortar shop, an online retailer, or a hybrid of the two, finding the right systems to improve your customers’ experience of your brand is essential if you want to stay competitive in today’s market. XM Institute suggests that providing an excellent customer experience will result in an 86% repurchase rate.
Customer experience systems are increasingly focused on automation. From integrated systems to customer service bots, there are all sorts of gadgets that are being developed to streamline operations. The goal here is not to ignore these trends, but rather how to augment them with a more human approach to help you stand out in a competitive marketplace. No matter how high-tech your operation, eventually your customers will want to have a human being on the line to help them navigate questions or concerns with empathy and consideration.
That really is the distinction here; computer systems are great, but they can’t understand the nuances of the human condition. They can’t explain system errors to your customers. Maybe one day they will but for now, when a customer is frustrated or upset, the best resource you can have is a living, breathing customer service agent able to help them navigate whatever challenges they are facing. With these three tips, you will make the customer’s experience as smooth and supportive as possible, and that will reap dividends for your brand.
#1 – Choose the right systems, make sure they are integrated.
Finding the right system to fit your needs is essential if you want to make sure the CX systems actually improve your customer’s relationship with your brand. This goes beyond making sure your web platform is mobile-friendly, or transferable across devices. It also means having the right systems in the background streamlining data collection and storage. Let’s say a customer has ordered a product from your site in the past, and is using a digital tracking tool to follow the shipment’s progress when they encounter an error. Let’s imagine the error is caused by them transitioning from mobile phone to tablet on your tracking software; how are you logging that information? The best-case solution is a cloud-based system where the tracking software is interacting with your POS system, which is collecting information about the shipment in a CRM system in the back end. When the customer calls to inquire, if there is integration in these systems, your human customer service representative will be able to address the questions quickly, efficiently, and be able to find a fix in a timely manner. Instant gratification is what the customer wants, and your CX strategy should be able to deliver.
#2 – Hire your customer service team in-house.
According to Forbes, 86% of customers still prefer human beings to AI. In-house employees care more about your brand than outsourced third parties ever will. It’s a simple logic to understand. If the person handling your customer service is directly dependent on your business for their income, they are going to care more about your business’s success. If they were hired by you, you are the person who they will build a relationship with. Third-party contractors are often more concerned with their own operations than with yours, and so you might find yourself calling their customer service line because they failed to deliver on the quality service you expect for your customers. Keeping your operations in-house might cost more in labor costs, but the quality control and peace of mind it enables will make your brand shine. With decentralization now a growing trend, getting your team set up to work remotely will help you stay ahead of the curve.
#3 – Keep an eye on emerging trends in CX, make sure you are staying ahead of the curve.
2020 has been a wild year for commerce. The global pandemic has highlighted challenges in supply chains, and made consumers leery about leaving the house. Small retailers have been scrambling to improve their online services and carve out space in the digital market. This isn’t just about what platforms you employ to build your systems, it means making sure your customer service department is integrated into your other departments. That said, as of 2020, over 50% of the customers you will get are scrolling on their mobile phone, so put a premium on your mobile site.
For example, the old-school phone systems are good for handling inbound concerns, but having a tool that allows for text-based communications with your customers gives you the ability to proactively reach out to them. Digital text systems can be used to re-engage customers at an abandoned check out, or even communicate with customers posting about your company on social media. According to convinceandconvert.com, 40% of customers expect a response to their social media complaints within one hour of making them. Remote customer service agents can answer inbound calls, monitor digital sales, and monitor your social media accounts in real-time, and with a work-from-home environment, it’s possible for you to keep your doors open 24 hours a day.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
With the shifting marketplace, it can be overwhelming for business owners and managers to try to keep up with. Rest assured, if you have the right systems, and the right people working them, you will find the rest falls into place well. The most important advice you can get is to keep your process simple. While it’s important to stand out, the more complicated your funnel is, the more likely you will be to lose business. Socialtriggers.com suggests keeping your product selection low and your website layout simple and straightforward to increase your sales by as much as 1000%.
If you follow these points, you will find your market share will grow with your customer loyalty. Most importantly, with a remote team of customer experience experts, you can rest easy knowing your brand has the representation it needs to keep your customers happy and your profits high.