Exploring CX opportunities in retail and distribution
Customer experience in the retail and distribution space has evolved drastically in the last couple of years. Today’s brands support customers with higher expectations and more demands than ever in a rapidly changing and digitising environment.
To stay ahead of the curve in this complex space, retail brands need to be able to embrace the latest CX technology to align, optimise and enhance the customer journey across every channel. The top-performing retailers and distribution teams will be capable of offering exceptional efficiency and reliability without compromising on a personal touch.
As our perception of retail and the way customers interact with companies continue to adapt, there are plenty of areas where CX tools can make a significant impact on the retail and distribution world.
Retail and distribution companies need to invest in alignment to stay ahead of the competition in an increasingly saturated market. Not only are business leaders aligning more channels for service, sales, and support, but they’re also synchronising teams on a greater level.
Gartner predicts by 2023, a quarter of all companies will bring sales, marketing, CX, and customer service teams together in the same technology ecosystem. The right CX tools can facilitate this synergy, even when hybrid and remote work is growing more common. Retail companies can leverage CCaaS solutions and cloud-based CRMs to align teams on the brick-and-mortar shop floor with experts in the digital back-end.
The right tools can give every employee the same view of the customer and the business’s goals, so companies can provide a more consistent experience across online and offline channels. Cloud solutions for workforce management and CCaaS technology will also allow companies to embrace flexible and hybrid work trends for those outside the shop floor.
Customers want more than one way to interact with brands in today’s digitised world. Whether making a purchase, searching for purchasing support, or seeking out customer service, your clients will want variety. Companies must be prepared to offer a unified CX experience across all offline and online platforms.
A powerful CX strategy makes it possible to offer customers more convenient and comfortable experiences whether they’re shopping in person, tracking orders through an online customer portal, or interacting with customer success teams. While your CCaaS environment will align more of your workforce with the correct information and guidance, your CRM will provide an end-to-end view of the customer journey.
There are even tools to help companies improve and build customer loyalty or transform consumers into advocates for their brand- helping to attract new clients. An accurate omnichannel approach may even consider new channels previously untouched in the retail space, like extended reality for sales and customer onboarding.
Most retail and distribution companies already agree that data is critical to their teams’ success. As the customer journey becomes digitised, we have more ways to collect information about audience preferences, expectations, and needs. With access to CRM and analytical tools, gathering the right insights from your CCaaS environment will help you gain a behind-the-scenes understanding of your target audience.
Gathering as much data as possible in the retail sector will help business leaders make better decisions about empowering customers to solve more of their issues alone with self-service systems. It can also provide insights into opportunities for automation, which can help make employees more productive and efficient.
Data insights from workforce management and optimisation tools will also pave the way for more efficient teams. Reports make it easier to determine where team members on the back and front end of the retail environment need extra training and support. Whether you’re investing in hyper-personalisation or team efficiency, data gathered by your CX solution can help.
As mentioned above, customers today seek more opportunities to work with companies on their terms through the channels they appreciate most. To adhere to consumer expectations, companies need to offer more than just video, audio, and messaging for support. It’s also essential to have the right self-service solutions in place too.
Help desks, customer portals, live chat agents and similar tools can empower retail and distribution companies to scale faster without compromising on customer experience. Increasingly, consumers are looking for more opportunities to fix issues and purchase independently. Examples of everything from contactless checkout counters in the traditional retail world to AI assistants capable of facilitating a purchase without a human agent.
By investing in CX solutions allowing for self-service, companies not only delight their customers but also help their teams by filtering through some common queries that might not need human agent intervention. This boosts business efficiency.
According to Gartner, retail companies need to change their “experience strategy” to succeed in the new world. Increasingly, these brands are discovering that it’s impossible to separate employee experience from customer satisfaction. Looking at CX, EX, and UX as separate entities in the retail and distribution space could be a waste of time.
Rather, Gartner believes retailers need to align their focus on experience with a new campaign for “Total Experience”. This means thinking about how the technology you invest in will not only delight your customers but support your employees and enhance user interactions too.
For instance, bots in the TX environment not only help to answer customer questions and increase first-time resolution rates, but they can also support hybrid workers in finding answers to queries without waiting for IT support. Self-service troubleshooting tools can help customers get to the root of their problems faster in a customer portal while giving users dealing with common concerns more insights into what’s happening behind the scenes.