“Customer is the KING”, this statement has never been more accurate.
With a plethora of options in terms of brands to choose from, channels of purchase, the customer today is bombarded information- marketing messages, reviews, opinions et al.
How does one get his attention and place in his/ her consideration basket if possible the buying basket? Here is where comes the clincher – Customer Experience.
Does Customer Experience impact SALES?
Customer experience is the customer’s perception of his/her interaction with your company or brand; this encompasses every and any touchpoint that the customer can engage with you or your offerings.
It may be Presale, during purchase, post-sale, in person, In-store or virtual – online or Social media.
As per Forrester Research, 80-90% of customers that have a bad experience will never come back to the brand.
As discussed in our earlier article on changing customer journey, we mentioned the increasing demand by customers for an omnichannel presence from the brands, coupled with a seamless experience as they transition from one channel to another.
To ensure a seamless experience across channels, companies need to work on consistent customer experience across all the touchpoints.
The story does not end at the seamless experience, it goes a step further today they demand an experience tailored for them.
Today, the competitive edge may not essentially mean having an edge in your offerings but the quality of customer experience.
Poor customer experience will turn away customers never to return while a delightful customer experience will go a long way in building customer loyalty and advocacy.
So, how does one elevate one’s customer experience?
Today organizations have adopted several innovations to achieve this end.
The simplest and quickest adoption has been the integration of Live Chats, WhatApp on website & apps to allow a personalized connect with the customer and give the customer direct access to the brand.
Mobile Support is another win.
In this world of “Mobile First”, mobile today is the first place to search for information, look for support or ask a query. Incorporating tools that make it easy for the customer to find you and connect with you, go a long way in delivering the right customer experience. May it be mobile-friendly websites or mobile Apps.
Let us look at some other technologies that retailers are adopting to elevate the experience.
The integration of Blockchain technology which helps data security, enable cheaper & faster transaction, allows for supply chain tracking, channel expansion, new payment methods, and after-sale services. Some of the companies quick to adopt this technology are Walmart & Amazon.
Virtual and augmented reality are another set of tools that help enhance the customer experience. Virtual technology empowers consumers to experience and select the products without touching them. A great perk in the trying times we are in now. This technology has helped build confidence in online selling, especially for higher ticket items. Virtual and augmented reality has taken personalization to a new level enabling and engagement that has helped dramatically increase sales.
In many countries, experiments are on with Robotic store assistants in the retail industry to elevate the customer experience. Robotic assistants also called bots, walk with the customer as he/ she browses the store. They answer the customer queries, help them find the right product. Their in-built AI enables real-time learning, making them capable of giving answers to a wide variety of questions. They also track stock levels and keep tabs on fast-moving items and communicate back to the supply chain team in real-time; resulting in more efficient stocking and better availability of products.
Using artificial intelligence to tailor the customer experience is another step in personalizing the experience. AI works both ways at one end works at understanding customer interests and needs and serving him/ her content and products that align with that, on the other hand, feeding its findings and learning of requirements of the thousands of users to generate unique demands for the business. It highlights effective supply chain planning and accurate demand forecasting.
So far, we have discussed how the experience at touchpoints impacts Customer Experience. What about product availability? No matter how well-oiled your touchpoints maybe lack of product availability will ruin the experience. Hence, efficiency in the supply chain is another element to address. Having an ERP is a must. Other than that, several technologies have emerged on the internet of things which have gone a long way in helping build flexibility, improve services, and distribution to multiple channels. Automation of inventory management improves the relationship between the customer and retailers. It betters the logistics tracking helping augment the experience.
As the retail industry expands and the players in the market grow, retailers have to follow their customers; this means they need to adapt, streamline and align their multiple sales channels to deliver a seamless experience.
Mind you for a great experience the need is to go beyond touchpoints the backend process has to align for touchpoints to deliver the desired experience.