More than almost any other industry, retail has weathered the impact from our current digital climate the most. The rise of e-commerce is fundamentally shifting the way consumers shop, now accounting for one-tenth of all retail spending.
Retailers are quickly following suit in order to match a shift in customer expectations. That involves everything from bridging the mobile gap to adapting to the power of social media to facing ever-shrinking margins. Those retailers who are catching up with customer expectations are doing so with a smart, strategic approach to retail digital transformation.
Why Retailers Must Digitally Transform
Successful transformation is never a one-and-done process. Consumers are fickle, even more so now that new digital technologies, tools, and options proliferate at unparalleled speeds. Customers not only crave speed but also a personalized experience that makes them feel heard and catered to on an individual level.
This approach to customer experience could be referred to as “white glove” service, where personalization and special attention is paid to each and every consumer. And, it pays off—70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their needs influences their loyalty.
Companies must keep up in order to continue providing customers with the white glove service and options they desire. This is especially true in the retail industry where customer satisfaction and brand loyalty are paramount. In order to keep customers happy and recurring, you need efficient, practical business processes in place that allow you to deliver a great customer experience.
Eighty percent of customers not only say that the experience a brand provides is just as important as its products/services, but they’re more likely to make a purchase when a brand can offer a memorable, personalized experience. On the flip side, 64% of consumers will avoid a brand if they’ve had a bad experience with them in the past year.
Below, we break down the three steps retailers should take in establishing an ongoing retail digital transformation strategy that drives and prioritizes true white glove service.
1. A unified customer service platform
Current customer expectations are clearly showing that without a personalized experience, they will simply shop elsewhere until they find a brand that provides one. Sixty-nine percent of consumers say personalized customer care influences their brand loyalty. Still, customer service agents struggle to provide this desired white glove service due to a number of factors, including:
- Lack of relevant customer information
- The siloing of customer information
- Lack of understanding around customer behavior/preferences
- A failure to consider the holistic customer experience
- Inefficient process management
That being said, equipping customer care agents with the digital technologies and solutions they need to be more efficient and have greater insight into customers in order to provide a truly white glove service must be a top priority for retailers.
Implementing a unified customer service platform fueled by analytics that integrates customer systems and data sources can help agents provide the white glove service customers expect. Brands can create intelligent workflows using a unified platform that require minimal input and yield maximum automation. This reduces the pressure on customer care agents by providing them with a scripted, guided workflow that rapidly delivers contextual, relevant, and individualized responses to answer any questions, resulting in more personalized customer recommendations.
Imagine the impact on customer experience when a care agent has all past exchange information at their fingertips. The business value that comes with that is undeniable. In fact, 62% of retailers report that using customer data and analytics creates a competitive advantage for their brand.
A context-aware, integrated unified desktop can also enable all variety of customer interactions. This means agents don’t have to toggle between multiple systems, interfaces, and applications to perform their job. Brick-and-mortar retailers can adopt this platform to provide a white glove approach to service as well. In fact, they should according to customer sentiments. A quarter of consumers say brick-and-mortar retailers need the most improvement with respect to personalization.
That’s why a unified platform that brings all systems housing customer data together is essential. It facilitates the ability of agents to provide personalized white glove service that customers respond most positively to. And when a brand offers a great experience, 63% of consumers say they’re more willing to share information with that company. This creates a feedback loop where agents are providing the experience customers crave and customers are sharing more information needed to continuously improve a given experience, allowing it to become even more personalized over time.
2. A 360, omnichannel view of your customers
The foundation of white glove service is an intimate business/customer relationship across all touch points (voice, SMS, email, chat, social media, contact center, in-store interaction). Combining all of the customer data and information from each of these touch points—both online and offline— into a single profile for each customer is the golden ticket of retail customer experience.
This is what’s known as a 360, omnichannel view of customers. It grants retailers deep insights into the POV of their customers by offering an in-depth look into how customers behave and interact with a brand across all touch points. In doing so, brands can entice their customers to make more purchases by offering them highly tailored recommendations and offers.
This is the exact type of white glove service more customers are coming to expect. Half of consumers think it’s important that brands offer a personalized experience and recommendations across all digital channels. An omnichannel view enables brands to contextualize the next best action for an individual customer based on their data, preferences, and behavior in order to do just that.
To achieve this 360, omnichannel view, brands need to implement that unified platform outlined above to consolidate data from every touch point into one system. From there, leveraging data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence can help develop a more scientific, data-backed approach to customer engagement.
Based on existing customer data, the application of these resources will facilitate omnichannel visibility into each and every customer interaction, granting you that 360, holistic view. A contact center could offer a customer an exclusive deal based on this view that caters to their desires and previous purchasing patterns in order to retain that customer. Meanwhile, a store clerk could pinpoint the appropriate time to enroll a customer into a loyalty program to keep interaction and engagement with the brand high.
The benefit of bringing your customer data collection efforts together, streamlining your analytics processes, and staying on top of data hygiene and integrity allows you to maintain a solid 360, omnichannel view of each customer. You can then confidently glean actionable, predictive insights from customers in order to provide a winning white glove service and recommendations.
3. A customer experience management strategy
Efficiency when building a white glove customer service means nothing if you can’t establish a customer experience management strategy that’s both affordable and scalable. The seamless management of customer engagement solutions and analytics is essential so that this process works like a well-oiled machine, providing customers with the personalized attention and interactions they demand.
This is where we can help with our customer engagement solutions. Combining the deep domain experience of our team of experts with process design, technology, and insightful analytics helps you better manage your customer experience strategy. With this cross-functional, cross-dimensional practice, you can establish a white glove service that:
- Maximizes customer loyalty and satisfaction
- Accelerates conversions and revenue
- Solves complex business problems like customer attrition
- Offers you a competitive advantage
To provide an omnichannel view and personalized experience for customers, you’ll need to harness new technologies - like AI - and turn them into retail intelligence.