How poor customer service impacts the retail customer experience
By Stephanie Liais, EMEA product marketing, RingCentral - Oct 17th 2018, 09:31
Picture the situation: you're on the phone with customer support. You speak to a representative who can't help you. Your call gets forwarded to another agent. So you start your story over from the beginning and explain what you need to get out of the call. They can begin a process but will really need another team to jump in to complete. Another agent takes up your case and again you explain your situation as well as a summary of the two previous calls.
By this point, you, as the customer, are feeling any range of emotion ranging from frustrated to annoyed to angry. The problem to solve is simple for you, but an interaction with the company you are relying on to resolve your issue becomes tedious, complicated, and drawn out, the bond begins to fray.
The connection consumers experience with a brand extends far beyond the marketing and sales programs that got them to buy in the first place. Every interaction and experience a customer has with a business impacts their desire to continue with or move on from that business.
On-demand customer expectations
The way people connect, discover, communicate, and transact has changed dramatically. We see this with contact centres every day. Customers expect to connect in the way they prefer, whether through mobile, social media, or other channels available in the micro-moments that make up their day. Consumers today are not satisfied with the automated attendant greeting, intelligent voice system, or waiting in line to speak to an agent.
And this preference is beyond just a hope or want but a requirement. A company unable to meet these requirements can be affected by:
● Customer defection
● Poor lead conversions
● High churn rates
● Reduced revenue
Now that we've defined what customer service isn't, how do we define great customer experience today — and how then to provide it?
Need for a better customer service experience
Much of a post-sales customer experience lives in the customer engagement centre. Technology is central to the ability of a contact centre to align with the changing demands of the customer. contact centres today are rich with functionality from smart routing to workforce optimisation capabilities to omnichannel support. Some even integrate with a CRM to provide additional information on the customer request.
In the past, a contact centre might be seen as a cost centre. But when we factor in the impact of not rising to customer demands, a contact centre can either make or break a customer relationship. This means your contact centre is more than a cost centre. It is an opportunity to create long-term customers, both lowering churn and increasing revenue.
Technology can help. But you'll need to select the right technology.
The rise of contact centre 2.0
In a recent study by RingCentral and Brian Solis of Altimeter group, 71 percent of companies stated the two most important digital transformation strategies are customer service and digital technology integration. These strategies point to the need today for technology to be a critical component in providing better experiences.
For the digital transformation of contact centres, cloud-based technologies are leading the charge. Cloud technologies upgrade the way organisations manage customer engagement by giving them a centralised platform to connect anywhere, anytime. Cloud computing also maximises the consumerisation and distribution of web-enabled devices, allowing customers and contact centre representatives to communicate, collaborate, and connect more effectively.
Critical to contact centre 2.0 is the use of collaboration technology. Contact engagement centre agents, teams, and experts throughout the organisation are connected through intuitive, agile, and real-time tools that work across multiple channels and devices. No longer get transferred from one agent to the next. One agent has access to not only a variety of integrated cloud applications but the combined knowledge of the organisation. This levelling experience allows for unparalleled information sharing and customer satisfaction.
Making it happen
As we see above, as customer expectations and preferences for service and engagement are surpassing the capabilities of legacy systems and models. Customer experience and customer satisfaction are directly tied to contact centre capabilities. As such, improving customer experience and satisfaction moves the contact centre from a cost centre to a revenue generator. Today is critical for companies to update their contact centre technology to a cloud solution that not only integrates with the tools businesses rely on but connect with the additional sources of information within the organisation.
It is important today that businesses incorporate an omnichannel solution that lets customers choose their preferred method of communicating with your company, including voice, chat, social media, SMS, email, and more.
Intelligent IVR and self-service options — tightly integrated with smart routing functionality — help customers connect more quickly to the agent who can best handle their needs. Optimisation tools will help you optimise staff scheduling, improve call-centre efficiencies, survey customers, and more.Retail Customer Experience
Facial recognition combats load-shedding shoplifting
26/03/2019 - 08:39
South Africa’s load-shedding woes are not limited to the inconvenience suffered by consumers. The country’s retailers are set for a dramatic spike in shoplifting, warns one facial recognition for business specialist.
How retailers can add value for consumers in turbulent economic times
25/03/2019 - 15:51
For the most part, it has been a dismal year for South African retailers; elevated household debt, higher fuel prices and an increase in value-added tax squeezed consumer spending. However, Ackermans, South Africa’s longest standing value retailer, performed well over 2018 reporting growth of just over 10% which is three times more than the industry benchmark.
Confusion around best-before dates causing unnecessary waste
25/03/2019 - 11:14
Confusion around best-before dates is widespread, causing unnecessary food waste. And in a country that's already food insecure, binning good food is not only unconscionable, it's plain wrong.
Watches of Switzerland sets its sights on more US acquisitions
25/03/2019 - 09:38
Watches of Switzerland expects to make further acquisitions in the US, which it first entered in 2017 with the purchase of jeweller Mayors, its CEO said.
Load shedding threatens jobs, economic recovery, says consumer body
22/03/2019 - 13:31
Load shedding, which has been escalated to Stage 4, is posing a significant risk to economic recovery, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa said in a statement, as rotational blackouts continued to grip the country.