It’s no secret that customers are more impatient, especially when it comes to customer service. With online shopping and social media, it’s easier than ever for consumers to find what they’re looking for. How can a retailer ensure that when customers do visit one of their locations, they will leave with a purchase and a positive experience?
What are some retailers doing to help maintain the customer experience?
Store specific apps are becoming more important, especially those that have customer service tools, such as messaging, incorporated. In app messaging allows consumers to have their questions answered quickly and there is no need to wait for a response. This can keep a customer who is in a location or on a company’s website from abandoning their purchase. Similar to a website chat feature, this in app messaging can be effective, resolve customer issues quickly, and help customers complete their purchase while in the moment.
Enhanced social customer service
There are many channels available to consumers when it comes to business – email, phone, chat, and even social media. When consumers are in the researching phase, or if they have issues with a purchase or product, they are quick to turn to social media. Many companies have incorporated customer service into their social sites. It’s important to note that, when this is done, the company needs to have appropriate staff available to answer questions and resolve issues quickly – unlike email communication, consumers expect a quick response, sometimes within an hour, and sometimes even less. Long gone are the days where it was acceptable to get a response within 24 hours – these days that window is much shorter, and retailers who embrace this change will see success.
Empowering staff on the sales floor
Back in the day, if a consumer was interested in a product that was not available at a particular location, the sales associate would “go the extra mile” by calling nearby stores to see if it was available there. If it was, the other store would either hold the item or, in some cases, would ship the product to the store for the consumer to pick up at a later time. Now, if a product isn’t available at a store, the consumer will likely leave, and either make a purchase later on the website or give up all together.
Some retailers have resolved this by incorporating online sales at the locations – when a consumer can’t find exactly what they’re looking for, the staff is able to order it for them online and have it shipped to their home free of charge. This is a nice upgrade and will keep consumers from shopping elsewhere. It’s yet another way to keep in store consumers from leaving empty handed.
Engaging in mobile technology
Others are stepping up the game and turning to what is referred to as “clienteling” technology – essentially an in store app for associates that can empower them to fully assist any customer, from finding products not available in stores, to tracking loyalty points, and even chatting with professionals when questions cannot be easily answered. One such example is concierge – this service offers a myriad of intuitive, interactive features, including beacon features to notify associates when customers who have the app enter the store to calendars of promotions/events so associates can bring them to the consumer’s attention during their interaction. It also seems to offer an opportunity to complete a purchase, which results in easier checkouts and minimal wait times at the register.
Retailers need to fully embrace technology to stay competitive, whether it’s social media or mobile apps. The more features and perks that make the consumer journey easy, the better off and more competitive the retailer will be.