By Brian Atkinson, GM and VP EMEA at Five9
The expectation for a great customer experience is higher than ever as we enter into a
new era of retail. Those who show agility and adaptability in the market will go the
distance, those that don’t will follow in the same footsteps as the likes of
Debenhams. The future of the retail landscape is uncertain, but by offering seamless
and swift customer service across all channels, brands can keep consumers happy
and most importantly – loyal.
To do this, brands need to provide customers with answers and solutions to their
issues quickly and effectively Over the continuous lockdowns, contact centres became
the ‘new front door’ to businesses –
welcoming customers and even once stores reopened, they remained an integral part
of the customer journey.
Expectations have been set
Year after year, customers continue to have high expectations for brands. From
knowing who they are, their previous interactions and history with the brand when
they contact customer service, to resolving issues and answering questions first time.
It’s all about delivering seamless omnichannel experiences with a human connection.
Despite the pandemic, these consumer expectations have remained relatively
unchanged – even amongst the most loyal customers. Recent research carried out
during and after the pandemic shutdowns found only 15% of retailers’ loyalty members
felt their customer service issues were resolved on their first attempt. Meanwhile, only
50% of customers reported that they felt completely satisfied with the resolution of their
With so much disruption caused by the pandemic, being agile, adaptive and
responsive to change and to customers’ needs, makes all the difference between
thriving and going out of business. It is also making the difference between inspiring
customers’ loyalty and losing them to more agile competitors.
Don’t jeopardise loyalty
Brands are under more pressure than ever to deliver. Demand is beginning to outweigh
supply as eCommerce retailers scramble for extra warehouse space to fulfil
orders. Those unable to handle the ongoing number of queries and are too slow to
respond to customer needs risk breaking their trust and jeopardising brand loyalty.
No doubt that retailers’ goals are to deliver a modern, seamless, omnichannel customer experience. To do this successfully, however, they need integrated solutions that help agents to deliver the right information at the right time to solve consumer issues. Too often, retailers struggle with using multiple systems in the contact centre that aren’t connected. Brands may have a great online, mobile, or in-store experience, but if that experience is different across the interaction channels and fails to deliver what the customer was expecting, they risk losing them for life. The key to delivering modern
retail customer service is to move their customer service to the cloud to gain the flexibility, agility and scalability needed to deliver on customer expectations of a fast and seamless service.
Equip agents with the tools they actually need
Omnichannel experiences are standard practice for modern businesses. But delivering
on omnichannel is like aiming at a shifting target. New channels are always emerging,
customers are continually adopting new digital practices, and their expectations never
Customer experience leaders that are at the top of their game know that offering faster,
more connected experiences that delight their customers is critical for keeping them
happy and building their loyalty.
The only way to do this is to use a cloud contact centre that is integrated with key
operational systems such as CRM solutions. Retailers need to be connected to various
applications for marketing, sales, finance, IT, and workforce optimisation. A connected
cloud platform will enable businesses to be predictive and proactive, so agents are
equipped to offer real-time resolution that regains and secures customer loyalty.
What’s important now
The impact from the pandemic is ever-growing. Nobody, especially retailers, could
have predicted the acceleration of digital channels and ecommerce sites. But, by
being agile and adaptable, – especially when it comes to contact centres – retailers can
better serve customers. Brands which continuously provide great experiences will drive
brand loyalty and ultimately reap the rewards.