After all the recent upheaval to the retail industry and heightened consumer expectations, omnichannel retailers are looking for ways to future-proof their customer experience (CX) strategies to ensure they’re not caught flat-footed again.
Customer experience automation, which leverages digital workers to assist customers in accessing product and order information in real time from pre-purchase through post-delivery, is key to future-proofing CX. It’s a powerful tool to help retailers weather the challenges that will inevitably continue to reshape the retail landscape.
1. Transcend contact center limitations.
In a tight labor market, staffing contact centers during high-volume shopping periods has become more difficult than ever. We saw this already during the hiring crunch that retailers experienced during the past two holiday seasons. Add to that a growing preference for hybrid and work-from-home jobs and it’s clear that relying exclusively on a call center model for customer support exposes brands to significant risk. While no one is suggesting that contact centers will become obsolete in the near term, future-proofing customer experience requires maximizing your support resources without expanding head count. CX automation achieves this by helping shoppers resolve common inquiries (e.g., order status, starting a return, applying a promo code) on their own, freeing up customer support agents to handle only the most urgent and high-priority issues.
2. Help customers help themselves.
The fact that it costs less to retain an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one is as close to an immutable law as you can find in retail. Therefore, future-proofing your CX to focus on building loyalty, reducing friction in the purchase process, and making each brand interaction as simple for customers as possible is essential. CX automation supports this goal by empowering shoppers to dictate their engagements with your brand and resolve their own inquiries in real time. Whether it’s receiving a SMS update regarding a delayed shipment, managing the return process in a few clicks, or resolving a post-delivery issue, providing customers with transparency across the buying journey converts them into long-term repeat purchasers.
3. Scale how and when you need to.
Future-proofing isn’t about correctly predicting what will happen; it’s about building the flexibility to adapt to what you can’t predict. Investing in a customer care automation platform that can quickly scale to new communications channels and types of customer inquiries hedges against higher call volumes.
Year-over-year e-commerce growth doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Accordingly, as you build out and invest in your CX strategy, you need to think beyond your current needs. This means equipping your brand with the tools necessary to maintain profitability as customer expectations evolve and economic, political and environmental forces impact your industry.
Customer experience automation is a cost-effective, scalable way to future-proof your CX strategy against the next big retail disruption.
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Fang Cheng is the CEO and co-founder of Linc Global, a customer care automation platform that helps brands differentiate themselves with automated services and experiences across the channels shoppers prefer. Linc Global has served over 15 percent of U.S. shoppers, creating a competitive advantage, reducing customer service costs, and turning service interactions into new engagement and revenue. Linc Global's clients include Carter’s, eBags, Stein Mart, Lamps Plus, JustFab.com, Tarte, Hugo Boss, Vineyard Vines, and P&G Shop.
With a passion and relentlessness for improving the customer experience, Fang brought together a seasoned team of technologists and product-minded people to empower brands with the ability to serve and engage shoppers and to drive profitable growth in the face of rising competition and customer expectations. With a Ph.D. in bioinformatics from NYU, Fang previously co-founded a business acquired by Amazon, and prior to that, she worked as a hedge fund manager.