E-Commerce Growth in the Age of CX: Strategies for Success
The e-commerce trend shows no signs of diminishing as more consumers make this channel their preferred shopping destination. While economic uncertainties continue to affect business sentiment, e-commerce remains a bright spot. The global e-commerce growth rate for 2023 is forecast at 10.4 percent, bringing e-commerce sales worldwide to $6.3 trillion, an increase over the previous year.
Additionally, recent e-commerce sales growth statistics predict that the online shopping trend is expected to continue to grow in the U.S. in the next few years, and is forecast to increase by 50 percent from $907.9 billion in 2022 to $1.4 trillion in 2025.
In an increasingly digital world, the customer experience (CX) often becomes the main source of customer satisfaction. Hence, retailers that neglect customer experience risk frustrated customers, lost sales, and damage to their brand reputation.
Research indicates that 74 percent of consumers are likely to make a purchase based on experience alone and close to a third would stop doing business with a retailer after one bad experience, even if it's with a brand they love.
The reality is that merchants that haven't adequately considered the customer journey and experience may find themselves dealing with frustrated customers, abandoned shopping carts, and even potential damage to their brand’s reputation.
Customers Remember Bad Experiences More Than Good Ones
Customers today expect a hassle-free shopping experience. In today’s competitive market, a negative experience could easily lead to the customer switching brands, costing the retailer effort, time and money that had been invested into building customer loyalty.
One way to manage customer queries given the number of competing priorities for the business is by tapping external customer experience specialists. Outsourced customer experience providers are well-equipped to support brands with dedicated brand representatives, ensuring that requests from customers are well-managed and service standards remain consistent.
Man and Machine, Hand-in-Hand
The wonders from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) joining forces are infinite, and such technologies are fast becoming adept at many “human” jobs. However, there are still limitations for such technology when it comes to managing complex problems effectively. In fact, a study shows that three in four consumers state that they're more loyal to a brand if they can speak to a live person.
Self-service channels enabled by technology are great for straightforward queries. However, for trickier questions that cannot be resolved through standard responses, such as “My order is shipping to an old address, and I’d like to update it. What should I do?” or “I received my order but witnessed the delivery service provider handle it poorly, how do I lodge a complaint?” the human touch plays an irreplaceable role.
A Strong Customer Service Team Goes a Long Way
A positive customer experience results in an enjoyable interaction with a brand and it transcends beyond checkout. Retailers that have a well-thought-out strategy, including the ability to anticipate problems, can save themselves both time and money.
For example, if an item is out of stock post-purchase or if there's a delay in shipping, retailers should have in place a process to reach out and update customers via their preferred channel instantly.
By investing in cultivating meaningful relationships and engaging customers through personalized communications, brands can better position themselves for success in the age of the empowered customer.
Technologies such as AI and ML can aid in managing customer queries, but for complex issues, a human touch is still essential. Through holistic customer service strategies that integrate a strong customer service team, brands can greatly enhance the customer experience and lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Retailers that invest in providing an enjoyable customer experience are likely to reap the benefits in terms of increased sales and customer loyalty.
Byron Fernandez is group chief information officer at TDCX, a digital customer experience solutions provider.
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Byron J. Fernandez is group chief information officer (CIO) and executive vice president (EVP) at TDCX.
Byron has over 20 years of experience in Customer Experience operations in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), spanning the design of customer access strategies, inbound customer contact, outbound outreach, and leading high-performing contact centres.
Byron’s expertise across sectors such as telecommunications, banking, insurance, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), technology, and government contact centers have played an instrumental role in him leading TDCX’s operations across various markets.
Byron has an MBA in Management Information Systems, is a COPC-certified Implementation Leader, Call Center Industry Advisory Council (CIAC)-certified Strategic Leader, as well as a member of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). He is also one of the few individuals to be presented with the Career Achievement Award by the Contact Centre Association of Malaysia (CCAM).