Help Wanted: 3 Ways to Deliver Great CX Despite the Labor Shortage
Workforce turnover has reached an all-time high with a record 9.2 million vacancies. In June, the number of Americans who quit their jobs increased by 164,000 to 942,000, and retail is leading the charge with the most resignations of any industry.
The resulting labor shortage has retailers across the country struggling to keep enough qualified people on the floor to provide hands-on service. And this shortage couldn’t come at a worse time, just as people resume in-person shopping activities and the summer travel season winds down.
Staffing shortages make it difficult to deliver the exceptional experience your customers expect. Not only are there not enough people to help, but the staff you do have are bearing additional burdens, which can make them feel burned out, overworked and more likely to leave as a result — definitely not a good recipe for exceptional customer service.
To cope with the staff shortage, here are three ways customer experience automation (CXA) can help retailers deliver exceptional customer service when they’re shorthanded:
1. Automate personalized customer engagement.
Automation will never be a substitute for a human touch, but it can help avoid jeopardizing relationships due to staff shortages. By sending personalized emails that engage customers with specific offers, relevant product recommendations or follow-up messages, you can maintain excellent customer experience (CX) while lightening the load on current employees. Automation keeps the conversation flowing and your store top of mind while freeing up precious staff time to work with in-store customers.
2. Accelerate the recruiting process.
Hiring can feel like a full-time job, leaving you with no time for customer service. Reviewing resumes, screening candidates and scheduling interviews is extremely time consuming. CXA solutions can accelerate the process and help you get top candidates hired quicker. When Laundry Lady founder Susan Toft realized her manual recruiting process was taking way too much time, she aimed to scale it up to get more people on the job and leveraged CXA to accelerate the process. Now, prospects submit a form and the information gets funneled into a pipeline for review. Each candidate is then automatically entered into an email cascade that sends a series of messages explaining the role and links to informational videos. Toft can track each candidate’s progress through the flow and see how engaged they are based on which videos they’ve watched and links they’ve clicked. Automation has allowed her to speed up her screening process and hire qualified candidates faster.
3. Streamline onboarding.
Once staff is hired, you need to get them up to speed quickly to deliver the personal touch that makes your business unique. CXA can help here as well by automating onboarding to save time and boost efficiency. At Laundry Lady, new hires are immediately entered into an onboarding workflow where they automatically receive the paperwork and training materials they need to get started. Toft can track each new recruit’s progress throughout the journey and make sure they’re staying on track to quickly get them ready to serve customers with the standard of service her company is known for. And because new hires can complete onboarding at their convenience, they don’t have to work around Toft's schedule, and she can spend her time providing more direct customer service.
While there’s no substitute for help from a real, live human, CXA solutions can reduce some of the manual time and effort that goes into nurturing prospects. This, in turn, gives retailers more time to focus on providing direct service and can help them hire and grow faster, as well as to continue delivering the exceptional service customers expect at scale.
Dutta Satadip is the chief customer officer at ActiveCampaign, a customer experience automation (CXA) platform.
Related story: 3 Tips for Retailers Struggling to Surpass Customer Service Expectations
Dutta Satadip is the chief customer officer at ActiveCampaign. Dutta is a tech industry veteran, thought leader and keynote speaker who specializes in customer strategy, customer acquisition, customer retention, and scaling operations. At Pinterest and Google, he built organizations that engage customers to scale and profitability.
Dutta has more than 20 years of industry experience and has held various senior leadership roles in most key operating areas, including Pre-Sales, Business Operations, Product Strategy, Product Management, Product Marketing, Engineering as well as Consulting positions. He specializes in transforming organizations by identifying the right strategic levers to drive the business while minimizing risk. Dutta has operated extensively in both developed and emerging countries.