Obsessed With CX: Retail Leaders Find Success When They Invest in the Customer Experience
The pandemic and resulting economic slowdown has been devastating to retailers. Supply chain disruptions, spending cuts, and labor shortages have all contributed to retail woes.
While things have gotten tougher for retailers, customers haven’t gotten more forgiving. According to Zendesk's 2022 Customer Experience Trends, just one bad customer experience can drive consumers to shop elsewhere. Not surprisingly, 47 percent of customers believe that customer service often feels like an afterthought.
The report also revealed that while 72 percent of retail leaders believe that customer service is a critical business priority, not all retail executives are on board. Just 40 percent of retail leaders think their executive team is committed to customer experience (CX).
Delivering a great customer experience isn't easy. It takes more than just a dedicated CX team to do the job. Customer experience needs to be everyone’s responsibility — including those at the top of the organization.
Personalization is a Top Driver of Success
While many physical stores were forced to close during the pandemic, e-commerce boomed, making it easy for consumers to buy (almost) anything they wanted — often with just one click.
Consumers who got used to this easy, hassle-free way of shopping now have higher expectations for their customer experience. They want to be able to shop seamlessly across all channels — whether it's within a brick-and-mortar store, on a retailer’s website, or through a mobile app.
No matter how they shop, customers want their experience to feel personal. When they need help, they want to be able to interact with empathetic agents wherever they are, who can tailor service to their needs. When customers have a good service experience, they’re more likely to shop again with the retailer.
Data also shows that CX leaders believe personalization is key to a successful digital customer experience. In fact, up to 90 percent of customers are willing to spend more for a personalized experience.
Integrate AI-Powered Automation Into Your CX Strategy
Along with personalization, automation can help retailers deliver a terrific customer experience. An automation-first strategy delivers a better human support experience — one that allows businesses to use their human resources wisely.
Artificial intelligence-powered CX tools enable this in three primary ways:
- Help customers help themselves (and save agents' time): An automation-first approach creates a best-of-all-worlds scenario, where agents get to use their skills on problems that matter most — and deflect the rest.
- Provides better context before the inquiry even reaches an agent: Using an AI-powered tool that provides context and information allows agents to consistently meet and exceed customer expectations.
- Frees up agents to have more meaningful interactions with higher-value customers: More than half of all CX inquiries are fairly basic — and easily answerable by AI. When you automate those easy-to-answer questions, your live agents have more time to address complex, high-value inquiries.
Today’s customers are increasingly demanding a personalized customer experience. To meet this expectation, retailers need to focus on reducing customer effort, delivering speedier resolutions, and boosting the quality of every customer service interaction.
Implementing AI-powered tools provide customer service agents with the necessary context to provide personalized customer interactions. And when customers feel like CX agents truly care about their experience, they're more likely to become a customer for life.
Teresa Anania is senior vice president of customer experience at Zendesk, a service-first CRM company that builds support, sales and customer engagement software designed to foster better customer relationships.