Place Employee Experience and Customer Experience on the Same Playing Field
A recent Clickatell survey showed that the typical customer spends 13 hours a year on hold — hours they would rather be relaxing (58 percent), doing chores (46 percent) or spending with family (36 percent). Additionally, one-third of those respondents said spending even five minutes to nine minutes on hold can lead to negative feelings towards a brand.
Even with increased digital options available, the customer experience isn't always up to par with customer expectations. This leads to increased frustrations and irritability on both the customer and employee fronts. In fact, recent U.S. government data has shown that aggressive customers are a primary reason an unprecedented amount of people have quit their jobs in customer-facing positions.
Customers want their time back — and innocent retail workers are at risk of their aggressive clashes. Retailers need to be continually addressing and prepping for customer queries, especially as we see an increased need amid ongoing supply chain delays. We know prioritizing a frictionless customer experience is imperative, but no longer only from a customer satisfaction standpoint. As we enter the YOLO “you only live once” economy — also known as “The Great Resignation” — protecting employees from growing consumer frustration is more important than ever.
So, how can companies ensure they’re providing an adequate experience for customers at the same time as their employees?
Chat is Where it’s At
According to the latest Chat Commerce Trends Report, 79 percent of consumers use chat apps daily; furthermore, 89 percent of millennials want to do business through a chat app, and 93 percent think there are benefits to communicating with a business via chat app. That said, it’s important to incorporate back-end tech that enables your company to accept payments via chat apps, like WhatsApp, Apple, Facebook Messenger.
This not only saves customers time but also meets them where they’re already spending their time; plus, it provides them with a secure payment option. This also removes the need for them to disclose credit card details over the phone, which is not only insecure, but typically frustrating for the customer (continually shouting numbers) and the employee (frantically taking it down).
Turn Hold Time Into Fun Time
Implement unique ways to turn consumers’ irritable hold times into helpful conversations by using an end-to-end chat solution, which enables live agents to communicate with customers over popular chat platforms (such as WhatsApp, Apple, Facebook Messenger, as mentioned before).
Some ideas would be prepping employees on the other end with fun trivia questions or details from the customer's last transaction to discuss. Or, there’s an option to go even further and come up with a branded quiz game to keep your customers engaged during the unavoidable holds (and gives you the opportunity to incorporate some quick facts about your company).
Scale Your Bots
Many retailers have already invested in chatbots for service, but it’s time to scale the investment and expand their use. This allows your brand to address customer issues quickly and allow online inquiries to go beyond service to provide more direct-to-customer selling capabilities. This also allows your team time to focus on tasks that can’t be automated, such as helping to process physical items from returns (and start prepping for a heavy return season now, too!) or supporting the IT behind your expanded chatbot system.
Better serving customers and not having frustrations fall back on your employees can be tough, especially for those reps who are burnt out from being on the receiving end of said frustration. The biggest tip to take into consideration is utilizing different technology platforms to continue to better your offering and be able to turn tense moments into opportunities across the customer journey.
Jennifer Shambroom is the chief marketing officer at Clickatell, an enterprise text messaging system.
Related story: 3 Points to Consider When Implementing Chat Commerce
Jennifer Shambroom is a highly accomplished senior marketing executive with a 20-year track record of success achieving growth objectives within start-up, turnaround and rapid growth environments. A veteran of the mobile ecosystem boasting 16 years of mobile app experience. Marketing leadership has also contributed to 10 funding events, the sale of five software companies, and the acquisition of several more. Named Executive of the Year, Marketing Executive of the Year, Shortlist for Most Innovative Woman in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations, 50 Women to Know in Martech and Mobile Women to Watch.