“Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.” – Blake Morgan, Customer Experience Futurist, Author and Keynote Speaker
Today’s customers shape their expectations on the unlimited information and opinions at their fingertips. Because of this, the linear buying process is simply too slow and generic. Retailers must adapt to the “always-on” environment, where customers can constantly re-evaluate a company’s actions. The customer experience is essentially perpetual.
With the continuing digital evolution, retail is rapidly transforming with the influx of disruptive circumstances and technologies. Now, companies must apply online tools, social media, and digital relationships to drive sales across multiple channels. As digital communication continues to drive positive customer interactions, the in-store experience will need to be heightened and aligned to match.
The Human Side of Sales Effectiveness: Where Art and Science Intersect
At the same time, leveraging technology is not the whole solution. An article at Forbes.com reports, “The future of retail CX is human.” Your customers want to know that you are listening to them. They want to feel that you care about them as people and value their business. Technology is just a means to unlocking opportunities for a long-lasting relationship, and a superb person-to-person interaction with your associates online and in the store.
In other words, retailers should strike a balance between art and science.
Notably, profitability measures have widened from purely operational efficiency to include the financial implications of the customer experience. Managers are expected to seek out opportunities to streamline processes, target and engage customers and boost the performance of their teams. Meanwhile, retail operations and marketing should be aligning the customer experience across all touchpoints to coalesce physical brick-and-mortar, online, and e-commerce into a seamless experience. Unfortunately, many retailers fall short in creating a positive customer experience this way.
Quantify your customer experience through the voice of the customer, setting benchmarks and measuring against them. Develop a holistic training approach that goes beyond skill set to view the “whole person” within the context of your company culture.
Learn how your customers are using technology inside and outside the store and adapt to meet their communicating and shopping preferences on their terms—when, where, and how they choose. Realize that the customer experience continues beyond the store and all customer touchpoints must seamlessly align, and plan accordingly.
Put in place a customer experience platform that enables interacting with consumers and gathering pertinent data that can be incorporated into retail operations and marketing endeavors.
Ensure that all facets of operations and marketing have a method of exchanging pertinent information so they can quickly respond to changing customer behavior.
And finally, streamline processes and remove hurdles around customer engagement.
Want to learn more? Check out our eBook, Agility in Retail is Everything: 12 Action Steps to Accelerate Retail Growth.