“The initial lockdown brought to light how many retailers had not invested properly in their e-commerce experience throughout the years,” said Durk Stelter, CRO of customer experience platform Linc. “Those investments should be coming to fruition now, and retailers should be starting to focus on the technology needed to provide the best-in-class customer experience.”
“In order to continue growth, Foot Locker should be prioritizing the customer experience on its e-commerce site and allowing many different options such as buy online, pick-up in-store, ship-to-store and curbside availability so that their customers can easily find the product they need and receive the best order support possible.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the retail sector. Amid the turmoil, there are several key CX trends that stand out, and a retailer’s ability to respond and adapt to them may mean the difference between thriving in a post-coronavirus world or becoming another corporate casualty of the pandemic.
Peloton customers are furious over excessive order delays, and experts say lengthy wait times. “With so many delays continuing to occur, brands that do not prioritize their order support experience will lose loyal customers who will choose to purchase from those that have.”
In my work helping businesses enhance and scale customer experience (CX), I’ve seen firsthand how the current pandemic is disrupting typical customer care practices and processes. Across industries, many brands are facing one of two scenarios right now.
The Ridge, a digitally native online retailer of proprietary, streamlined carbon fiber products such as wallets, phone cases, and backpacks, has chosen Linc’s AI-powered platform to provide shoppers with a cohesive experience across the whole buying experience.
“While retailers must figure out how to manage returns, getting overly tough with customers in such an environment could hurt their brand and impede opportunities to make the next sale, according to Linc VP of Marketing Luke Starbuck.”
Brands can’t depend on the traditional massive influx of foot traffic to bolster their bottom lines. That doesn’t mean deal hunters won’t be online in full force looking to score Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains. Retailers need to be ready to scale their businesses for a different kind of holiday shopping season.
“Instead of trying to stop returns altogether, retailers need to spend their energy embracing the natural behavior of returning as an opportunity to increase engagement and customer loyalty.” –Luke Starbuck, VP Marketing, Linc
Whether your brand is flourishing or foundering in the current climate, the need for exceptional customer service is paramount, especially as consumers’ mindsets shift to emphasizing security and certainty.
The way shoppers and brands interact has changed fundamentally in recent years, thanks to the rise of online shopping, social media and mobile usage. With the latest round of innovations, brands must literally engage in conversation with consumers — and deliver relevant, instantaneous two-way communication at scale.
The customer experience (CX) doesn’t start when the customer arrives. Internal processes, methods and data are the building blocks — and perhaps the limiters — on the quality of every customer experience. To deliver experiences that will win customers back time and time again, brands are digging deeper than polished scripts, perfected web pages and better-branded communications.
Instagram has long been a place for users to discover new brands through organic content and paid ads. Thanks to a new tool, users can now complete the entire customer journey without ever leaving the app.
In our digital world, customer centricity, the customer experience and personalization separate the winners from the losers. So it’s not a coincidence that the companies that invest in collecting customer data thrive.
In most circles, the word “bias” has obviously negative connotations. Regarding the media, it means news is slanted one way or another. In science, it means preconceived notions led to inaccurate conclusions.
In marketing today, artificial intelligence is a valuable assistant. But while AI is a useful tool when it comes to gathering and analyzing data, people are still superior when it comes to outside-the-box ideas. Because creativity is such a major element of marketing, autonomous AI has yet to be fully implemented.
Many business leaders focus on acquiring new customers when trying to grow. Although that’s an important component, it’s even more critical to retain the ones you have and give them a connection to your brand. Yet too many companies neglect this key concept of customer loyalty.
With the importance of customer experience (CX) firmly entrenched in their psyche, most successful retailers now understand that if they want to retain customers long term, they need to think about what happensafter shoppers hand over their credit card numbers.
“Still, the Best Buy-Amazon partnership for Smart TV sales brings the companies closer than they had ever been before, according to Luke Starbuck, vice president of marketing at customer care automation platform Linc.”
“…according to our recent study in partnership with BrandGarage, 87 percent of the 104 retail executives we surveyed plan to increase the use of AI to service their customers moving forward.” –Luke Starbuck, VP Marketing, Linc
The era of firstname.lastname@example.org is over—and the time for automated, conversational communications has arrived. Today’s consumers expect more from their most loved brands, and companies must evolve to deliver real-time engagement that satisfies customer needs and wants.
“Rising consumer expectations and increases in advertising expenses are driving the cost of customer acquisition and conversion through the roof. In fact, one study found an average increase of 65 percent in the past five years. This makes it tougher to compete, as it often means a net loss on the first order, and many customers never return. In order to stand out and strengthen profit-boosting customer loyalty, modern brands are turning to value-added services and automation to create an exceptional customer experience.”
“PureFormulas selected the Linc platform for its commerce-specialized natural language understanding, allowing the e-tailer to avoid the expense of developing a custom-built AI solution. Since launching AI-based, automated customer service, PureFormulas has seen increased customer engagement and conversions across more channels, improved customer experience as a result of instant order information and quicker resolution of questions, and heightened engagement from personalized recommendations and better access to customer data.”
“The interview with a customer service applicant is underway. After looking at skills and background, it’s time to determine whether the applicant will be a good fit. You’ve conducted hundreds of interviews before, but this one’s a little different — you’re interviewing an agent that could handle thousands of conversations simultaneously and respond to customers in a personal way, without delay.”
“A company’s triumph in the modern “system” era depends more on customers’ experiences than how that company presents its brand. Consumers, then, shouldn’t have to decide between the “what” and the “how” of a brand: An engaging, interactive relationship is what’s needed to make customers feel that they’re a part of the organization.”
“As Forrester and other industry analyst firms predict, developing digital-first customer experiences that leverage the power of customer care automation to provide the highly contextual assistance is what’s need to meet today’s customers demand.“
“A majority of consumers that have bought voice assistants say there’s no way they would want to go back to their life before voice. The opportunity is real, but only for brands willing to step outside their traditional mind-set. Customers are ready and willing to build new habits and will be delighted by the services that can be offered through these familiar devices they use each day.”
“We’re using AI not only to support customers in their transactional needs — like ‘Where’s my package’ or ‘Can I return a product?’ But we’re also using [bots] to acquire them again,” says Aarde Cosseboom, of TechStyle Fashion Group. “Some of our customers [contact us] to cancel, and we actually retain them with our AI machine learning bots.”
Much of the buzz about the potential for artificial intelligence to transform retailing has little to do with reality. Here are some insights into how retailers can use AI today, and how to avoid getting sucked into hype-driven initiatives.
“When working with an emerging technology – like voice-activated AI, for example – it is easy to get one’s head turned by novelty. The experience itself is highly novel – not to mention unique, noted Luke Starbuck, vice president of marketing at Linc Global – because unlike other attempts at digital navigation, it is not centered on a screen.”