There are two options for brands seeking a competitive advantage: offer the lowest prices or superior customer experience with proactive, personalized engagement.
The advantage of the latter is that consumers are willing to spend up to 16 percent more for a better experience. Consumers are currently operating in a negative mindset, unsure about how long this situation will last. There’s fear around preferred product stock outs, delays in their deliveries, cancellations, refunds and safe handling of their orders and cancellation fees. They expect individual attention now more than ever.
Now’s the time for brands to shine. Brands using data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automated communication technologies are able to scale how they manage consumer expectations. While most retail locations are closed and it’s uncertain if they’ll re-open after COVID-19 is fully contained, digital customer experience is now the sole basis of brand differentiation and trust. And that means the pressure is on for the contact center—in effect, the hub of customer communications involved before, during, and post-purchase—to deliver personalized service. As contact centers now become remote, retailers need to keep in mind key support and operations considerations and that there are also ways to augment, rather than fully rip-and-replace, on-premise contact center systems.
An immediate opportunity for impact is setting up an interactive, self-service voice response (IVR) system, integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) software, that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) for natural language processing (NLP) to provide intent-based routing.
For example, UK retail giant Marks & Spencer’s IVR translates customer queries into actionable intent with more than 90 percent accuracy, automatically routing customers without needing to ask them for a “reason for contact.” Their IVR handles more than one million inbound telephone calls a month, with automation that reduces average handle time by 10 seconds. That adds up to happier customers and more productive, happier agents.
Over the coming months, the retail landscape will continue to transform into a new normal that requires a scalable, flexible, and elastic communications infrastructure. Learn more about how to prepare for the future of retail, and how to leverage cloud-based communications to improve customer engagement and key business metrics, in the new Retail Consumer Impact Report, available free now.
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