Brands can surpass expectations if they streamline their processes and systems to bridge gaps in the customer journey.
Street Fight has featured an article by Michelle Berryman, Hero Digital’s SVP of User Experience, titled: Level Up Your Customer Experience with Unified Touch Points.
Michelle Berryman believes that technology can augment CX in both virtual and in-person settings. Read her interesting perspectives below.
Consumers expect frictionless brand interactions. But despite advances in technology, brands still struggle to make interactions faster and simpler. Why? It’s often because internal silos create misalignment between physical and digital touch points, leaving gaps in the customer experience (CX).
Shoppers don’t care why or how inventory management systems connect to shopping apps — they only care that the item they want is in stock and in the right aisle when they arrive in store. And as consumers pay closer attention to their spending in an uncertain economy, it’s more important than ever for retailers to deliver a seamless, personalized experience every time.
Here’s the good news: When it’s deployed strategically, technology can augment CX in both virtual and in-person settings. The key is for retailers to align their business models around excellent customer service to avoid introducing friction into the customer journey.
Disjointed touch points complicate the customer journey
Today’s consumers expect more transparency from brands. Consider the example of Domino’s pizza tracker, which sends customers mobile status updates, notifying them when their pizza is being assembled, baking in the oven, and on the way to their door.
For Dominos, increased transparency reduces the number of people calling the store to ask how much longer until their pizza arrives, alleviating the burden on employees. But if a customer does call, the employee can easily access the customer order and share the estimated arrival time.
Domino’s pizza tracker is a great example of a brand that has adopted technology to add transparency to an otherwise opaque and analog process. But many brands have yet to implement a digitization process as efficient as Domino’s. Often, the culprits are legacy systems that weren’t designed to share data with customer-facing applications and prevent brands from providing the transparency customers crave.
Departmental silos are one of the other reasons brands struggle to offer greater transparency and bridge gaps between physical and digital touch points. Specifically, legacy processes limit information-sharing across technologies and departments. As a result, disparate technologies create knowledge gaps in the workforce—making it more difficult for employees to answer customer questions, resolve problems, or provide progress updates.
For example, suppose a customer wants to make a return. The customer works with an in-store employee, but a problem arises and the employee needs to call the brand’s customer service center. The employee explains the situation to the representative, who then transfers the call to someone else. The in-store employee repeats the same story to another person. Since the employees lacked access to the same information, it complicated the return process for the customer and disrupted the employee experience.
In an increasingly interconnected world, customers expect organizations to deliver seamless experiences. Retail brands can surpass expectations if they streamline their processes and systems to bridge gaps in the customer journey.
3 ways to upgrade your CX
To provide a frictionless experience, you need to first align your company behind the same customer-driven values. From there, you can understand what your customers need and identify the right technology and tools to eliminate departmental silos and connect customer touch points.
Here’s how to consistently deliver a first-rate CX:
Prioritize CX. Seamless CX doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to understand customer expectations and pain points. But your brand needs to first commit to being a company that cares about every customer interaction, whether online or offline. When everyone is aligned behind the same goals, it drives better decision-making around improvements to the customer journey. It also helps you determine which technology and tools employees need to break down information silos and ultimately deliver a better CX.
Identify moments that matter. After your organization decides to prioritize CX, you need to identify opportunities to alleviate concern, offer joy, or provide a sense of progress. Opportunities to pinpoint these moments include asking for customer feedback, analyzing customer behavior, or evaluating industry trends. Equipped with these insights, you can identify ways to foster greater transparency in the customer journey.
Consider the example of a long airline flight. Passengers want an effortless journey from arrival to takeoff, so airliners often use digital touch points to alleviate travel frustrations like boarding and baggage. When passengers receive a notification that their bags are loaded onto the airplane, it transforms a common source of anxiety about lost luggage into a moment of joy and trust. The key is championing transparency to keep passengers informed and at ease.
Coordinate experiences. Once you know what your customers want, you can be there in the moments that matter. This process requires the right combination of technology and tools — specifically solutions that provide high-level visibility into customer data and enable data-sharing between departments.
Adopting the right internal technology aligns physical and digital touch points. The result is that customer-facing employees are empowered to handle customer issues more efficiently because they have access to the information they need. In the same way, customer-facing technology offers more visibility into your operations to keep customers updated and in the loop.
Frictionless CX is a must. When your employees answer the phone or respond to emails, they need access to the right insights to assist customers. And your customer-facing technology must provide the information customers need to stay up to date. If you find opportunities to meet customers in the moments that matter, your brand reaps the benefits of greater customer satisfaction and retention, even in an uncertain economy.