In the rapidly shifting age of the omnichannel shopper, one thing remains true: a focus on customer service is still imperative. Unfortunately, in the age of the omnichannel shopper, customer service has become more difficult. In the early 2000s, for instance, it would not be uncommon to receive a blank stare (or an outright denial) from a store associate if you attempted to return a catalog or online purchase in a physical store. The typical response was simply, “That’s impossible.” And it was. These many retail touchpoints were siloed and it was unthinkable to cross inventory between them.
But here you are today, calling in to change your order after having made a purchase online, and then after receiving it, deciding to return to a local store. This is omnichannel fulfillment and retailing in full swing. It’s expected, it’s completely possible, and it’s the new norm. While this is the new standard, the technology on the customer care side isn’t always up to par. It’s very common to find customer care technology that doesn’t live up to the omnichannel fulfillment and retailing experiences we have grown to love. But retailers need not despair. In this article, we will discuss two areas that technology can improve customer care and help you achieve stellar omnichannel experiences at every customer touchpoint.
Powerful Call Center Technology
It’s incredibly frustrating to be talking with a customer service rep who has no knowledge of you whatsoever, or a rep who can’t help you place or change an order. Technology provides us with futuristic omnichannel fulfillment, but it all comes to a screeching halt at the call center. Customers call in and expect to talk to someone who can see into their account and knows each interaction they have had. They also expect to be able to exchange, return, or buy additional items while on this call.
Call centers need to be updated on the customer’s every move. As you know, that isn’t the industry norm because the technology can be complicated, clunky, and inaccurate. Fortunately, not all customer care technology is like that. Kibo’s Customer Care user interface provides all the information the customer expects, and when used in tandem with Kibo’s Perfect Sync engine, empowers call center employees with the ability to fully satisfy the customer.
How does Perfect Sync work? To create or modify orders for a customer, an order management system needs access to product data such as item name, description, price, customer info, tax, and promotions. Perfect Sync eliminates the large data transfers between the OMS and outside systems. As its APIs access critical customer information in real-time from the system of record, it also minimizes the effort of keeping multiple systems of record in sync with each other.
Whether it’s all stored in the front-end site, or in the PIM, ERP and CMS, Kibo provides a series of APIs to call this information in real-time. This gives the call center agent accurate information, empowers their product knowledge and enables them to drive increased revenue for the business. Perfect Sync is the fastest, lightest front-end integration with the lowest cost of ownership.
According to Forrester Research, “Fifty-five percent of US online adults agree or strongly agree that they tend to shop more with retailers that offer consistent customer service both online and offline — they will research anywhere, buy anywhere, and expect to receive a consistent and seamless experience throughout the phases of their buying journeys.”1 Make sure your customer care technology is a part of the present and the future.
Technology and the Store Associate
In addition to call centers, retail store associates need to have a customer’s buying history at their fingertips.
Imagine a customer comes into your store looking for a skirt to go with the top she bought from you a few weeks ago. Once in the store, she can’t quite remember what the top looked like and turns to your store associates for help. A well-versed store associate might be able to discern which top she bought based on a vague description, but imagine if the store associate could simply look it up on a handheld device? By being able to easily pull up the customer’s order history and see style, size, and color, the store associate can help the consumer make an informed decision and encourage the purchase.
Or imagine someone came into your store to find a case for their tablet. They need to know the specs on the tablet in order to select the case that will fit correctly. They can’t quite remember. What do they do? Leave the store? Order the product online once they are home and have the specs? Text their spouse who is hopefully near the tablet to get the information? Or, if the customer bought their tablet through you, they could simply ask the store associate.
A survey by Salesforce found that 31 percent of consumers strongly/somewhat agree that if they had an online account or purchased something before, they would expect a store associate to know what they had purchased in their physical or online store. 2
Great customer service in store comes first from the store associate, and secondly the technology the store associate uses. Accessing technology is key to helping customers. For example, Kibo’s in-store solution is a web-based mobile point of sale platform that facilitates the unification of the online and offline experience. It is the link between the eCommerce cart and the in-store cart. Empowering store associates with this kind of technology delivers on customer expectations of omnichannel experiences.
Unifying the customer experience doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right technology that empowers your call centers and your retail store associates, you can greatly improve your customer care.
- It’s Time For Retail Stores To Open Their Doors To The Digital Org, Forrester Research, Inc., October 29, 2015