Retailers have had a tough few years: if the pandemic didn’t take them out of business, catering to consumers’ heightened expectations might do it.
According to Deloitte, “retailers have rolled out the actual (and virtual) red carpet, offering fast last-mile services like curbside pickup, same-day delivery, personal shoppers, fit predicting tools, and payment plans. And retailers have met consumers where they are — from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to metaverse storefronts and everywhere in between.”
Retailers are stuck between a rock (the rising costs of customer acquisition and retention), a hard place (increasingly price-conscious consumers), and an even harder place (supply chain delays). Many are turning to technology like cloud based contact centers to help deliver omnichannel shopping experiences, enable social commerce, fill labor gaps, and cut costs.
Delivering an Omnichannel Shopping Experience
Customers expect shopping experiences that combine in-store, online, and mobile interactions with social engagement from brands. With this comes the need to interact with customers on a variety of channels and platforms — voice, email, chat, social media, and more. An omnichannel contact center can help retailers by:
- Supporting customers on their preferred channels. Customers who buy products and services in-person or online expect a similar experience when they need live support. An omnichannel contact center solution like GoContact enables customers to interact with sales or service associates via phone, email, chat, and social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook.
- Improving customer communications. With an omnichannel contact center, retailers can centralize all customer communications, regardless of the platform. Employees can see all customer interactions simultaneously and even track conversations across channels, such as when an email escalates to a phone call. Centralizing interactions helps employees deliver faster and more effective customer service experiences.
- Streamlining communications. Omnichannel contact centers can help retailers streamline communications between departments and teams. By providing a central hub for customer communications, contact centers can ensure everyone has access to the same information, improving response times, preventing errors, personalizing experiences, and delivering an improved customer experience.
Enabling Social Commerce
Along with omnichannel shopping experiences, social commerce is becoming increasingly popular. The 2023 Retail Industry Outlook reveals that 6 out of 10 retail executives expect consumers to purchase products directly on social media platforms in 2023. This social commerce can even help retailers cut down on customer acquisition and retention costs by:
- Tapping into the spending habits of digitally-native generations. Digitally-native generations are gaining more purchasing power and gravitating to social commerce: 60 percent of Gen Z and 56 percent of Millennials used social media as part of their holiday shopping journey in 2022.
- Creating a seamless shopping experience. To create a truly seamless shopping experience, retailers must include customer support on social media platforms. Engaging with customers on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp can help keep the interactions on the social platform and prevent app switching. If an interaction escalates to phone or chat, the exchange can continue on the same platform.
Filling Labor Gaps
The right technology can help retailers fill gaps in their labor pools, reduce the need for human labor, tap into new talent pools, and augment existing employees. Cloud contact center technology can help by:
- Supporting remote work. Cloud technologies like cloud contact centers allow retailers to hire customer service representatives who can work remotely from anywhere with an internet connection. This enables retailers to tap into larger talent pools, including those in more affordable markets.
- Facilitating omnichannel interactions. With an omnichannel contact center, agents can engage customers on a variety of channels, reducing the need for additional staff to manage each channel separately.
- Assisting agents. Agent support tools like GoContact’s Agent Assist feature can quickly provide context to a customer’s request or automatically suggest answers for the agent. Agent Assist also facilitates on-the-job training for new agents and helps resolve issues quickly so fewer agents can serve an increasing number of clients.
- Leveraging analytics. Cloud contact centers provide real-time data and analytics that allow retailers to optimize staffing levels based on call volume, peak times, and other factors. These reports can help retailers avoid overstaffing or understaffing and allocate labor resources more efficiently.
Cloud based omnichannel contact centers can also help retailers cut costs with the following benefits:
- Increased scalability. Omnichannel contact centers can quickly scale up or down depending on staffing needs, allowing retailers to respond to changes in demand more effectively and efficiently without needing significant investments in infrastructure or technology.
- Decreased investments. Cloud contact centers are delivered as a service, meaning there is no upfront investment in hardware or software. Plus, ongoing maintenance is included in the subscription fee.
- Improved flexibility. Cloud contact centers are accessible from anywhere, which helps retailers hire employees in different locations and time zones.
Retailers Can Overcome Key Challenges with Contact Center Technology
While the pandemic has been downgraded by the World Health Organization, retailers are still experiencing unprecedented times. Tapping into time- and cost-saving technologies like cloud contact centers can help retailers overcome their top challenges and deliver improved customer service experiences.
Contact us to learn more about how GoContact can help retailers deliver better customer service and improve efficiencies.