The online shopping experience has changed. Continual advances in technology, unpredictable public health guidelines, and a new culture of remote work have all converged in the last couple of years, accelerating the already steadily growing popularity of e-commerce shopping experiences — and creating a higher standard for retail customer service and customer communications.
The Wall Street Journal reports that 25% of retail sales are predicted to take place online by 2024. And retailers of all sizes are now struggling to navigate this new customer service landscape. Customers today are more likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question, turning long wait times into a potentially costly liability. Add to that the high operational costs support organizations incur during a big influx of inquiries — and the inefficient and frustrating experience live agents face when forced to jump between multiple systems to obtain sufficient customer details — and it can be difficult for retailers to determine the most impactful way forward.
Here are four tips to improve customer service in retail.
Be proactive and stay ahead of the customer
A good AI-powered social listening solution will make it easy for your team to know when customers are discussing your brand or products across a variety of digital and social channels in real time, even when your brand isn’t @mentioned in the conversation. And by using AI, in combination with customer insights, to identify potential issues before they ever cause a problem, you can be more proactive with your customer outreach.
Alert customers to issues before they become aware of them, and well before they ever feel the need to reach out to you for help. Sprinklr Modern Care helps you send automated messages to your customers proactively by detecting frustration signals that occur at any point in their journey with AI. Here’s an example of how that works:
Retail customer service should make self-service a priority
Customers prefer to help themselves when possible. And according to Gartner, resolutions that involve time-consuming live interactions can cost businesses 80 to 100 times more than a self-service fix. With the right customer service solution, you’ll be able to listen more closely to your customers, and provide useful self-service options so they find the answers they need without needing to ask for help.
Self-service for retail customers can take many forms, including:
A self-service knowledge base: makes it easy for customers to search for information like hours of business, delivery zones, sustainability initiatives, or shipping and returns policies
Virtual shopping assistants (conversational AI bots): based on the questions a customer asks, a virtual shopping assistant can respond with store finders, product availability, product recommendations, order status, refund status, and more
Virtual consultation bookings: allows customers to book a slot to chat with a product expert or designer, at a time that’s convenient for them
Guided shopping: provide step-by-step guides that make it easy for customers to choose specific product details then add the right product to their cart, using guided workflows
Make your agents’ jobs easier and more efficient with augmentation
Employee happiness is directly impacted by the tools they use to do their job. Turnover is already high in call centers, and an aggravating, time-consuming experience using work systems can just make the problem worse.
By using AI for the contact center to augment your live agents, you’ll set them up to focus more on complex queries, better handle tough conversations, and provide more thoughtful personal interactions with customers.
Here are a few ways agent augmentation can improve retail customer service:
Connect with an expert: route customers to the best-qualified product expert or support agent by dynamically matching customers to agents based on past interactions and the customer’s intent, mood, geographic location, and other available data
Seamless channel switching: let agents switch between channels (e.g., from Twitter to Twitter DMs) without having to create separate tickets — making it easy for them to maintain a single conversation thread in the agent desktop
360° shopper view: gain visibility into a customer’s current digital shopping cart, order, and browsing history, making it easy for an agent to deliver personalized suggestions
Improve your shopping experience by optimizing customer service
Actionable reporting and access to robust customer insights are a critical part of any good retail customer service software solution. By regularly reviewing and responding to the insights on the surface, your organization can create a more efficient environment for agents, and provide increasingly personalized and helpful experiences for customers.
The best solutions will make it easy to:
Identify why customers are reaching out: leverage AI-powered insights to learn why your customers are contacting you, and resolve recurring issues at scale so future customers don’t experience those issues — ultimately helping to reduce service volumes and contact center costs
Uncover actionable care insights (improve agent performance): use AI to analyze contact center voice call recordings
Sprinklr Modern Care makes it easy for retailers, including Samsung and CDiscount, to proactively engage with customers whenever and wherever it matters most.
Find out how our unified contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution makes it easy to listen to and understand retail and e-commerce customers, and filter out the noise — routing all engageable and relevant conversations to the right agent and teams.