Today's shoppers are looking for a unique, tailored experience. Loyalty programs and customer relationship management (CRM) are vital areas where technology and innovative thinking can be woven together to provide one-to-one experiences. A retailer that cannot decipher how each customer interacts with its brand at various touchpoints risks missing out on providing real-time customer care and a stellar experience. It’s also important to create loyalty programs that are personalized to give shoppers a sense of intimacy with each brand, fostering loyalty into the future.
Standard rewards and experiences aren’t enough to cut it in today’s retail environment. In addition, when talking about loyalty, the human element cannot be overlooked. Empowering customer agents to make decisions and providing flexibility to policies will improve interactions with shoppers, strengthening their satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Q: What are the pitfalls of fragmented customer data and what benefits can unified customer records provide a retail organization when trying to foster loyalty?
RICARDO LAYUN, VP Customer Care Services, Radial: Today’s consumers have high expectations about their service interactions with retailers. They want to resolve their issues quickly, without any friction, and often presume the agent knows if they have had previous interactions (whether via phone, e-mail, or chat), and why they are reaching out, before it happens. This personalized service is a key differentiator in building customer loyalty.
If the retailer cannot decipher how the customer interacts with its brand at various touch points, it’s losing sight of that customer and potential opportunities for real-time guidance, upsell, and monetization.
While a complete view of the customer is the goal, many companies fall into the trap of desiring a 360-degree view, but without an understanding of what comprises it. Therefore, it’s important to maintain the right emphasis and focus on what matters to the customer.
Q: Name a few of the latest features and capabilities retailers should know concerning CRM and loyalty solutions.
LAYUN: CRMs that connect all channels — from in-store to online and mobile — can capture data about the retailer’s customers, and transform that data into information and insight that drives customer loyalty and satisfaction. When customer service agents have immediate access at their fingertips to the high-level history of the customer, the customer experiences stellar, personalized customer care and the retailer sets its brand apart from the rest.
Loyalty programs with self-service features are also quite powerful. For example, Radial recently deployed a Visual IVR capability in collaboration with smartphone Visual IVR software provider Zappix, allowing customers to check on their own point balance, as well as delivery status. Implementing such loyalty programs are generating meaningful revenue and higher satisfaction scores for retailers.
Q: What is the number one thing retailers should be doing to encourage loyalty and improve customer satisfaction?
LAYUN: Understand their customers and offer options. Be available to them when and where they need you. Once they connect with an agent, empower that agent to make decisions and provide the service the customer requires. The agent should have a near 360-degree view of the customer’s purchase and contact history and be able to quickly resolve the issue.
Place the customer at the center of the experience. Create customer programs that are personalized, making customers feel special and unique. Empower agents to make decisions that will strengthen their satisfaction and brand loyalty. Inflexible policies and procedures send a message to consumers that the retailer doesn’t really value their business.
Customer care centers can help by leveraging machine learning to provide guidance back to agents, enabling them to make decisions based on prior interactions.
Q: What important insights can be gleaned from analyzing customer engagement and interaction with retailers and their loyalty programs?
LAYUN: Identify the customer’s pain point(s) by analyzing customer engagement, including everything from the agent’s professionalism, demeanor, knowledge, and ability to solve their issues, to issues around policies and procedures that aren’t consumer-friendly. Create loyalty programs that offer personalized services and benefits versus standard rewards available to the masses. Expand your loyalty program to leverage customers on social platforms and community forums, then reward them for great content and experiences. Essentially, their advocacy becomes free marketing. Most retailers have come to that point where they understand customer experience is the long-term play, and if they don’t shift their efforts, they might not thrive.