How technology can support consumer experiences
Let’s examine some aspects where technology can help, and the associated limitations and opportunity:
Customers want to order online ahead of time and pick up goods, typically this interaction occurs “in transit”, while walking round town or travelling. This customer touchpoint has to be connected to all sorts of internal systems in order to be able to communicate availability, product alternatives, back ordering, reservations, payments, updating of loyalty points etc.
Customers don’t want to experience an out of stock message as late as the checkout process, and don’t want any surprise charges (number one reason that basked are abandoned by the way).
Customers expect applications to complete all of their required interactions with no stop points, and sometimes this is restricted by a lack of integration in the retail IT infrastructure. If you’re still dependent on bulky, fixed integrations between systems then you’re missing out on both flexibility and innovation. Micro web services are more nimble and able to change quickly.
2. SOLVING PROBLEMS
Returns are a problem most retailers want to ignore, and who can blame them. It often costs more to process the return that it costs to bin the product. However, it can drastically impact the impression a customer has of your brand. The customer buys something online, then wishes to return it, if they then have to experience a convoluted process that makes it very cumbersome to return something, it could influence their decision to make a second purchase.
If you have a 360 degree view of the customer you can facilitate one click returns, notifying the courier a pick up is required and making the process painless for the customer.
Technology can also help with more mundane support, opening up access to self help and self resolution when it comes to more complex purchase. When you connect your CRM with transactional data, customers can access whatever information they need to resolve their issue.
3. BEING BETTER THAN THE COMPETITION
It’s not just about empowering customers with access to information, it’s also about empowering staff. Staff have a rich understanding of customers, and the more information they have access to in terms of customer history, product information and inventory availability the more they are able to serve customers in the way customers want to be served.
One good example of this is large dining parties paying separate checks, the less the staff member has to “think” about the process, the more streamlined it will appear to the customer. Enabling staff to perform one click updates to a customer account or order adds enormous efficiency.
Ultimately, good customer interactions are designed, and then technology should be able to facilitate them, do you have some complex customer journeys you could share?