When choosing where to shop, customers today have more choices than ever. One bad experience at a poorly performing store can send your customer straight into the arms of a competitor, or worse — damage your brand reputation. And with social media, bad customer service can go viral. (Fortunately, so can good service!) So it’s important to not only provide a positive and consistent experience for customers across all of your businesses, but also for you to be able to track the data associated with those experiences and act accordingly.
In today’s connected world of tech-savvy consumers, retailers need to think mobile-first, and focus their strategies on creating seamless Customer Experiences. In fact, Forrester found that business executives see improving Customer Experience as the #1 priority in 2015. And for retailers, those experiences should be consistent across all stores, websites, and mobile apps.
At Appirio, we help our customers choose and implement solutions that allow them to create those exceptional customer experiences. Here are 7 solutions that we have found make a big impact for retailers:
- It all starts with 3 little letters: CRM
If you’re already familiar with Appirio, then you know we’re a Salesforce Global Strategic Consulting Partner. And we recommend the #1 CRM to our customers for a reason; the platform can be customized for your business and house all of your customer data and sales activity. And with Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform for Retail, you can seamlessly blend your customers’ journeys from the web, to your stores, to their mobile devices.
- Find out what your customers really think of you
It’s important to know whether or not what you’re doing for your customers is working. One way to do that is with the Net Promoter System, which uses Net Promoter Score (NPS) to survey and examine customer relationships. It’s a great way to gauge your customers’ satisfaction and find out whether or not they recommend your business and/or specific locations to others.
- Stop, collaborate, and listen
To create consistency, retailers (particularly ones with multiple store locations) need a way for employees to collaborate and share information. Google Drive is a great example of a way to share documents, collaborate, and access email all in one place. Social tools, like Salesforce Chatter, are also great for encouraging employee engagement, and for sharing information company-wide. Both of these are available on mobile, which is convenient for store associates and others who don’t generally sit at a computer.
- Build communities around your brand
There’s nothing more powerful than a community when it comes to problem resolution. You may have turned to a social community yourself when you’ve had a question about something. So it’s no surprise that the same concept works for businesses. Salesforce Community Cloud allows retailers to collaborate with anyone in the organization, as well as suppliers, vendors, and partners. You can also create a self-service experience for customers, in which they can find and share information related to your brand. This is not only helpful for your customers, but reduces the number of calls and emails to your customer service agents. Community Cloud even makes managing job applicant information easier and can help streamline the hiring process.
- Give the people what they want: apps
According to Forrester, to stay competitive in today’s market, retailers should invest heavily in mobile solutions — which can reduce operating costs (like paying staff to do what an app can do) and leverage customers’ access to mobile solutions. In-store hardware like kiosks are expensive and can be frustrating to customers. Mobile apps also give the customer more control over when and how they shop, and can create more loyalty to your brand. Don’t have the talent or the time to build a custom app that your customers will love? Appirio’s crowdsourcing community helps companies of any size create enterprise-grade iOS apps with AppXpress.
- Service with a smile
By providing customers with helpful tools like interactive mobile apps and self-service portals, you can reduce their need to call live customer service agents when they have issues. But when they do need to “speak with a representative,” they should still receive the same consistent experience they have (hopefully) come to expect from your brand. With Salesforce Service Cloud, you can arm your customer service agents with ticket tracking across locations and enable them to chat live with customers. Service Cloud also allows you to manage all customer service inquiries, contacts, reports, and dashboards in one shared location, so that when your customers call, you can address their needs quickly and appropriately.
- Tidy up your data and make it work
As your customers’ digital footprint grows, so will the amount of data you accumulate. To stay competitive in the digital age, you need the capability to make that data work for you. Salesforce has taken some of the pain out of understanding your customer data with the Wave Analytics solution. With 100 percent vertical integration, you no longer have to go on a treasure hunt to find and analyze the data you need. And Wave’s interactive Dynamic Visualization Engine displays data in a way that is visually appealing, easy to comprehend, and feels more like a game than a graph.
For more on retail strategies and solutions from Appirio and our partners check out our ebook Creating Exceptional Retail Experiences — Solutions for Retail and Franchise Management Success.