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Want Your Customer Service To Be Sustainable? Be Dynamic

Guest blog by Jemma Martin

Customer service is subjective. It’s no longer about responding in the ‘right’ way. There is no such thing.

It’s about having the ability to be agile enough to facilitate the right answer in the right moment. Because every customer will want something different, depending on the product, the medium, the day, their mood… it’s all up for negotiation. And without this kind of flexibility, you’re losing out.

The right way is dynamic. The right way is the fastest, easiest way possible; no matter where your customer is.

multichannel communication

Here’s an example. Last week on social media I saw an advertisement for fashion prescription glasses. I have been wanting to freshen up my physical appearance and I was due for some new glasses on my health plan, so I clicked on the link. I recognised some trendy brands and the website suggested I try them on in store. I left the page and forgot all about it.

The next day I was meeting a friend in town. She was running late so I walked through the mall and saw a sign with glasses of the brand I saw online. I walked into the optometrist, tried on a bunch of options and was given great customer service by the staff. I was still in store when my friend met me, and she ended up trying on some glasses too.

The staff then contacted my healthcare provider and gave me a follow-up call the next day. I wrote to the company via their social media page, and they responded to me within a few hours. The next day I went back in store to finalise my purchase of two new pairs of prescription glasses. After the weekend, I received an SMS advising me that my new frames were ready for collection and to follow the URL link in the message to book in a time to have them fitted. The web link directed me to my local store’s online booking system. I had a question about this appointment, so I called the store and they booked in my timeslot for the next day.

It was all very smooth, easy and convenient. And I told A LOT of family and friends about this shopping experience. I now think that I’ll buy some prescription sunglasses from the same company because it was so easy to deal with them.

So, who is responsible for my loyalty? The initial marketer? The in-store salesperson? The follow-up caller? The social media assistant? Or the individual who decided that the process should be seamless?

Or was it all artificial intelligence? Some data and algorithms that resulted in a positive customer service experience?

Honestly, I don’t care. I can tell you that before this experience, I’ve spent many hours shopping for new glasses and had gotten part way through the buying process and not completed the purchase due to frustration.

Why is that? What made this company different? It’s simple; they anticipated that my needs are dynamic, and created customer centric solutions before I, the every-day consumer, realised I needed them.

Over the course of a week, I used multiple mediums to communicate with this retailer; including face to face, text messaging, their website (through the SMS link), social media and phone calls.

I communicated with them when I was in my kitchen, my home office, in their city store, in a store at another location, through my mobile device and through my laptop. Sometimes I was alone, sometimes I was with my husband or a friend. It just worked.

This retailer recognised that I was living my life and that it looks different every day. They made everything easy. Their customer service process was dynamic, just like me.

customer-satisfaction-service

This is now a non-negotiable for companies. Do you want to be sustainable? Yes. Well, how much? At the cost of upskilling your staff? At the cost of creating new processes and implementing in new systems? Can you anticipate your customers’ needs before they do?

The right way to provide customer service, is to do so dynamically. Because your customers themselves are now agents of change.

Expecting customers to follow old breadcrumbs all the way to the checkout isn’t smart business. It’s those very breadcrumbs that will keep you from attracting the customers you need to keep that checkout open.

Are you agile enough, to facilitate the right answers for your customers today?

 

jemma-martin-customer-service-customer-experience-expertJemma is Sales Team Manager at the RAA Group and is studying her MBA at Torrens University. She loves to inspire people to think differently, create innovative solutions and take action. With a strong history in frontline sales, in both face to face and contact centre environments, Jemma believes that questioning the status quo is integral to sustainable success.

 

One Company – Multi Customer Channels

When someone mentions a retail store, you’ll most probably imagine a building, amidst a crowd of parked cars. A clear picture of aisles and aisles of different products will cross your mind. And then you would also imagine some of the other shoppers you’re likely to meet there. This might ring true for many people but even if you enjoy experiencing the oddity of everyday life, who has the time for such nonsense? After a busy day at work, the last thing you’d want to do is stand in a queue at the retail store, just to buy a 1L of milk. Retail stores identified the ‘need for speed’ and thus, the multi-channel strategies were formed.

Related: How to Turn Your Company into a Multi-Channel Success

Woolworths – The Fresh Food People

customer-channels-woolworths

Woolworths is one such retail store in Australia, who has adopted multi-channel strategies to serve their customers better. They opened their first store in Sydney, in 1924 and soon afterwards, gained the popularity that have made them one of the leading retail stores in Australia. By revenue, they come on the 2nd place, after Wesfarmers.With over 3000 stores across Australia and New Zealand, the team at Woolworths soon realised that the traditional brick-and-mortar store strategy wouldn’t be able to satisfy their customer needs and so in 2011, they took the initiative to become the country’s leading multi-channel retailer. They decided to achieve their goal through a holistic and integrated strategy so as to capitalise on the country’s growing demand for online shopping. Fast forward to 2017 and the business is blooming for the retailer. For their third quarter in 2017, Woolworths revealed that their online sales have increased by 20%. According to a study analysed by Australian Consumer, Retail, and Services (ACRS) Research Unit, just four advertising channels (websites, personalised direct mail, TV ads and catalogues and flyers) are responsible for influencing 92% of a consumer’s purchase decision.

Online Delivery

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The ease of online shopping at Woolworths is certainly unmatched by many other retailers operating in the same industry. With reward offers and personalized shopping experience, customers can easily get their shopping delivered to their home or pick it up from the store, all ready for them.
The ‘Track My Order’ option helps customers know when to expect the delivery and even schedule the time of their delivery.

Shopping App

woolworths-app

Want to save even more time? The Woolworths app is available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. From personalised shopping lists to a store locator, the app offers the ultimate ease for its customers.

Dark Stores

When Woolworths opened its first ‘dark store’ in 2014, it was to reduce the time it took to fulfill online orders faster. The ‘dark store’ looked exactly like the other Woolworths stores, except that it was bigger in size. The aisles were maintained, the products were stocked neatly but it was closed to the general public.
You might wonder why a store wouldn’t allow customers in. That’s because the store isn’t for customers!

In this fast paced world, not many people have the time to waste on grocery shopping. A better alternative is online shopping but there were some issues to ordering online too. Most of the times, deliveries would take too long and Woolworths realised the need for faster deliveries. Hence, the ‘dark store’ was set up. It was Woolworths first dedicated online store and personal shoppers were amazed with the results.

With conventional stores, an ever present flow of customers makes it difficult for the staff to pick up online orders. The only time online orders can be picked is either early morning or at night, when the customer flow is at its lowest. Now, the dark store has solved this problem.

With no slow-moving customers blocking the aisles, the team at Woolworths dark store was able to fulfill orders quickly and at any time of the day. At peak hours, there can be as many as 80 pickers on the floor, at the same time.

Conclusion

Supermarkets are just one niche that Woolworths deal in. With a number of liquor stores, liquor supermarkets, petrol stations and discount department store chains, Woolworths Limited deals in numerous channels.

In order to enhance their digital business capabilities, Woolworths invested in contact center technology-as-a-service and in doing so, experienced a 40% reduction in touch points for email. Woolworths have expanded due to their award winning multi-channel initiatives and with their attention on innovation for increased customer experience, they are changing the face of Australian retail.