Sure, the formula for a loyal customer base is complicated, but have you ever had an experience that just made life easier? If you have, you know that these simple, straightforward, and most importantly painless experiences are the most memorable. Services and products are great, and all, but experience is what pays loyalty dividends. In the retail customer service world, experience is the strategy.
So you may be thinking, what makes a customer shopping or retail experience truly “great” then?
Is it more personalized offerings? 24/7 service? The latest trending tech?
Technology alone won’t solve your customer experience problems—— especially technology that doesn’t make an experience feel more human. A showpiece web design is also a nice touch, but there is more to consider if you want to stand out amongst your competitors. If you want to create a memorable experience, you will need to focus on the core elements of the customer experience that are the most meaningful.
What matters to customers when it comes to their shopping experience?
Convenience. Reliability. Speed. Helpfulness. And most importantly, a human touch.
A better customer experience starts with real connections. Focus on implementing technology that feels more human while simultaneously giving employees the resources they need to meet customer expectations.
Provide value with the least amount of customer effort. People are increasingly loyal to the retailers, products, brands, and devices that consistently and seamlessly provide exceptional value without any hassle. Companies need to keep in mind that price and product are no longer the top way to get a loyal customer base.
To make the formula for loyal customers easier to digest, follow this short list of actionable insights to stand out amongst your competitors.
Customized loyalty programs and promotions
Get customers to feel comfortable in spreading their brand loyalty and give them a reason to re-engage. Pivot away from transactional experiences and consider human-centric experiences that improve customers’ lifetime value. Loyalty programs come in many forms, and it’s not just about discounts or partner incentives. It can include a point-based reward system.
When building a customer loyalty program, incorporate the following characteristics:
- Simple to understand
- Easy to join
- Earn points quickly
- Provides relevant rewards
- Encourages engagement
- Surprises members
You can track and measure the impacts of loyalty programs and make the data readily accessible to all teams. Determine customer’s lifetime value, customer redemption rate, and rate of customer return. Insights can lead to higher retention rates that will ensure a higher loyalty program enrollment rate.
Building trust = More data
Building trust is a must. When your customer base trusts your brand, consumers are willing to try new experiences and share more of their personal preferences; retailers now have an opportunity to engage with customers on a deeper level.
According to PwC, 43% of U.S. consumers are unwilling to share their data in exchange for more personalized, customized experiences. However, 88% of U.S. consumers say that how much they trust a company determines how much they’re willing to share personal information.
Invest in the right analytics
Align analytics with priorities. Opt for technologies that foster convenience, reliability, speed, and helpfulness over adopting technology for the sake of being cutting edge. When done right, it is an opportunity for retailers to improve customer interactions and spending. Intelligent technologies can meet customer demands and allow you to collect and analyze customer data in real-time.
Smooth, consistent transitions from machine to human are crucial. Any technology supporting human interactions must be seamless and unobtrusive across platforms. For this reason, omnichannel solutions are superior. Integrated channels and data allow the customer to channel hop while agents benefit from the unified data.
Part of this seamless experience means your automated solutions should learn from human interactions.
Customer feedback loops
Turn customer feedback into revenue. A customer feedback loop is another easy way to increase customer loyalty. It is a repetitive process of gathering feedback and using that data to improve the customer experience. Responding to customers in a meaningful way whenever they leave good or bad feedback is an opportunity to engage with your customers and make them feel heard. Many customer relationships have been saved or strengthened by simply acknowledging a customer’s complaint, and working to fix the issue demonstrates reliability.
There are so many ways to collect customer feedback, and if you want to thrive in today’s market, it is vital. A multi-channel approach lets customers connect with a company through different mediums other than just the phone. You have a chance to create a long-term relationship with the customers and gain their trust and loyalty.
Here are some of the channels that can allow consumers to give feedback for businesses.
- Social Media
- Text Messaging
- Polls and Surveys
AI can have human touch with a quick turnaround
Put employees at the center of the equation. Avoid the pitfalls of fixating on customer-centric metrics or feedback loops, and remember that the customer experience starts with the agent experience. After all, agents are closest to the customers and are therefore the most valuable.
Despite the retail industry’s digital transformation, most Americans would rather interact with a human than a chatbot or some other automated process. Investing in new technology tools is tempting and sometimes necessary, but the human touch is irreplaceable.
Some human skills cannot be automated or replicated with a simple software update, some of these skills include communication, leadership, empathy, moral instinct, and many more. These attributes are the cornerstone of delivering excellent customer service, especially as businesses ramp up their machine-human hybrid workforce.