Retailers today have a singular goal: omnichannel digital transformation.
Not too long ago, retailers considered digital transformation to be the shift from bricks and mortar to online. In this era of unified communications, digital transformation is more about the alignment of customer experience goals to an omnichannel effort.
Strengthening Customer Connections with Omnichannel Communications
Omnichannel broadens the discussion beyond whether you are meeting your customers in store or on an ecommerce site. Unified communications – one of the best platforms ever applied to retail – enables businesses to connect with customers via chat, text, video conference, email, co-browsing, and more. These two-way, real-time, interactive dialogues can occur anywhere, anytime on any device. And retailers have to be able to navigate easily among them.
Luckily for retailers, especially those with fewer resources, the barriers to entry for omnichannel unified communications have been lowered. Contact centers, with the gamut of collaboration features from basic messaging all the way to screen sharing, are cost-efficient for businesses of all sizes. The smallest of retailers can make the biggest impact with the right combination of customer interaction channels.
Unified Communications Allows Retailers to get Proactive in Customer Service
With this level playing field – supported by cloud-based platforms and strong underlying networks – retailers can make the most of their resources. UC helps businesses ensure that high-value employees conduct high-value transactions, rather than being consumed with low-level or time-wasting tasks.
For instance, a sophisticated contact center application enables a retailer to instantly be alerted when a customer complains about the brand, an experience, or product/service on social media. A call center agent can immediately connect with the customer via the customer’s preferred communication channel armed with pertinent information such as the social media post, customer purchase history, and product information. If it’s a technology concern, the retailer can proactively connect the customer with a technician who also has direct access to this information and can assist without the customer having to bring the tech up to speed. Customers can escalate requests without having to repeat themselves over and over to each person they encounter.
Sales, marketing, engineering, customer service and other high-value employees who interact with customers can use rich media solutions to have a more impactful interaction. Features such as on-screen annotation, conferencing, and collaboration allow retailers to draw in resources – human and automated – as needed to enhance and reinforce the customer relationship.
Take, for example, a high-end jewelry store that wants to tap into the opportunity that exists for men buying last-minute anniversary presents.
Using a contact center application, the retailer can automatically send a text to a customer in the database near his anniversary. Embedded in the text is the capability to browse targeted product suggestions gleaned from past purchase history or other information in the customer’s profile. The customer also would have the option to chat with a sales associate or search for the closest location. That store’s staff could receive an alert that the customer was coming in and what products he already browsed online. The seamless integration of multiple channels promotes increased revenue by improving the customer experience – not only by selling products at lower prices.
West's Approach to the Unique Requirements of Retail Unified Communications
Many contact centers are deployed as a checklist of options. At West, we know retail requires a far more strategic approach. Rather than painting all retailers with a broad brush, we sit down with your team, including executive leadership, line of business, and IT, to really understand the resources you have available, where you’d most like to see sales flow through, and how you typically approach customer interactions.
We spend a lot of time diagnosing your customer experience challenges before we help you embark on your digital transformation. And we bring to the table years of experience in this industry helping businesses large and small use every relevant tool to attract and keep customers.
Something as simple as using a local number to reach out to customers can make all the difference.
Customers are more likely to pick up the phone for a nearby peer number than a 1-800 call.
We study closely whether your customer flow points naturally toward your stores, online, or a call center and we work with you to make sure the channels you connect with your customers over follow that flow.
Lastly, we consider the services, applications, network architecture and personnel you already have in place. Unified communications does not have to be a rip and replace proposition. You can transition at your pace, adding features and channels as you become more comfortable with the technology or recognize a business need.
In almost every area of the retail sector, customers already are changing the way they want to interact with businesses. Now is the time to get your digital transformation underway to ensure you are there to greet them at whatever “door” they choose.
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