How to Prepare for the New Age of Customer Experience in UK Retail

If you’ve worked in customer experience for long, you probably know that change is the only constant in retail. And that’s what keeps our job exciting, right? 

As customer preferences continually evolve, it’s our responsibility to continue raising the bar and meet their heightened expectations. But surprisingly, most UK retailers aren’t doing that. In fact, Adyen recently released research that showed retailers were leaving £102 billion of lost sales on the table due to providing poor customer experiences. In addition to increasingly high expectations, customers are also starting to move more of their business to online retailers: e-commerce is expected to make up 25% of all retail sales by 2021, compared to just 18% of retail in 2016. 

With customer expectations higher than ever, and the pressure of online markets forcing traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers to make a change, it’s time to start preparing for a new age.

Our Top 3 Tips for Optimising Customer Experience

When it comes to winning the CX game in the new age of UK retail, being proactive is critical. Over half of UK consumers say they are disappointed with the current experience they receive through digital channels. The main drivers of this dissatisfaction? Inconsistent, impersonal answers. Providing the same level of service online as your customers have received in-store requires a new way of planning. 

As part of our series on UK Retail, we’ve released a new whitepaper with 9 actionable tips on optimising your customer experience strategy. Download the full paper, or read on for a preview of three helpful tips your team can use to provide a best-in-class digital customer experience. 

Focus on Omnichannel

From online shopping to in-store browsing and back again: customers are looking for brands that provide a consistent experience wherever they shop. 68% of UK shoppers expect the same high-quality retail experience whether shopping in-store or online, however, nearly 61% find their shopping experience inconsistent between channels. 

Creating a customer journey map for shoppers both in-store and online can help identify these moments of inconsistency. Identify touchpoints where customers may transition between your online store and their local shops such as reduced inventory, returns and exchanges. Determine where you can smooth the transition between channels by connecting information sources. 

Secondly, invest in technology that can help your team manage the omnichannel customer journey. As customers move across different channels (from mobile, to in-store, to social media, to phone) they want to get the same consistent service. And, they don’t want to repeat themselves. An omnichannel customer experience platform will provide a single view of the customer to your team, ensure accountability across every interaction and deliver a seamless experience to your customers.

Automation and Chatbots

Only 22% of UK retailers have deployed AI-powered chatbots on their online store. However, with the latest advances in technology, there is very little reason for retailers to not to invest in automation and AI. It’s what customers are asking for: 51% of UK consumers prefer their queries to be answered by chatbots while shopping online or in an app.

When deployed as part of a customer-centric strategy, chatbots can reduce the need for customers to talk to humans for simple answers. For example, using chatbots to answer “Where is my order?” questions can save customers and agents valuable time. That’s important to customers today. In fact, customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing businesses can do to provide a good experience. It’s not just better for business, customers like using chatbots to get quick help too. 

A chatbot like Freshdesk’s Freddy can engage customers across multiple channels, learns from your historical conversation data and offers an easy way for customers to talk to a human if they actually need to. Freddy requires no coding to get started, and can start improving your customer experience right away. 

Personalisation and Customised Service

MISA

Customers want to feel as welcomed browsing your online store as they do when they walk into your storefront. With the amount of personal data stores collect from customers on each transaction, it’s possible to build a unique experience for each customer, tailored to their preferences and history. Here are three ways to begin offering a more tailored experience to your shoppers: 

Interaction history for better service: To provide the personalised service your customers are asking for, agents need access to the customer’s history with your brand. From pulling in order history to social media feeds, the more information your service team has available, the easier it is for them to build a real connection with the customer – along with resolving their issue quickly. 

Stored payment details and preferences: 48% of consumers agreed that saving payment details for faster checkouts would improve their experience. Personalisation isn’t just about customising each customer’s experience to them – sometimes it’s about making it easier for them to complete their transactions. Storing search preferences, knowing their local store, and offering their preferred payment methods are all logistical improvements that make a customer feel comfortable shopping with you. 

Personalised marketing: Personalisation might start with storing your customer’s first name and using it in emails. But there are so many more ways to capture your customer’s attention to show that you really know who they are. From offering discounts on items they frequently purchase (both in-store and online) to notifying them when an item they were looking at comes back in stock, take the data you already have and use it to speak directly to a customer’s needs and wants. Only by doing so can you build a long lasting relationship with customers across multiple channels. 

Conclusion

As customers continue to spend more of their money with online retailers, their expectations of digital channel experiences continue to grow. Your competitors are likely already taking steps to blend their offline and online customer journeys together. If you’re not thinking about the customer journey in terms of both digital and in-store experiences, your customers will notice how disjointed their journey is. 

To continue building customer loyalty and drive revenue, retailers will need to implement a single, comprehensive solution that unifies and delivers relevant, connected, and measurable customer experiences across all channels. This is where Freshworks 360 shines. Built for companies that need a single view of their customer in order to provide a well-executed omnichannel experience, Freshworks 360 is the customer-for-life platform. 

For more tips to optimise your customer experience in the new age of UK retail, check out our latest whitepaper: 9 Tips for Optimising Your Customer Experience in the New Age of UK Retail