Despite scare mongering that the store is dead, ecommerce still only accounted for 8.4% of total retail sales for the third quarter of 2016. While this figure is continually increasing and it’s difficult to argue that digital has not just transformed how your customers shop but also how they perceive you as a brand, the store is still a huge weapon in a retailer’s arsenal.
The key – of course – is to deliver consistent and enriching omnichannel experiences, allowing your customers to engage with you at various different touchpoints and cross channels seamlessly. Customers are increasingly researching and comparing your products and services online before, during and after they visit one of your stores. They also like to save time and shipping costs by checking inventory levels or buying online before picking up in store (otherwise known as BOPUS or click-and-collect). Retailers are responding in force, with 91% saying they will invest significantly in omnichannel technologies over the next two years.
We launched our location feedback product to help retailers bridge the digital and in-store gap to provide superior CX across each of your channels. This works by providing a digital platform for your customers to talk to you about their store experience.
A key barrier to overcome – and a challenge highlighted by many retailers I talk to – is ensuring buy-in from your operational store staff. How do you assure them that asking for this information is not a way of checking up on them and will actually help them do their jobs better?
At the same time, the stakes are raised even further with the reality that failure to gain buy-in from your staff on the ground will greatly diminish your business’ ability to take action on the in-store VoC feedback you receive. And, as you probably know by now, data without action is – to all intents and purposes – wasted data.
Here are six ways to demonstrate value and ensure your store network shares the same goals as the rest of your business:
1 – Get them to see the bigger picture
It’s natural that your store managers will be primarily – or more likely exclusively – concerned with their own store(s). They are not as worried about your website or your mobile app and likely regard each of these channels as separate entities. So try to shift their mindset and get them to see the bigger picture.
The message should be that your customers are increasingly both shopping and researching across a number of different channels and they expect a consistent experience, regardless of which of the channels they choose to engage with you by. If you as a business do not facilitate this, you will lose out to the competition. So harnessing digital VoC technology to provide this omnichannel insight makes sense for your business and makes sense for your in-store staff.
2 – Get them to think like your customers
When they think about your brand, your customers don’t think solely about your in-store experience. They think about all your other touchpoints. Your store staff need to put themselves in your customers’ shoes and think the same way, and you need to convince them to do so.
You can use data to your advantage here. There is so much information available about the value of omnichannel CX. For example, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.
3 – Reassure them it’s not an assessment tool
Explain to your store staff that any customer feedback collected will not be used against them or leveraged to determine performance. The only aim is to find out what customers truly think about the experience they are receiving. Of course, actions speak louder than words – so it’s important that you take great care to follow through on these promises when you do start collecting store feedback.
4 – Stress how this information will help them
The whole point of gathering VoC feedback in any format is to empower action that drives improvements that have discernible business impact. Outline clearly to your store staff how encouraging customers to tell you what they really think will enable them to optimize in-store performance – and then the benefits for them personally, such as improved store revenue and personal compensation.
5 – Come armed with a case study
If available, proven examples illustrating past success always help to gain buy-in. Can you find someone internally who has acted on a piece of customer feedback received face-to-face in the past to implement an improvement that affected the bottom line? Do you already leverage a VoC solution across your digital channels and has it had a similarly positive impact? Help your store staff to understand that an opportunity to capture location-specific insight digitally makes the whole process of diagnosing CX issues far easier, more precise and – compared to face-to-face feedback – less awkward.
6 – Internal champions
As with any new process, the buy-in of a few select internal champions can be a really powerful method to spread the message far and wide. If you have individuals prepared to talk openly about the value of soliciting store feedback, the more likely they are to embrace and act on it, and the more likely the whole concept is likely to succeed.
Find out more about how to leverage VoC technology to improve omnichannel CX with the OpinionLab Strategy Guide.