Can Retail’s Success Shed Light on The Best CX Strategies?


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The latest customer satisfaction report released in the UK by the Institute of Customer Service, revealed that every industry evaluated has fallen in customer satisfaction since January 2023, reflecting the wider global customer experience (CX) picture. The data is alarming, especially to customer experience (CX) leaders, but has highlighted a consistent CX winner, with retail retaining the customer satisfaction title for another year in a row. Should other industries take note of the consistently positive feedback received by the retail sector? Can strategies that have proven effective in one industry be applied to others?

Is it time for other industries to learn from the consistently high customer sentiment scores obtained by the retail sector? Can what works well in one sector translate into another?

Giants of the retail and e-commerce sector, such as Amazon, have streamlined and perfected their approach to CX. As the famous aphorism states ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’, and in this case, has raised the standard for CX across the rest of the sector. The highly competitive nature of retail means those that don’t keep up with increasingly high expectations will sink, rather than swim, as brands that provide second-rate CX will lose out to competitors.

In this case, a ruthless environment has created the epitome of a successful industry, with successful retailers forced to consistently improve their standards to survive the rising customer expectations. CX leaders in other industries should learn from the success and failures of ruthless, fast-moving sectors that have forced innovation; but what are these lessons and how can they make every interaction as seamless as possible?

Omnichannel CX, Through the Customer’s Channel of Choice

One of the key pillars of retail’s success is to service customers equally well through traditional, digital and social channels. Customers expect to be able to interact with brands both with ease and on their own terms. Research found that more than 80% of consumers are now using social media to engage with brands. Customers want to meet you where they are, and that often means on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and X (formally known as Twitter).

To meet demand for omni-channel experiences, brands across all industries should look at expanding their communications ecosystems to incorporate a wide range of digital and social channels, allowing for a brand-consistent cross-channel experience. Additionally, if a customer starts an interaction on one platform but wants to continue it through another, brands need to enable cross-channel support, rather than send the customer back to square one.

Self-Explanatory Self-Service

Within retail, in addition to purchasing goods, customers are often able to perform simple administrative tasks, such as processing and shipping returns or updating account details, themselves. Regardless of industry, if customers can easily make simple changes to accounts, or check the status of ongoing changes, you can save hours of agent time.

Another crucial aspect of self-service is the potential of AI-powered chatbots. Although bots won’t be able to answer all enquiries, generative AI, trained on your organisation’s data, could provide updates on a delivery through a tracking number, or answer simple frequently asked questions, such as store opening hours during holiday periods or returns procedures. Allowing both consumers and citizens accessing public services the opportunity to self-serve is key to improving experiences and reducing the pressure on agents.

Know Your Customer: Hyper-Personalization

The retail sector excels at personalisation, treating customers as individuals to create unique, positive experiences. By understanding a customer’s past and present needs, you can make accurate, helpful recommendations that translate to purchases. Personalisation doesn’t stop with the sale, however, it should extend to support too.

Unlocking the power of customer data necessitates a unified data fabric, bringing data from multiple third-party systems of record into a single, usable format. No matter the sector, your business can benefit from a Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP can provide agents with all the data they need to effectively support customers, including interaction and purchase histories, personal details, and past sentiment scores.

Retail-Level Experiences, No Matter What Sector

The successes of retail and e-commerce brands have been dubbed the ‘Amazon effect’. In essence, offering a highly efficient, seamless, and personalised experience has propelled the industry to new heights. And other industries should take notice. Consumers now expect a similar level of service from other businesses, and even public services. Omni-channel, self-service experiences are the new normal.

The meet expectations, CX leaders across both public and private sectors must focus on shifting towards the cloud. Cloud-based contact centre environments are accessible from anywhere, secure, and constantly updated with the latest technology such as generative AI, which is set to have a seismic impact on all sectors. The widespread availability of generative AI will only push customer expectations higher and it’s important, if brands are to meet expectations, to take steps to utilise best-in-class solutions in 2024 and beyond to take CX to the next level.

Martin Taylor
Martin is the Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Content Guru, a leading global cloud communications and customer experience technology provider. Martin’s responsibilities include product innovation, strategic market development and the business’s fast-growing healthcare and public sector practice. A pioneer in cloud communications and real-time billing, Martin has been active in growing his business group around the world, since setting up its first company in the UK at the age of 22.


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