Enhancing the Customer Experience Through Strategic Upskilling

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Just as retail technology is rapidly evolving, so are the industry’s customer expectations. The fact is that personalization is being prioritized like never before, with recent research showing that 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And when personalization doesn’t happen, over three-fourths of these customers get frustrated, ultimately leading to increased customer churn. Ensuring customer expectations and needs are being met is key to creating a positive brand experience and thereby, a loyal customer.

While there are plenty of ways to develop a positive brand experience and a loyal customer, one of the most important is often one of the most overlooked: reskilling and upskilling of employees. By adequately equipping employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide a positive, and personalized customer experience across channels, businesses are bound to create a happy customer and as a result, increased revenue.

According to Forrester’s 2023 Customer Experience Predictions, 80% of CX teams lack essential skills so brands must first identify what skills their CX teams need to learn and the best ways to teach them. Businesses should strive to focus on upskilling and reskilling employees to elevate their skill sets and improve efficiency and strategic delivery of customer experience. To do that, businesses must upskill and reskill four unique abilities that impact the customer experience.

Employee Education & the Consumer Experience

When a business prioritizes reskilling and upskilling, it can instill key abilities within its customer experience team that are paramount to personalization – including empathy, communication, problem solving and technology integration. Through these, personalization during the customer journey will become second nature.

    Empathy: By developing and exercising empathy, employees can better understand customer preferences which leads to a more positive experience between the customer and the brand. For example, if a customer service agent can more easily discern a customer’s issue with a return without asking repetitive questions, a customer will walk away with a much better impression of the brand and overall, less frustration. The use of “soft skills” like empathy increases engagement, loyalty and advocacy by demonstrating that your business knows and understands what the customer wants. When a loyal customer is made, they are also more likely to share that experience with others, leading to a larger consumer base. In fact, studies have shown that 72% of consumers will share a positive experience with six or more people.

    Communication: By upskilling teams on positive and seamless communications, customer experience teams can anticipate buyers’ needs or issues when they contact customer service, making it a painless and more efficient experience for both parties. And generating a positive experience when customers have an issue is crucial with 42% of consumers reporting that they would stop buying from a brand altogether after just two bad service experiences. Overall, proactive communication engages customers by building strong, positive, trustworthy relationships that cultivate customer retention and customer acquisition from existing customers. Upskilling your customer experience teams allows for less delays, meaning a faster, more positive customer experience as a whole.

    Problem Solving: On top of proactive communication, customer experience teams should be reskilled with the ability to solve customer problems in a timely and efficient manner. When dealing with an issue, 84% of consumers report feeling frustrated when the agent does not have information so being prepared with resources at their fingertips is key. Customer experience teams that are upskilled with expert problem solving tactics demonstrate the ability to identify and implement a solution to customer issues in a satisfactory manner, leading to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and sales.

    Technology Integration: With technology evolving at a rapid rate, it is imperative that customer experience professionals are reskilled and upskilled on how to integrate and work alongside technology like automation or AI. When they possess the knowledge to optimize these tools, it can free these professionals up from dedicating response times to simple problems and allows more time for complex customer issues. More importantly, this also speeds up response times which is vital as 75% of consumers rank fast response times as the most important attribute about a customer experience team.

By bridging the skills gap in customer experience teams through the use of learning and development, companies can create a stronger connection between them and the customer, while also delivering a higher level of customer satisfaction. Making an upskilling and reskilling routine that incorporates both soft and hard skills can also help customer experience teams in the long term by allowing them to stay abreast and prepared to meet future customer demands, continue to build a loyal customer base and overall, generate a positive ROI.

Jen Jackson
Jen Jackson is a seasoned Senior Executive in Customer Success with over 20 years of experience in building and optimizing post-sales teams for private equity and venture capital SaaS organizations. She has a proven track record of decreasing costs, increasing efficiency, and retaining customers through strategic planning and cross-functional collaboration with a focus on the customer experience. Jen is an expert in developing processes and procedures that enable effective teamwork across functions to deliver outstanding customer outcomes.

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