Will technology receive a ‘WOW’ report for enhancing customer service?


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How many times have you made a purchase on the high street, only to receive your receipt and be asked kindly by the cashier to go online and fill in a survey about how satisfied you were by their service in order to win a prize?

Incentives and reward schemes are nothing new in retail, but the way in which they’re using new technologies to engage customers and reach new ones while holding onto existing loyal ones is.

A pharmaceutical retail giant in the UK uses a ‘WOW’ system to rank their employees performance levels. Each time a receipt rolls from the till with a random customer satisfaction survey and the customer goes online to respond with positive feedback, that particular member of staff who served them will receive a ‘WOW’. Tally up a few ‘WOWs’ and they’ll be awarded ‘WOW Of The Week’ – a motivational tool used to boost morale and encourage high performers.

Dynamic gains

This is just one piece of the customer service puzzle that technology is helping to slot together. Staff on the shop floor might not be using CRM, but they are direct effects of its influence and power.

Over the last few years, Microsoft Dynamics has been playing catch-up with the likes of Salesforce, but through more customer-service focused acquisitions, they are unveiling tools that put the customer at the heart of their offering. 2014 appears to be the year in which their CRM becomes truly customer-oriented.

A great gain of Microsoft Dynamics is that it enables organisations to respond to and resolve customer issues in a timely manner since they’ve the ability to monitor everything in real time and ensure nothing falls off the radar.

A survey conducted in 2013 by communications provider Kcom revealed that there is a growing demand from consumers for quicker and more flexible ways of communicating.

When asked what constitutes excellent service, more than half (52%) of respondents rated being called back by an organisation at a time that suited them. More than a quarter (26%) valued SMS updates and 20% wanted organisations to be contactable via instant messaging.
Director of Contact at Kcom, Suzette Bouzane Meadows commented:

‘Organisations that want to keep their customers loyal are increasingly having to balance the need for efficiency with the desire to give good quality customer service. As a result, we’re seeing more investments in new technologies that can help improve customer service and make their business more customer-focused generally’

The research also showed that consumers rate the emergency services, supermarkets and high street retailers as the best providers of customer service. And it seems those fields are already at the forefront of delivering what their customers desire.
Morrisons Chief Executive Dalton Phillips commented:

‘We’re a business that is working at pace to ensure that we are fit for the future. Retailers are indeed any business, needs to go where their customers are and that’s why we’re investing so heavily in the emerging channels of online and convenience, which are growing so quickly.’

Pair behind the scenes CRM with in-store enhancements for real-time results

Alongside a sophisticated CRM system that can manage everything ‘behind the scenes’, businesses also need to ensure they’re incorporating technology in-store to help customers become more self-sufficient and ensure their customer service is superior to rivals.

Here are four tips how to apply the latest technology advances to better your customer service:

1) Ring the changes with smarter telecommunications

According to Zendesk, research indicates that 79% of us still prefer to speak with a customer service representative on the phone. But when calling at peak times, you always find yourself on hold or forced to leave a voicemail. To help customers remain patient and stop them becoming irate with your brand, invest in technology that informs them where they are in the queue and ensure someone returns their call if they leave a message. In short – don’t leave them hanging

2) Invest in the digital lost and found

The majority of us will have a few loyalty cards but sometimes they can go wandering from our wallets and purses. Mobile apps are now available that act as loyalty cards and are the ideal replacement if a card is lost or damaged. Check out Loyalli and Belly

3) One swipe for contactless payments

When a customer is loaded down with bags, the last thing they need to do is enter their pin. Invest in the technology to allow customers to swipe their way to payments and set free stationary point-of-sale systems for ultimate convenience and flexibility

4) Independence day – every day

Most customers like to be self-sufficient. So whether you ensure there’s a free self-serve kiosk available at all times in store or ensure there are mobile apps to give shoppers the chance to browse and buy online, every little technology addition really does help.

Gareth Cartman
Gareth Cartman is Director of Digital Marketing at Clever Little Design, and blogs frequently on tech, marketing, customer service and Human Resources.