GUEST OPINION Santa's using his mobile, he has vouchers too, and he tweets to say 2,000 people 'lik
Richard McCrossan, Strategic Business Director at Genesys
, explains how to give your customers a very merry multichannel Christmas – and keep them for 2013
The Christmas wish for all retailers must be to increase sales, but if they could also ensure that those customers also come back for more in 2013, then that would be the icing on the Christmas cake.
Christmas 2012 has put a lot of pressure on retailers to showcase their multichannel approach and give customers the best shopping experience possible. According to a forecast from the e-retailers' industry body IMRG and consultants Capgemini, internet sales are predicted to hit £4.6bn in the first two weeks of December, with £1bn of goods snapped up via mobile devices. The technology is there now to help retailers get their multichannel customer engagement right, and make the wish come true.Put customer service where the customer wants to be met
Take this typical situation: a potential customer wants to find out if a gift will plug into their daughter’s smartphone. If it’s easier to open a new tab and search for a similar gift from a different retailer than it is to get in touch with your customer service department, then that’s what they will do. If they can’t see whether they can combine a voucher with your special Holiday Offer, they’ll do the same.
This provides an ideal opportunity for integrated chat to resolve the issue and encourage the on-line sale.
It’s essential that customer service can be easily accessed from every channel. So, if a customer is looking at a retailer’s desktop website they should be able to easily bring up an online customer service chat box to ask for help. If that customer tweets a query, they should receive a tweet back. Equally, if the customer is browsing the retailer's site using mobile internet or an app, then they should be able to go from mobile to call centre in one click.Mix and match – no problem
Providing customer service via every channel is not enough on its own. The next step is to ensure the information gained from these channels is integrated. The customer effort level to resolve issues is greatly improved if information from every customer touchpoint is integrated.
Eighty one per cent of customers will question the competency of an organisation if they are asked to repeat information that the organisation already holds (Transactis). This is because increasing customer effort not only decreases customer satisfaction, but also decreases both potential to spend and customer loyalty. So customer effort will affect whether a consumer comes back again to do their 2013 shopping.Sleigh bells ringing at the door – wrong parcel
So the product is purchased, now let’s look at the delivery: a new survey by consumer group Which? found that more than sixty per cent of consumers have faced delivery problems when receiving an online purchase. If these customers purchased their product via mobile internet and then had to repeat all their information when they called customer service to enquire about their delivery, then they have suffered not one but two inconveniences. Another customer which is less likely to return in 2013.
Making it easy for the customer is all about carrying the context of the query from one channel to another and from one interaction to another, so that they can continue the conversation from the point at which they left off.
Customer service must evolve to be less of the "How can I help you?" approach each time a customer gets in touch, to becoming more "Let's continue the conversation," using the customer interaction history as a starting point.
And according to research in the Harvard Business Review, what matters most to consumers is being able to achieve their goals easily. The less effort the customer has to put forward to resolve their enquiry, the more likely they are to be a happy customer who increases spending and repurchases.Investing for 2013
The customer always has been king – and is always right. We now have the technology to enable customer service to give the customer what he wants, tell him what he wants to know when he wants to know it, and above all make the process easy. We believe that those retailers that have falready made progress to accommodate the new multi-channel consumer, will find that Christmas 2012 will not just provide an opportunity for increased sales, but provide an ideal opportunity to reduce customer churn and build customer loyalty for 2013.