Omnichannel has been the industry’s shiny object for a while, with many retailers and brands boasting a seamless experience wherever consumers shop, be it online or in store. However there is still a lack of consistent standards when it comes to delivering customer service across channels, with many shoppers having very different experiences.
The problem is frequently rooted in the organizational structure of retailers, where all too often store and ecommerce operations are managed independently. The result is a lack of consistency in the omnichannel customer service experience, leading to potentially low customer satisfaction, diminished brand equity and lost sales.
This holiday season, retailers that can deliver a consistent service experience across every channel will not only strengthen customer loyalty but also ensure their business is realizing every opportunity to increase sales.
Here are 5 tips retailers should consider when getting their sales associates and call center representatives on the same page during the holiday season:
- Brand Experience. The way the product is presented needs to be the same regardless of where the item is purchased. For example, a Louis Vuitton handbag should have the same beautiful packing and presentation whether it was purchased through the website and sent from a warehouse, bought online and picked up in the store, or bought in store.
- Product knowledge. Brands and retailers often have different products available online versus in store. Every customer service channel should be familiar with all products regardless of where they are available. This ensures a positive experience for consumers should they cross from one channel to another, or try to return an online purchase in store.
- Promotional knowledge. Similar to product sales, online promotions can be different from those offered to store customers, particularly during the holidays. Be sure to educate each customer service and sales representative on the promotions offered on every item, where it’s being offered and the length of the promotion to minimize confusion at point of sale.
- Understanding of policies. Customers should receive the same answers at every point of contact. Heading into the holidays, customer service policies should be revisited and examined for consistency and communicated across every sales channel. This is particularly important when retailers offer omnichannel solutions such as buy online, return in store (BORIS) or buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS).
- Tone and delivery. Are your store associates addressing people in the same manner as they are through your contact centers? For example, are they saying “sir” or “madam” or is the tone more informal? It may seem unimportant, but this tone reflects the brand experience from the onset.
As we get into the holiday season, it’s time for retailers to consider turning over that last stone to ensure a consistent customer service approach to their business across every touchpoint. By implementing a few of these best practices, they will make a significant step toward realizing the full benefits of a service-driven sales approach.
Kevon Hills is Senior Vice President, Operations and Insights at StellaService