It's pretty easy to know when you're on the receiving end of poor customer experience, but much harder to detect if there are things going wrong in your own business. And many Australian businesses have some catching up to do on this front.
Omnichannel retail – an integrated approach to commerce that provides customers with a unified experience and seamless customer service across all channels – is still in its infancy in Australia when compared to global merchants. This is partly due to Australian consumers slower pick up of online shopping – just 9% of all Australian shopping was completed online in 2017. But in 2018, CBRE reported that this number will jump to 12% by 2022. This number will be considerably higher today thanks to the online shopping revolution brought on by the lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These fast-changing shopper habits present Australian retailers with an opportunity to adopt practices that provide the level of customer service already being offered by leading global retailers.
So, the question remains, where are we going wrong when it comes to serving our customers and how can we improve? This article highlights the most five common examples of a poor customer experience and the role modern technology can play in detecting issues and plugging your biggest service gaps.
1. Do you dismiss negative customer feedback?
More than ever customers are empowered to share their feedback with your business online - both good and bad. And what they say online has the potential to influence the buying decisions of other customers. By ignoring negative feedback you signal to your customers that their opinions don’t matter to you, and that their feedback will not be taken into account when improving your customer service offering.
On the other hand, if you have the systems in place to promptly respond to customer feedback, you can begin to reduce customer friction points, fix issues quickly and show shoppers that you are a company that puts customers first. What’s more, effective automation can also enable you to facilitate more positive online reviews by proactively asking for reviews shortly after a purchase has been made.
2. Do you leave customers on hold for too long?
No one enjoys being left on hold. In fact, one study found that after being kept waiting for less than a minute, most customers disconnect. Instead, what they really expect is almost-instant responses. And anyway, with so many online channels available, it almost feels outdated to offer customers only a phone number to make enquiries.
Whether you incorporate social media messaging, a customer service email or a complete customer service ticketing solution, offering multiple communication channels gives customers the choice to interact with your business in the way that’s most convenient for them.
Find out more by reading our case study of Australian retail success story and global lifestyle brand T2 got on top of their customer service challenges with an integrated online ticket solution.
3. Is your chat support more frustrating than fulfilling?
A poor online chat experience is right up there with waiting on hold for too long. Because so many online chats are bots, the experience for customers can feel less fluid. Words can easily be taken out of context, even if you have humans staffing your online chat support.
If you’ve already implemented online chat support, you will want to assemble a strong support team and ensure they have the soft skills required for this medium. After all, just like a phone service they are the online face of your business. Not only should they be proficient writers, they should provide clear and understandable answers and if they need to take steps that require them to be away from the chat for a while, they must ensure they keep the customer well-informed along the way.
4. Is online and in store pricing and product inventory inconsistent?
More and more, consumers are undertaking research online before making an in-person purchase. Mismatched pricing between online and offline, whether it is simply due to prices not being accurately synced or sales isolated to one or two channels, can create buyer frustration. The same goes for inventory levels. Click and collect initiatives, for example, require real-time alignment between advertised inventory and the products available in-store and online.
Having an integrated commerce system that automatically ensures price consistency and product availability across all channels (or incorporating smart POS integrations) can rectify this and is just one of the many benefits of creating a cohesive omnichannel experience.
5. Is your online user experience turning customers away?
Brick and mortar retail stores ensure their shop displays are appealing and well-ordered so customers have an enjoyable browsing experience and easily buy their products. A digital store should provide that same level of service. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some of the top customer complaints are ads blocking content, slow page load times and slow load times for images and content.
The impact of these annoyances on your bottom line can be significant. One survey found that 95% of US and UK consumers will abandon a site if they encounter a frustrating experience.
A seamless online customer experience should cover the whole customer journey. For example, offering consumers different payment options such as credit card, PayPal and Afterpay reduces potential friction points and will keep customers returning again and again.
Where to now?
Achieving omnichannel success – and ensuring a seamless customer experience - just isn’t possible with legacy tech systems and manual processes. Getting it right requires an integrated cloud business system that provides real-time and high-quality data and the ability to connect all channels of your business. NetSuite’s business systems provide a modern solution, SuiteCommerce InStore, SuiteCommerce Advanced and SuiteCommerce Advanced Rapid Start, by allowing retailers to rapidly and seamlessly integrate buying and selling with core operational business systems.
Annexa is a leading NetSuite partner providing Australian B2B and B2C retailers with customised omni-channel business solutions that support and grow their companies, from point-of-sale and ecommerce solutions to marketing automation systems.