What Is The Most Critical Step In The Retail Customer Journey?
How retail companies handle order issues directly impacts customer satisfaction, and stands out as the most critical step in the retail customer journey.
By Johnny Rosa
Every item shipped to customers’ doors is the culmination of a massive process of ideation, manufacturing, marketing, selling, and logistics. Every piece of the retail puzzle must fit together perfectly to get products to doorsteps quickly and effectively. If any one step in any of these categories breaks down, customers don’t blame the issue, they blame the company. How companies handle order issues directly impacts customer satisfaction, and stands out as one of the most critical steps in the retail customer journey.
Preparing and planning for the breakdowns in the retail cycle will put companies in a good position to retain customers and build loyalty. Business leaders in tune with the importance of customer satisfaction know that most complaints come from a few common causes. When companies listen to customers, they can focus on what really drives good experiences and foster conscious customer service. With customers satisfied, the financial benefits of loyalty and great CX will follow.
“How companies handle order issues directly impacts customer satisfaction and stands out as the most critical step in the retail customer journey.”
In a world where even one bad experience can send customers fleeing to competitors, loyalty is more important than ever. Modern consumers want experiences that are speedy, and that they can control themselves, on the go wherever they are. A great customer experience can be a key differentiator between two businesses. There is a direct connection between existing customers and higher revenue. According to Business.com, “returning customers spend 67% more on average than those who are new to your business.” Keeping customers loyal increases revenue, but can also lower costs. According to HelpScout and Harvard Business Review, “It is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.”
By creating valuable relationships with customers and quickly and effectively communicating answers and solutions to customer queries when the retail experience breaks down, companies can maintain loyal customers and increase profit. The same HelpScout resource reports increasing customer retention by even 5% can increase profits by 25%. A great customer experience can mean great profits for businesses.
Retailers face a particular difficulty when it comes to customer service compared to some other industries. Before a product arrives at a customer’s house, many exchanges need to come together perfectly. The order fulfillment process alone manages connections between warehouse management, shipping channels, logistics, global networks, returns processes, and more. When customers order one product, coordinating communication and effective process between all these departments and outside carriers can be difficult.
Check out this great graphic from the FitForCommerce “From Idea To Doorstep 2018” report to put all the different pieces of the order process in context:
Given the hundreds of pieces working together behind every interaction retailers have with customers, business leaders can assume some deliveries will fall apart somewhere along the line. Customers don’t see the pieces, however. When an order doesn’t make it to their door in a timely fashion, customers don’t blame the hundreds of moving parts making up the pipeline — they just blame the brand that failed to deliver. What happens next is the most important part of the entire process. When customer experiences falter, brands must prove they care by responding quickly and effectively. A great response doesn’t happen in the moment — it’s the result of listening to customers and preparing for their needs.
Anticipating and preparing for the delays and difficulties inherent in retail customer interactions is a necessary step for every retailer. With hundreds of possible pain points, it can be hard to know where to focus to create the most improvements to CX and customer loyalty. Only when businesses understand and listen to their customers do the important areas of improvement stand out.
The Pareto principle asserts that 80% of results are generally created by about 20% of the causes. In other words, problems aren’t distributed evenly. When retailers examine customer complaints and comments, they will likely find a few common issues causing the majority of contact center interactions. With that knowledge in hand and an organization committed to the benefits of customer success, retailers can begin creating five-star customer service in bite-sized pieces.
Connecting companies to customers is what Zappix does best. When Michaels implemented our Mobile On-Demand self-service solution, one of the most impactful results was a spike in direct customer communication. Every interaction through Zappix Visual IVR ends with a customer survey and the option to submit open response comments. Some of these comments highlighted the best parts of the digital experience, while others expressed the specific sources of customer frustration and difficulty.
The easy to use Zappix Studio interface allows managers and executives to easily read, track, and understand all of these comments. As Michaels received more comments, business leaders began to understand which pain points were the 20% that created the majority of customer problems. This powerful insight allows retailers using Zappix Mobile On-Demand platforms to prepare and plan for these specific issues. Zappix Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots can automate these solutions and create fast, enjoyable customer self-service solutions handling complaints whenever and wherever customers are while leaders work to prevent these issues from occurring in the future.
By actively listening to customers, retailers can set themselves up for customer success in the face of a complex and challenging delivery pipeline. Focusing on CX and the 20% of issues causing the majority of customer complaints builds customer loyalty and increases profits while automated Zappix Mobile On-Demand solutions make every customer service interaction more enjoyable.