Modern Retail

4 Key Technologies for Customer Service in Retail

Customer service call

Julien Rio, Marketing Director at RingCentral Engage Digital, outlines four essential technologies retailers should adopt to communicate effectively with customers and boost conversions.

In the retail sector, customer experience has never been more crucial than it is today. Consumers want to connect with retailers using many different online channels. Getting a seamless experience when interacting with them is now considered a key component in customer service.

This is no surprise, given that in 2020, customer experience will be considered the most relevant differentiator between brands, above price and product. That’s why retailers need to adapt their strategies to this inevitable evolution and integrate channels that support customers during their online purchases and communications, that are available when and how the customer wants them. Here are the four key technologies for delivering outstanding customer service in the digital age.

WhatsApp Business Solution

WhatsApp Business Solution is one of the most relevant messaging channels for the retail sector.

By using WhatsApp, retailers allow their customers to contact them on a channel that they already use daily to communicate with friends, family and colleagues. Rather than being forced to use channels such as online forms or the phone, customers can simply send a message and be notified when they receive a response. WhatsApp offers features such as sharing media, voice messages and localisation to provide more context and facilitate problem solving. 

For the business itself, WhatsApp Business Solution offers many advantages such as instant responses to customers and freeing up time for teams, increasing agent productivity, improving customer satisfaction and sales, by offering support more adapted to customer usage, with faster resolution.

Moreover, since WhatsApp Business Solution was launched only a few months ago, adopting it allows retailers to position themselves as pioneers, more closely aligned with how customers expect to engage with them. 

In-App Messaging

A mobile application is one of the most important investments for a retailer. However, making applications an ongoing success is hard work and 96% of apps are no longer used after 12 months. To make such an investment profitable, the challenge is to provide users with value-added features to justify the use of the application in the long-term. 

In-App Messaging allows customers to have an experience similar to Messenger and WhatsApp, directly within the retailers application. This provides different advantages: identifying customers through their account and accessing their data, encouraging the application to be maintained over the long term and making the investment related to the application profitable, letting customers to use the system both iOS and Android.   

Live-chat

According to a study, 44% of customers believe that getting live answers to their questions when shopping online is one of the most important features a retailer can offer. In addition, 68% of them stop buying from a brand when they perceive that they are indifferent to them. 

One of the most effective ways for a retail site to provide that level of service is through live chat. This channel allows agents to chat in real-time with customers, while they are visiting the website, engaging in discussions about products and services or to help resolve a problem.

One of the features of live-chat that is particularly interesting for retailers is the use of triggers to create an opportunity to instigate that conversation. A live chat can be triggered according to specific criteria, such as the volume of products added to a basket, visits to certain pages or the time spent on a page. These criteria imply a customer needs more information for his or her decision making or may be confused: offering a live chat conversation is a good way to accelerate that process in a proactive way, and remove any barriers to them completing a transaction.

Another live-chat feature to consider is co-browsing, allowing the agent to view the same page in real-time as the client. This does not require any installation for the client or agent and can help the agent to highlight certain areas of a web page.

Google My Business

Another challenge for retailers is the management of customer reviews and comments – 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. This makes it the most widely used source for research, ahead of search engines and the wider website. 

One of the most important channels for reviews is Google My Business, on which 44% of local businesses are already registered for free, with reviews directly visible in search results.

Faced with these uses, monitoring opinions to be able to respond to them becomes essential. A negative comment left unanswered,can quickly have a negative impact on the brand and 96% of internet users are influenced by the presence of negative opinions during a purchase, making it essential for retailers to effectively manage Google My Business.

How to effectively manage these channels

Taking the decision to use a combination of these tools may seem straightforward enough. But it is not simply a case of deploying the technology, as the processes and day-to-day management become critically important if they are to be successful. Given that retailers  may already use a variety of channels to communicate with customers, it is important to choose platforms that bring all of them together. Taking this approach empowers customer support agents by giving them all the information they need about previous engagements as well as simplifying the task of management. It can also help businesses reduce the complexity of their customer service support teams, making them more efficient and effective.

With customer service being the differentiator for brands that helps them win and keep customers long into the 2020s, when brand loyalty is a dim and distant memory, retailers need to place as much emphasis on the technologies that support customer engagements, as they do on the web platforms that sell them products.