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Don’t Forget Customer Service in quest of Technology

Customer Service has and will always be an integral part of retail operations. Sadly, retailers have kind of forgotten this in recent times. In the quest for maximizing sales and enhancing the in-store experience of the customers, retailers have provided a lot of emphasis on latest in-store technologies. Although technology saves customers a lot of time and provides an efficient shopping experience overall, it should not be at the expense of customer service. Human customer service to be precise.

Ideally, technology services and customer services provided by humans should complement each other and work in tandem. But, a lot more focus has been provided by retailers to equip themselves with the state of the art technology, both – to drive customer loyalty and enhance the in-store experience of shoppers. Retailers must understand that customer service is just as important, if not more, to establish customer loyalty.

customer service in retail

Startling Stats validating the importance of Customer Service

There is no denying the fact that better the in-store experience of customers, more the chances of scoring conversions and retaining them. However, to think that technology alone can serve this purpose might be a bit of a mistake on the retailers’ part. In this age of abundant information and rising e-commerce, there is a reason why customers still walk into brick-and-mortar stores. And it isn’t just to be a part of the most modern technological marvel in retail. Customers want something more exclusive. A lot of the customer loyalty and in-store engagement has got to do with customer service. The following figures reflect just that –

  • 28% of customers in the UK spent less with a company due to poor customer service, costing UK businesses 37 billion pounds in 2016. (Ombudsman Services)
  • 97% of global consumers feel that customer service is what helps them decide whether they want to choose or be loyal to, a brand.  (2016 MSGCSR: 2016 Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report)  
  • 63% of customers feel resigned and disillusioned when the customer service is poor and don’t trust the business as much thereafter. (Ombudsman Services)
  • 54% of global consumers and 68% of millennials have much higher expectations from customer service than what they had in 2015. (2016 MSGCSR)
  • Poor customer service has led to 60% of global consumers stopping business with a brand. (2016 MSGCSR)   

Extending the human element on Social Media

Customers today love to interact on social media and expect their queries to be resolved on these platforms. While effective in-store customer service adds to the in-store experience of the customers, it must be kept in mind that the customer can’t always keep coming back to the store for making enquiries, getting queries resolved or making complaints. Extending the human element of customer service on social media platforms will not just be convenient for customers, but excellence in services will also make it easier to achieve customer loyalty. Customers will always prefer real, engaging and genuine responses to their queries, instead of corporate, mundane and robotic ones. Thus, discharging customer service through social human agents instead of ‘not so advanced yet bots’ definitely is the wiser option as of now. The following figures reflect the significance of making customer service available on social media platforms –

  • There has been a 250% increase in customer service interactions over Twitter in the last two years (Twitter)
  • According to (Convince and Convert), customer advocacy is increased by 25% when a social media complaint is answered.
  • 39% of US customers use social media to ask a customer service question and 65% of them expect a response within 24 hours. (2016 MSGCSR)

Thus, from the above data we can conclude that retailers should not always avail technology at the expense of customer service. While technology and technology oriented customer service saves time, and accelerates the speed of proceedings in-store, there is nothing quite like the human touch in customer service.

About Shakuntala Sarkar

Shakuntala is a marketer with 15 years of experience in Marketing Strategies & Operations, Brand Communications, Customer Relationship Management and Corporate Communications. An economics graduate from St Xavier’s college, Kolkata and a IIMC she, has worked across different industries like IT & Retail, with consumer marketing in both B2B and B2C segments. Before joining Tickto, she was the Head of Customer Relationship Management at Spencer’s Retail. Prior to that, she has been a part of the Global Marketing & Communications team of Satyam Computer Services.

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