In recent years, organisation s have placed a heavy focus on the customer experience (CX), and the desire to improve this will continue to growas wemove into 2020. The growth of technology is fast-paced, allowing it to improve the CX and make it the best it can possibly be online and in-store. For example, the mobile platform is becoming the biggest channel for customer engagement, and the need for a fully optimised mobile experience is essential – 57% of customers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
Whilst the online consumer journey is a big factor to consider, CX is also important in-store. The development of AI is consistently improving this, with Lowe’s, an American home improvement store, being a leading example. The LoweBot is an autonomous retail service robot designed by Fellow. LoweBot is able to find products in multiple languages and help customers effectively navigate the store. LoweBot is also designed to help customers with simple questions, enabling employees to spend more time offering their expertise and specialty knowledge to customers. Using AI, Lowebot can also monitor Lowe’s inventory stock in real-time, which helps detect consumer patterns, further guiding future business decisions.
Although this advancement in technology is impressive, the retail industry will always require a physical presence in-store in the form of customer service representatives. These employees play a significant role within CX – 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps (RightNow). And, with the cost of creating new customers being more expensive than retaining existing ones, it’s important that the CX is of the highest quality to maintain a consumer base.
In order for organisations to improve their front line, investment in good customer service training is vital, which applies to a range of scenarios, such as call centres and physical in-store representatives. Good customer service training should consider a wide range of topics, including:
- How to speak to and treat a customer, including communication skills and positive behaviours
- Raising awareness around vulnerable customers
- How to handle complaints and challenging behaviour
- Product knowledge
To help customer service training resonate with employees, a blended learning approach is best, as it is administered through face-to-face activities, then reinforced through digital learning.
For example, training workshops can include a wealth of activities that allow employees to place themselves in real-life situations and allows them to build confidence while practising with others. To enhance communication skills towards customers, ‘stepping into the shoes of a customer’ is a good activity. This involves employees identifying key groups of customers and establishing what their needs are at every stage of the sales process. This will be from making initial contact with the sales representative, through to the service or product they buy from you, as well as the final departure and after-sales service. This sort of activity develops employees’ problem-solving and listening skills, as they have to react to what their colleague is saying.
Blended learning scenarios also require an element of digital learning that can complement the classroom initiatives. A reinforcement tool, like Wranx, helps embed the learning taught in the classroom more effectively in the long-term memory. Through ‘push learning’, it repeatedly presents the learner with daily drills and additional resources straight to their mobiles, making learning instantly accessible. It also gives sales representatives a chance to revisit learning topics that they haven’t fully retained from the classroom.
This proved successful for HomeAway, when they were trying to get call-reps up to speed on changing company processes and new subscription plans. Good customer service training is imperative for a contact centre environment, as their KPIs revolve around call times and customer satisfaction rates. Wranx’s ability to convert training into bite-sized modules helped employees to retain more knowledge and be able to deliver information back to the customer, reducing call times by an average of 5 seconds.
Keeping up with technology that is consistently improving the consumer journey is imperative, and action should begin at an organisation’s front-line – helping to create passionate and highly-skilled employees. Leveraging modern technology in your learning strategy will have a positive impact on your employees’ behaviour. This benefits the company as a whole, not only in terms of brand reputation, but because happy customers become loyal customers that contribute to a healthy turnover and profitable margins.