7 key questions Retailers should be asking themselves for a successful shift to digital
By Iain Banks, Group Vice President at TTEC in EMEA www.ttec.com/emea
A recent survey by Brightpearl has revealed that over 50% of retailers have made no preparation for a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming Autumn and Winter. The survey also reveals a huge shift to digital away from brick and mortar stores.
Going online so rapidly and unexpectedly has put pressure on many retailers, both technically and logistically. Companies are realising they lack the scalability and agility to respond quickly enough to today’s ever-changing environment and consumer demands.
A retailers ability to react quickly to changes in consumer behaviour has become a key differentiator in the market place.
They are facing challenges such as; How do we fulfil orders quickly? How much of the business process needs human interaction? Are there ways to rework journeys so that the customer experience is contactless? How do you make the consumer have a positive experience with our brand?
Here’s 7 key questions to ask yourself as a Retailer!
Question 1 – When was the last time you had an amazing customer experience?
Go around the table and each share a recent customer experience you enjoyed and describe why it was so memorable.
As the late Steve Jobs said; “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” Drawing upon your own experiences is a good first step exercise because it helps identify “universal moments that matter” from the customer perspective and lets you explore what real-world CX success looks like.
Question 2 – What does successful digital transformation look like for your business?
(For example: seamless omnichannel communications, more user-friendly systems, reduced operational costs, increased revenue, etc.)
List out everyone’s priorities and talk about ways cloud technology connectivity can help meet each objective.
You may find IT leaders prioritise omnichannel communications where historical data and context is transferred between channels seamlessly and securely. Whereas, the business team may want to find new ways to reduce operating costs, deliver greater ROI, and contribute to a healthier bottom line.
Question 3 – Which channels do you want your customers to use the most?
Rank the channels you want your customers to use when interacting with your brand (i.e. agent voice, webchat, email, mobile/SMS, social media, IVR/AI self-service, branch office/store, etc.).
Break down your current customer base by age. Write the approximate percentage for each category; Silent Generation: Age 73 – 94; Baby Boomer Generation: Age 54 – 72; Gen X: Age 38 – 53 Millennials; (Gen Y) Age 22 – 37; Gen Z (iGen) Age 0 – 21.
Research shows channel preferences change based on age. So, before you decide which channels you want to invest more in or drop, it’s important to consider the age breakdown of your customers with channel preferences – and then align your strategy accordingly. Otherwise, you may not deliver service the way your customers prefer to connect with you, and they will take their business to a brand who does.
Question 4 – What key metrics do you want to improve during your digital transformation?
Talk though and rank the CX metrics that matter most to your company.
If you don’t have a shared understanding of what success looks like, you won’t know if you’ve achieved it. Aligning on the same key performance indicators before the transition makes it easier for the organisation to focus efforts and realise true success.
Question 5 – How does your company proactively reach out to customers?
Think about what additional information, services, and solutions your customers find helpful. Perhaps it’s sending an SMS message to their mobile phone with a package tracking number or emailing a follow-up message to an insurance question with a link to their policy.
Think about the cloud technologies you will need to establish and maintain such personalised 1:1 communications. What channels do you use? Are your outreach efforts personalised? What prompts the need to reach out?
Customers want brands to engage with them on their terms. Taking the time to plan out proactive ways to interact with your customers – on topics of interest to them, in their preferred channels, and at times convenient for them – are key to differentiating your brand from competitors.
Question 6 – How do you envision onboarding and training employees on your new technology and systems?
Often, leaders hyper-focus on researching and investing in the best technology to bring their digital transformation to life and fail to think through how to train employees on all of it. And as a result, their big investment delivers very little return. When this happens, workers are frustrated because they don’t know how to use the technology to do their jobs effectively, and customers don’t receive the superior experiences the technology was supposed to deliver.
Question 7 – What are your biggest barriers to effective change?
Deciding what to change is one thing, making the change stick is quite another. Look at each business unit and discuss areas where you may need to implement structured change management programs to ensure everyone – from manager to end-user – is onboard from start-to-finish.
Achieving a successful digital transformation is a multi-year, multi-person investment. Often, the process for getting people ready, willing, and able to accept and embrace new ways of working is the biggest challenge of all. Thinking through ways to overcome organisational change barriers before starting on the digital journey will help you complete the entire transformation on time and within budget.
Want to learn more?
We recently spoke to some of the most renowned CX experts for their insights, tips, and wisdom on how to reshape customer experiences to meet the intersection of technology and humanity. Download our CX strategy guide to gain more advice on how to make the most of differentiated human experiences in a digital age:
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