When was the last time you remember buying a product online and visiting the store to return it? How about buying it in the store and returning it online?
The second scenario is highly unlikely, and customer service offered by today’s retailers has yet to reach this level. Customer service generally follows a multichannel approach to engage with customers, but the focus should be to provide a single unified and seamless customer experience across all channels.
This is called the omnichannel approach: Service is provided in a single channel, offering customer experiences across all touchpoints. Omnichannel can be defined as “a synchronized operating model in which all the company’s channels are aligned and present a single face to the customer, along with one consistent way of doing business.”
Omnichannel delivers a consistent and personalized experience via digital channels like social media, enabling customer interactions whenever, wherever, and however customers want. It works across all devices and methods, from laptops, tablets, and mobile phones to in-person and call center, where users can interact through websites, email, social media, and more.
According to IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2018 Predictions, 50% of retailers will adopt a retail omnichannel platform by 2019. This will have a direct impact on retailers’ top line as TCO, inventory costs, operational costs, and promotion pressure will increase profitability by 30%. IDC also predicts that by 2021, retailers will have made better use of the geospatial data to drive efficiency in omnichannel orchestration, reducing inventory costs by 25% across distribution centers and stores.
Adoption of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and IoT are also increasing and are expected to boost customer engagement and customer satisfaction and adoption by 20%, employee productivity by 15%, and inventory turns by 25%.
6. Visual engagement
Customers expect service at every point in their engagement journey, and they expect customer service centers to value their time. Co-browsing with annotation can help customers navigate complex forms, and use of video can help explain complex situations to support customers remotely.
In 2019, customer service centers will leverage visual engagement to strengthen customer relationships in a digital world. This boosts success in enabling customers to onboard the services they provide more effectively. Customer service centers in the future will use video to read customers’ facial expressions and react to signs of frustration or anger, displaying this information to the customer service center agent for better engagement.
7. Machine learning and advanced analytics will empower customer service agents
Customer service centers use text analytics to extract themes in data from digital interactions and surveys that would be impossible to retrieve manually. Using speech analytics, they will be able to measure call quality in real time. They also use technologies like machine learning to extract emotional insights by mining keywords, volume, pitch, speed, and other language patterns to detect changes in sentiment and intensity during customer conversations.
Keep this in mind next time you lost patience on a customer service call, and imagine how much calmer your life will be with digital transformation being adopted in every industry.
Companies will use a variety of emerging technical approaches to assist agents in providing more empathetic and compassionate experiences to customers. They will leverage behavioral analytics to match a caller’s psychographic profile to the best-skilled agent for serving.
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About Meenal Pathak
Meenal Pathak is business consultant in the Business Transformation Services group at SAP. She has experience in helping clients realize value in intelligent technologies, thus helping the customers in their digital transformation journey. She has more than 5 years of industry experience with Retail, Consumer Products and Goods.
About Lalit Jagtiani
Lalit is a Thought Leader in Digital Strategy at SAP. His edge lies in his ability to connect the dots, to provide insights on systems, processes & practices for the clients he is consulted by. He works with the top accounts of SAP to develop new business models and leverage technology to drive business strategy and value. Lalit’s book, When Change Happens…is created at the intersection of creativity and construct and features interactions that he has personally experienced while implementing change in the organizations. A Design Thinking Champion, he also is a certified Master Coach in Organization Transformation and a Certified Executive Coach to CXOs.