hallowsI eagerly anticipate Halloween celebrations, with my pumpkins bought, ready to be carved into scary creatures from the shadows. For retailers, this start to the festive season can be both a thrilling or terrifying beast with customer experience the spell that could turn good/ loyal customers into monsters able to seal a company’s fate if they don’t have a ghost-busting customer experience strategy in place.

It’s a thriller
As a company you are only as strong as your weakest customer service channel and with more than 40% of online adults being multi-device users and over 70% of the UK population now owning a smartphone, consumers are increasingly turning to online channels to contact an organisation to resolve a customer service issue.

Figures up by 30% in a recent study by retail giant, John Lewis, reveal that we Britons enjoy shopping between the witching hours of midnight and 6am. And scarily, with only 9 weeks until Christmas, retailers will be put under more and more pressure as the day approaches ,with consumers expecting to not only be able to shop online at any time, but real-time customer service at the same level during a busy period, as during the quieter ones.

Research by Deloitte reports that more than 55% of consumers turn to digital tools to research products and goods before they purchase them either online or instore. And loyalty is declining with more consumers considering different brands and switching providers more frequently than ever before. So it’s not about creating yet another loyalty program to earn greater trust, it’s not just about sweepstakes, coupons, points, promotions or emails. Companies really have to rethink loyalty in digital terms.

So what is the secret ingredient to spell bounding customer experiences? The truth is that there is no ‘one’ thing; however, having a knowledge-base integrated into each contact channel can ensure consistency across all channels such as the phone, email, social media, website and live chat. This is vitally important because these interactions make up a company’s marketing, PR, customer service and reputation. And it really doesn’t take much for that to affect your bottom line.

But spine chilling figures showing that some businesses are still slow to respond when it comes to customer service and support, and when they do respond it’s a long winded conversation or inconsistent information across different contact channels.

Customers often feel ‘tricked’ out of spending their money. When their expectations aren’t met. When you treat your customers well and give both your customers and your agents a sense of control in providing them with a set of integrated customer service tools, a situation where both are often made to feel helpless, can be avoided.

Known as ‘bricks and clicks’, a multi-channel strategy can provide a winning combination allowing consumers to browse, buy and self-serve, using the most convenient channel for them – providing customer with convenience- right up to the last minute dash. And being prepared for sudden increases in traffic to your online customer channels – whether planned or as a result of an unexpected event – will be paramount to the success of an organisation.

The lead up to the festive season provides an opportunity for retailers to build consumer loyalty and trust if managed correctly.

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