As long ago as 1984 when I began my career working in the retail industry, “Customer Service” was the secret sauce that made one retailer stand out from the other.
Today, even though online sales still only account for 10% of annual retail sales in the U.S., the shifts in consumer behavior and the continued e-commerce growth are putting brick-and-mortar retailers in a sometimes uncomfortable and competitive position to deliver the kind of service their customers want.
Analysts anticipate that, as early as next year, customer experience will surpass price and product as a key differentiator, so finding sustainable solutions will be vital to remaining competitive.
According to Retail Dive, here’s why customer experience matters:
- 80% of consumers expect companies to respond and interact with them in real-time.
- 75% of people now expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with brands.
- 86% of those who received great customer experience were likely to repurchase from the same company.
Fortunately, today’s modern and mobile customers have continued to be clear about one thing: the importance of customer experience. The in-person support is still a strong driver to help get shoppers in stores. Customer Service still gives traditional brick-and-mortar retailers an enormous opportunity to build relationships and capture sales for the remaining 90% of U.S. sales.
I recently read this quote by Andre Popescu, at D2L: “Retailers are not just competing against other retailers, they’re competing against any brand that delivers excellent customer service.”
I could not agree more. No matter what customers are shopping for, whether it’s a cup of coffee, a laptop, a home appliance or a new outfit, they have the same expectations for a personalized and high-touch customer service experience.