With customer satisfaction, consistency is key

Industry Insight

Retailers should always look for ways to improve customer satisfaction. If you were to sit down with every customer you cater to and ask them about the most frustrating aspect of shopping, a significant portion of them may say consistency. However, offering customers a consistent retail environment has become increasingly difficult due to the rise of multiple shopping channels. A modern retailer may offer products over marketplaces, physical retail stores, online shops and other shopping avenues. Even small discrepancies over availability and price can reduce customer satisfaction and deter people from the shopping with you.

If merchants want to ensure their customers walk away from a transaction with positive reflection, they must improve customer experience management with consistency. Here are a few key areas retailers can improve on:

1. Product offerings

Offering the same products across all channels is a good place to start when merchants are looking to employ consistency. People shop in an omni channel way, using multiple sales avenues to research products, compare prices, find discounts and purchase goods. Failure to maintain consistent inventory across channels, however, can lead to frustration and poor customer satisfaction.

50 percent of surveyed retailers said brands had a consistent appearance at digital and retail stores.

For example, a customer may want to research a product online and then bypass the shipping process by ordering in-store. Conversely, they may see an item in-store, but maybe it’s not quite the right size so they decide to finalize the purchase online. If online and retail stores have even slightly different offerings, the retailer may lose a sale.

2. Brand appearance

You would think this would be a given, but many brands actually struggle to maintain a unified brand look and retail environment across online and offline locations. According to one report from Infosys, approximately 50 percent of surveyed retailers said they had a consistent appearance at digital and retail stores, although that number went up to 80 percent when online is exempt from the equation.

Still, it’s crucial that retailers live up to consumer expectations or they may lose some of the trust they’ve worked to develop. For example, if customers gave retailers their email address after making a purchase in-store, the next step may be offering them personalized item suggestions via email. However, if emails don’t carry over any similar branding elements from retail stores, creating a consistent retail environment, recipients may think the message is fraudulent and delete it or even unsubscribe from the mailing list.

3. Purchase history

You know what’s embarrassing? Recommending an item to customers that they already own. Imagine taking the time to talk to customers in physical retail stores and trying to sell them a specific product, only to find out they already purchased that item from a retailer’s online store a week ago. Consolidation of data is key when retailers are looking to improve customer experience management.

Retailers need to provide a consistent retail environment that inspires customer satisfaction.

A consolidated purchase history across all sales channels should be crafted for each customer. This type of customer experience management can go a long way in helping retailers target specific customers with relevant offers more efficiently and effectively. Establishing a consolidated purchase history can help in other areas as well, such as customer service performance – retailers will be able to identify problems and address customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction without starting from square one every time.

Retailers are selling from a broader number of channels now than they have in the past. However, just because these avenues are different, that doesn’t give merchants license to treat them as individual silos. If companies want to achieve success in today’s retail environment with better customer experience management, they need to provide a consistent retail environment that inspires customer satisfaction. That starts by taking a look at inventory availability, brand appearance and purchase history and finding ways to create a consistent narrative in those areas across all channels of operations.

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