By Ryan Falkenberg, 13 January 2023 – Originally published by Retail Brief Africa
Delivering excellent customer experiences during the peak festive shopping season is an ongoing area of focus for business owners. With the shopping rush in full swing, lessons are being learnt and plans made for improved performance in 2023. Technology can help.
Going into the new financial year, business owners should be considering technologies that can make operations and customer service engagement smoother and more efficient. Excellent customer experiences are key in driving sales and retaining customers. Research from SuperOffice shows that 45.9% of business owners consider customer experience a key priority going into 2023.
What should local businesses consider investing in next year for better customer experience? “Your telephony platform is a critical customer engagement point,” says Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam, “and it needs to support your efforts to deliver the best customer service possible.”
As such, he comments, your telephone system and contact centre platform should both integrate with your CRM system. This ensures you can access functions like call outcomes, call queues, reporting and analytics, and that your agents can handle queries without repetition or manual handover. Automation in the call centre is another key element business owners should consider.
Says CLEVVA CEO Ryan Falkenberg, “Virtual agents in a call centre can reduce your agent load by handling repetitive, routine queries seamlessly, rapidly and repeatedly without human intervention. This frees up your human agents to deal with customers that have more complicated requests and where human qualities like listening, empathy and innovation are most valuable.”
If you sell online you ideally want your customers to self-serve without needing to engage your call centre. Here, Falkenberg says, virtual agents are now sophisticated enough to engage customers on your website, while they are shopping, and handle complicated, context-dependent queries.
“Unlike chatbots that often prove frustrating, virtual agents are able to clarify a customer’s stated intent, analyse their situation or need, diagnose the root cause of any problem and then identify the right solution before triggering the relevant process to action it. Plus they can provide a compliance record to prove they did it right,” he adds.
When it comes to completing a purchase online, ensuring you have the payment method your customers want to use can help make purchases smoother, and ensure you don’t lose sales at the checkout.
Says Peach Payments head of SME growth and marketing Josh Shimkin: “Not everyone has a debit card or credit. Twenty percent of online sales currently are made via bank transfer, for example, which includes instant EFT. Business owners that offer multiple payment options are more likely to make sales.
“This means offering credit and debit cards as well as alternative methods like QR Codes, ApplePay, Buy Now Pay Later options like Payflex and ZeroPay, voucher services like 1Voucher, and credit options like Mobicred and FinChoice.”
It may seem a little early to start planning for 2023’s shopping peak days, but let’s face it, after the holiday rush is done Valentine’s Day arrives with frightening speed. Business owners who start planning now will have an advantage.
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