Tips, insight on how to boost customer interaction
Whether you're a big brand or a small business retailer one constant is the effort to improve and boost customer experience and customer interaction. The good news is that tools and strategies are constantly expanding. The bad news is such a wealth of options can be overwhelming and stall progress.
To get insight on what to do and not to do Retail Customer Experience reached out toChris Poelma, president and general manager of NCR Small Business, for tips, insight and advice.
Retail Customer Experience: What is one of the biggest missteps retailers experience in striving to improve customer interaction?
Chris Poelma: Trying to boost interaction without truly understanding customer preferences is one of the biggest mistakes a retailer — big or small — can make. Today's omnichannel customer is a complex character, which means retailers need to lean on behavioral data — like what types of purchases they typically make, how frequently they shop and how they shop — to learn where their customers prefer to interact with their brand and the types of promotions their customers value.
Data can seem overwhelming, so I recommend keeping it simple to start. Focus on understanding and improving service first. If you can work to optimize the service you deliver to your customers, interaction will improve and loyalty will follow.
RCE: How should a retailer prepare to deploy a new strategy regarding customer interaction?
Poelma: Retailers need to gather data to develop a solid strategy for customer interaction, but it does not have to be a complicated or expensive endeavor. Analyze trends in customer behavior using technology you already have in place, like your POS. Many of these platforms include simple analytics tools at no extra cost.
RCE: Small business typically don't have big resources so what are one to two cost-effective approaches to interaction and getting customers engaged?
Poelma: Numerous inexpensive and even free survey tools are available. They provide a cost effective way to tap into customer sentiment. However, to continuously collect customer data and track customer interaction with your business it's best to invest in technology that can offer you that insight on-demand. It will pay off long-term.
RCE: How vital is the role of retail staff, from cashier to dressing room attendants, in the customer interaction experience?
Poelma: Every interaction your customers have with your brand affects their experience. Share trends derived from the data you collect on customer behavior with your team so they get a better understanding of your customer's personas and can provide a more personalized experience and ultimately, better service.
Make sure your store staff is also taking the time to identify and talk with first time customers. At the checkout counter, collect customer information like name, email and birthday in your POS system, and use this to customize future interaction.
Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.www