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The rules of retail have changed. In an increasingly digital-first world – accelerated, of course, by the current pandemic – shopping is an experience, not just a transaction. Salesforce’s Connected Shoppers Report tells us that 83% of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services and seamless multi-channel customer communication is shown to provide an enhanced customer experience that leads to greater customer loyalty and retention.
The experience you create is going to make a big difference now. Afterall, you’re going up against others who may offer more and better pricing. The customer experience matters—even down to the way you communicate.
Online sales continue to surge, even as stores have reopened. According to a July survey of 5,000 consumers in North America and Europe from Selligent, online shopping has shifted from a monthly habit pre-pandemic to a weekly one.
For retailers, these shifting behaviors make the multichannel customer communication and support experience a crucial differentiator and source of competitive advantage.
Indeed, another trend the retail world is witnessing is a huge surge in buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup. According to Incisiv’s The New Shopper in High-Touch Retail report, 80% of shoppers expect to increase BOPIS and contactless pickup over the next six months, meaning that a strong omnichannel customer experience will be key to physical store success.
Crucially, 80% of shoppers believe that digital communications with store associates over the next six months are “likely” or “very likely”, the report says. As consumers spend less time in physical stores, more and more of the buyer’s journey is completed digitally – meaning less facetime with in-store associates, but more interactions with customer service and support via phone, email or other digital channel, such as live chat and text.
Meeting the Customer Communication Challenge with Advanced Retail Phone Systems
As a retailer, your challenge is to re-create the in-store experience digitally and provide your customers with support and information across multiple customer communication channels to help them complete their journey.
Fortunately, purpose-built retail phone systems with integrated unified communications tools have become increasingly powerful and sophisticated, enabling you to meet the diverse communication needs of the multi- and omnichannel customer and help you win more business and solidify existing relationships.
Using Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) – which integrates unified communications across your stores and contact center into a seamless cloud-based platform – customers who call a local store can be automatically routed to a call center agent to find answers about inventory, product features, store policies, or to follow up on an order due for home delivery or curbside pickup. Intelligent routing ensures that calls are routed to call center agents who have specific expertise in the area related to the customer enquiry – and those agents are automatically equipped with caller details, allowing them to resolve issues quickly and deliver a personalized service.
As well as calls, UCaaS platforms provide a live chat facility, enabling you to answer customer questions easily online from your retail site. In addition, video conferencing tools allow you to connect with customers face-to-face online or create virtual shopping experiences, while integrated business mobile apps enable you to send multimedia text messages to enhance communication experiences and improve customer service.
For retailers, net2phone offers a powerful UCaaS solution – a truly unified communications retail phone system complete with state-of-the-art desk phone, feature-rich mobile app, leading-edge video conferencing platform Huddle, and live analytics to track the speed and performance of agents to help you maximize the efficiency of your retail operation.