The Cloud Technology You Need to Support Non-Agent Staff

My Post - 2020-03-03T155133.617.pngHow much of your technology investment is devoted to helping your agents? Most, if not all, I would bet.

Don’t worry if all your technology advantages empower your agents— it’s an important focus for any call center trying to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

We’ve even covered how enabling agents with technology is a vital pursuit. 

But, if you set high demands on your non-agent staff, you need to empower them with technology to get the job done right. From managers to analysts, and quality teams to trainers, call center leaders need to do more to help the ones that help our agents.

Here are a few ideas on how to equip your non-agent staff with cloud solutions that can drive better outcomes in your organization:

CLOUD TECHNOLOGY THAT HELPS CALL CENTER MANAGERS

It’s easy to forget how much rests on the shoulders of our call center managers. While agents serve as the front line to customer experience, managers are responsible for the outcomes behind the scenes as well.

Modern managers must build a positive work culture, motivate individuals to succeed, manage operations, and guide the technology roadmap for the entire call center. And, with so many call centers shifting from cost centers to revenue generators, managers must justify every investment.

Further, the gap between companies that say they deliver exceptional service (80 percent) and the customers who agree (8 percent) represents a huge “delivery gap” managers must overcome, according to Bain & Company:

But what technology can managers leverage to impact their call center?

Cloud tools that harness business intelligence (BI) are quickly becoming the most impactful solutions to increase efficiency and boost ROI.

By helping to highlight key metrics across a call center, cloud BI tools give managers deeper insights that can pinpoint areas needing more attention.

BI tools can monitor agent performance, such as CSAT scores, hold times, or average call resolution, to help managers quickly intervene if agents are struggling and target necessary training.

Managers can also look to BI tools to support agent utilization, as call volume trends can be forecasted and refined to make data-informed staffing decisions when integrated into a quality WFM platform.

BI insights can even help managers drive at shared goals, such as gamification to see which agents close the most tickets or achieve the highest customer experience ratings in a given quarter.

Every manager is tasked with a handful of benchmarks to hit — and business intelligence solutions in the cloud can help refine a manager’s strategy for achieving their goals — no matter what they are.

IMPROVING TECHNOLOGY FOR QUALITY MANAGEMENT TEAMS

Many QA and QM teams have upgraded their current quality management suite to the cloud — and they’re driving quick results.

By integrating with emerging cloud technologies, call centers can build quality monitoring programs that rapidly improve customer experience. – Read more

Learn More About Cloud Call Center Search

How to Grow Your Base of Loyal Customers

My Post - 2020-02-26T174508.390.pngRacking up sales is wonderful, but it won’t keep the doors open if these are just one-time customers. You need to retain your existing customers and turn them into diehard brand loyalists.

Your loyal customers will purchase more with you, and more often. And they can be an incredibly valuable marketing tool that can help you grow your customer base through referrals and word-of-mouth.

If you don’t already have one, now is the time to put a plan in place to harness the power of your existing customers. Here are the steps you can take to engage them and build a loyal following for your business.

Understand Your Customers

Because you need your customers to relate to your brand, you have to understand what they’re all about. You accomplish this through market research.

Market research is gathering information about the market you want to enter or operate in — your target market. The end goal is to find out how successful your offering can be to customers in your target market, and to understand how best to engage those customers.

There are two approaches to gathering this information: primary (research you do yourself) and secondary research (public-facing research compiled by a third party).

Examples of primary research include:

  • Email and online surveys
  • Telephone interviews
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Internal data (in-house information on your customers)

For instance, with email surveys, you could ask your customers directly what new services or offerings they would be most excited about. This helps you prioritize opportunities to grow your business, and shows your customers that you care about their feedback.

Examples of secondary research, which can also help you analyze your competitors, include:

  • Public sources (government websites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics)
  • Research from other organizations or companies
  • Specific keyword searches on Google for terms and competitors relevant to your market

By searching Google for keywords that you know your customers are already using to find businesses like yours on the web, you can see who your competitors are, understand how they are messaging to their customers, and gain ideas on how to refine this for your purposes.

Using your point-of-sale as a research tool

Your point-of-sale is a powerful research tool because it automatically tracks sales across every location (as well as online) and it ties those sales to customers so you can better understand their purchase behavior, it is a great source of data to easily identify opportunities for growth.

Your point-of-sale gives you access to internal data that you’ve accumulated from each customer interaction, such as:

  • How much your customer spends and on what
  • How frequently your customer returns
  • Your total sales compared to last week, month or year

By analyzing that data, you can spot customer trends, as well as opportunities to grow your business. For example, if you notice that specific customers regularly spend more than others, you can make it a point to alert them each time you have a new promotion.

By learning your customers’ unique behaviors, you’ll be better able to market to them. – Read more

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5 Ways Small Businesses Can Offer Experiential Retail Like Big Brands (Without Big Budgets)

My Post - 2020-02-13T161757.766.pngOne of the most common misconceptions about retail today is that lean, online retailers are devouring the revenues of brick-and-mortar stores. While this may make for more compelling headlines, it doesn’t tell the full story.

In many parts of the world, the retail landscape is becoming increasingly divided. At one end of the spectrum, there are the retailers that prioritize large, diverse inventories and low prices—a business model best exemplified by Walmart and similar low-cost chains. At the other end, there are the high-end retailers that prioritize luxury goods and superior customer service. For those retailers, exclusivity is the primary motivation for their customers.

It’s those brands “in the middle”—the ones that can’t compete based on cost or luxury—that struggle to differentiate. And it’s these same brands that can benefit the most from experiential retail.

What is experiential retail?

Experiential retail seeks to delight shoppers with memorable shopping experiences that can be shared. In many ways, experiential retailers aim is to create communities around their brands.

As customers become more selective about the brands they shop with, the in-store experience needs to stand out from the pack. The catch? It can’t be gimmicky and forgo the transactional element entirely. At the end of the day, shoppers are still there to buy.

“The best kind of experiential retail are the experiences that are repeatable—not one-off gimmicks, where you take an Instagram selfie and call it a day. Meaningful experiences are where you want to go back time after time after time because the service is great, or you have a relationship with the person who works there. Repeatable value that’s different from your online experience.” — Arpan Podduturi, Director of Product, Shopify

Navigating experiential retail is tricky, so in this post, we take a look at four high-profile brands who do it best, and unpack what makes their experiences effective in terms of driving foot traffic, increasing sales, and building long-term loyalty.

4 examples of experiential retail (and takeaways)

While many experiential retailers adopt similar strategies to provide superior shopping experiences to their customers, there’s a great deal of variance from one retailer to another. The qualities the following retailers share, however, is a commitment to creating authentic, human, and immersive experiences that align with their brand values and product offerings.

Allbirds: Selling “the comfiest shoes on the planet”

Footwear is one of the most lucrative and competitive verticals in retail. In a multibillion-dollar industry dominated by entrenched incumbents, new entrants in the footwear market are uncommon—which makes footwear retailer Allbirds’ success all the more remarkable.

Many of Allbirds’ shoes are constructed from a superfine merino wool sustainably sourced in New Zealand. In the early days of the company, many consumers were intrigued by the unorthodox material. This created opportunities for Allbirds to create a narrative surrounding its products, highlight how and where the company sources its materials, and start conversations about the sustainability of the fashion and apparel market—all of which have become central to the company’s brand.

Allbirds didn’t just want to sell “the comfiest shoes on the planet.” It wanted to redefine the entire experience of buying a new pair of shoes.

“Consumers want to understand the product and the materials. They want to have transparency into the supply chain. They want to trust the brands they support to do something more.” —Tim Brown, cofounder, Allbirds

Allbirds began selling its shoes online in 2016 and opened its flagship retail store in San Francisco in May 2017. Opening retail stores wasn’t just a way for Allbirds to increase its physical footprint—it gave the company a way to interact with customers directly and provide the kind of shopping experience that few other footwear retailers can offer.

The company’s stores are as minimalistic as Allbirds’ footwear. Select pairs are wall-mounted throughout Allbirds’ stores, showcasing the company’s newest designs without overwhelming customers. The shop floors are similarly roomy and allow customers to browse at their leisure.

This also gives Allbirds’ sales associates the opportunity to answer customer questions and tell people about Allbirds’ products and brand values as they shop. Allbirds’ New York location even features a “service bar,” where customers can take their time in finding the right size.

 

“Allbirds
The brand’s retail spaces are as clean and comfortable as their products. Allbirds

The result is a relaxing and educational experience that goes beyond the clinical nature of most shoe stores. The company’s retail locations have proved so popular that Allbirds plans to open an additional 20 stores in 2020, many of which will be located across the U.S. – Read more