In the information age, ushered in the by the rise of the internet, a variety of tools have been developed to help boost retail customer satisfaction. At the same time, the keep customers happy task management has grown more complicated as the number of methods for contacting consumers has risen. Reaching consumers online requires doing some research into the best sources and methods to use, whether social media, email, or more traditional outreach methods. The following tips offer insights into retaining retail customer satisfaction in the internet era.
Meet Customer Needs
Retailers now, more than ever before, need to make sure their products are aligned with customer needs. Given the ease of shopping online, you can’t afford to carry a bunch of products that are not attractive to your customers. Use market intelligence tools and your own research into your market to make sure the products you carry are the ones that most appeal to your target audience.
Cognitive analytics tools enable you to analyze this type of market intelligence. They allow you to determine the sweet spot between supply and demand that is most likely to satisfy your customer’s product needs and keep them coming back for more. Tools that perform cognitive logistics offer informed analysis into the type of products you should keep on the shelves, how these should be transported, and how taking the indicated approach will impact your bottom line.
These tools can be used to optimize your ability to offer your customers what they want, when they want it, in the most efficient manner possible. The tools also offer you the ability to track how customer demand changes in response to changes you make in product availability and display.
Make the Checkout Process Smooth
Time is of the essence today in our ever-busy world. To keep your customers happy, make sure that the checkout process is as smooth as possible. If customers find that they have to wait in line for an inordinately long time due to equipment failure of one type or another, they will likely take their business to another retailer. The same dynamic applies to online stores – if the process of making a purchase bogs down, for whatever reason, another store is just a click away.
A method of determining when equipment needs to be replaced is known as predictive analytics. It sifts through error reports and condition updates to inform you what actions should be taken to optimize equipment performance. Effective use of these metrics can head off equipment breakdowns that might otherwise result in lost revenues in the short run and lost customers in the long run.
Utilize Text (SMS) Messaging
Text messaging is a form of communication that has a high read rate, meaning that it attracts consumer attention at a higher rate than almost any other form of communication, including phone messages or email. Using text messages, or SMS, can help you spread the word about special deals or other information that you’d like to get to them on a timely basis. Some tips for making the most of your SMS messaging efforts are as follows:
- Use SMS to let your audience know about time sensitive matters such as the date of a new store opening or the introduction of a new product.
- Make sure not to overuse the privilege of being able to contact customers via text message – if you spam their phones with messages you may lose, rather than gain, business.
- Give message recipients the ability to opt out of receiving such messages if they’d rather not receive them. This approach enables you to get the word out about your products to the consumers who are most interested in receiving it.
Take Advantage of Social Media
The rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have created opportunities for businesses to reach out to customers and prospects in a more targeted fashion than was possible previously. The use of social platforms has become so pervasive that customers now expect the businesses they patronize to have a presence on them.
The ability of review services such as Yelp to provide customer feedback has made it imperative that firms with a retail presence make customer service a priority. In addition to addressing customer issues via social media, these platforms can be used for outreach efforts to get the word out about new products and services.
To make the most of social media, try the following:
- Appoint a social media manager and team to monitor customer feedback and requests from this source, as well as to spearhead customer outreach efforts.
- Marketing campaigns mounted on social media can be precisely targeted at an audience that has expressed interest in hearing more about your company and its products.
- Expand your social media audience by offering special deals or bonuses to consumers who connect with your company on social media. For instance, you could offer special coupons to consumers who sign up for your email mailing list. The same coupons, or some other bonus, could also be offered to people following you on Twitter or Facebook who agree to take a survey in which you ask their opinions about your product offerings.
- Your social media accounts should also be used to keep your audience up-to-date on company news, new developments and other matters of interest to customers and prospects. Providing this type of outreach in conjunction with customer engagement opportunities via your social media team can help to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Offer Convenient Payment Options
With carrying cash seen as an inconvenience in the information age, offering consumers a variety of easy payment options is a must. Allowing them to pay via credit cards is essential to avoid losing business. Debit cards are also often used by consumers to make purchases nowadays, as are gift cards and other means of electronic payment such as PayPal transfer or the Apple Pay service.
Smartphone scanning can also be used as a means of purchasing items, especially commonly purchased items such as a cup of coffee. Staying on top of the new technological payment methods and offering them to your customers can help your business gain and maintain customer loyalty.
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