Customer Experience Digital Transformation

How to avoid a fragmented retail customer experience

By Simon Brennan 28 May 2021

Did you know that customers will spend up to 16% more when retailers nail their customer experience (CX)? Or that 63% of people are willing to share personal data with a company that prioritises their customer journey? Or that 32% of previously loyal customers will walk away from a beloved brand after just one bad experience?

Chances are that these trends resonate. And chances are that you’ve been investing in a top-notch website, seamless app experience and helpful chatbots. Indeed, over 45% of businesses say CX is their top priority for the next 5 years, above pricing and even product.

And that’s great. But that’s not the whole story. Because when it comes to retail CX – where there are so many different touchpoints across so many different channels – it’s not just about individual experiences. It’s about the entire journey, no matter how it twists and turns.

In this blog, we’ll explore the damage a fragmented customer journey can do to your otherwise fantastic CX – and how you can avoid losing customers because of a disjointed approach.

More channels, more opportunities, more problems

You need to offer an omni-channel approach or risk losing opportunities. But the problem with the explosion of channels is that, if not managed properly, they create a disjointed CX. Although customers have their preferred channels (49% of customers, for example, prefer SMS to phone calls), they still use multiple touchpoints to browse before making a purchase. They might browse your website on their laptop on their lunch break, complete an order on their smartphone later that evening while watching telly, and then use your messaging service to ask for order updates.

Not only do individual experiences need to be excellent, they need to connect to avoid customer frustration. People want to be able to pick up where they left off, whatever channel or device they’re using.

Break it down

Of course, making sure your whole customer journey is connected and seamless is easier said than done. The reality is that businesses are made up of departments, systems and individuals. The key is to break down these silos so colleagues can share insights, experiences and – crucially – data. This will ensure your web experts consider the app experience when designing product pages, your contact centre staff are able to access full history of previous interactions, and your social media team can quickly provide answers to simple queries such as order enquiries.

If you’re a smaller, more agile retailer, you can build multidisciplinary teams that always look at the customer journey as a whole, rather than as individual segments. If you’re a larger, more established retailer with processes and teams in place already, you can create a group of leaders responsible for overseeing the overall customer journey strategy. Then, individual teams work on perfecting their specialised areas.

The key is to have people responsible for owning the big picture, and who can ensure all the moving parts align with that strategy.

Delve into the data – and automate

To own that big picture, people need access to unified data. Once your structure and way of working fosters collaboration and big-picture thinking, you can use technology to bring together data from each area.

By using AI-powered tools like Customer Journey Tracker, you can view the holistic CX unfold in real-time, identifying what’s working and where drop-off points are. You can then automate key processes to reduce friction and enable hyper-personalisation.

This will help you evolve your CX approach, so you can keep customers on side in an increasingly competitive environment, ensuring there’s an ongoing focus and drive to continuous improvement.

To learn more, read our whitepaper on customer journey automation in retail.

See other posts by Simon Brennan

VP Sales

Simon Brennan has more than 14 years’ experience in the customer engagement sector, working with a wide variety of companies from tech start-ups to FTSE100 organisations. He is an expert in improving corporate customer communication, using technology to supercharge internal processes and deliver increased sales. Simon has a strong track record of successfully delivering cross-channel communication solutions for Engage Hub's corporate customer base, across multiple divisions within an organisation.

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