Using Technology to Create Better Customer Experiences
Covid continues to be an unprecedented economic disruptor; however, as the pandemic wanes, states now are opening up and relaxing restrictions. There is a pent-up desire to get back to normal, to venture out and return to the brick-and-mortar world we, by and large, deserted.
As consumers warily venture out, businesses are facing a brave new world, a world where ecommerce has become the dominant form of commerce, where the old guards—retail giants, like sears, and Neiman Marcus—are filing or have filed for bankruptcy, and where consumers are expecting greater empathy and personalization, and where A.I. technology, such as chatbots, mix reality and the Metaverse, is becoming mainstream.
“For now, the picture may appear bleak. But retailers who grasp the challenge and join the gathering trends could well emerge stronger and provide a brighter future for employees, customers, and stakeholders alike”. Deloitte
Customer Experience Is the Future
In this brave new world, customer experience will play a major role as retailers emerge from this economic dystopia into a brighter future.
So, what is this thing called customer experience (CX)? And how will it affect your future as a retailer?
CX is the customer’s overall feelings and perceptions of a company, brand, product, or service based on their interactions with a particular brand. Customers don’t just want to take action or buy a product.
They want to feel a certain way about a company or brand. And if they don’t get that feeling …
They will bail.
57% of consumers surveyed by Salesforce Research said they’d jump ship in a New York minute if a competitor were to offer a better experience.
Bolstering Salesforce research, Forbes reported that 67% of consumers have already become “serial switchers” because of poor experiences.
Today’s consumers, the Indiana Jones of consumerism, are searching for the holy grail of CX.
That said, in this post-covid era, creating a memorable-customer experience should be, based on these facts, a top priority if you’re going to be competitive.
“Customer experience is the next competitive battleground. It’s where business is going to be won or lost.” – Tom Knighton
What’s the Difference Between CX and Customer Service?
Many retailers confuse customer experience with customer service; CX and customer service (CS) are not synonymous. CX touches the customer’s journey at every level—from first awareness to when a customer enters your store and buys a product, whereas customer service is just one feature of that empirical matrix, limited to giving advice or help as needed—it’s the human element, if you will.
And, yet CS and CX, in one sense, are two sides of the same empirical coin. Both are key factors in determining whether customers stick with a particular brand or service provider. Without both, no matter how good the products or services are, there will be an inevitable decline in customer retention and customer loyalty.
So think about the big picture when thinking about your customer. If you can sell products that the customer will love and use, and provide a great customer experience to boot, you are ahead of the game.
Remember, the customer is the boss. She controls your destiny, as well as your rival’s.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Sam Walton
CX Training and eLearning Tech
Because many retailers are waking up to the importance of CX, retailers, like Dollar General, are turning to cloud-based learning technologies to train their frontline employees and their online customer support teams in CX.
Traditionally, retailers have relied on old-school in-house training programs and on-the-job training to teach employees about customer experience or customer service.
However, these old-school, outdated approaches have several drawbacks:
- In-house training programs can be time-consuming and expensive to create and maintain.
- They don’t scale well to large numbers of employees.
- They don’t provide an easy way to train new employees or quickly update existing employee training.
In contrast, learning technologies offer several training advantages:
- They can be used to quickly create interactive, engaging training programs.
- They can be used to test and deploy training programs.
- They can deliver training programs to large numbers of employees.
- They can update training programs as new information is discovered or as new products and services are launched.
- They can be deployed on mobile devices and other digital platforms, like desktops.
And it’s for these and other reasons, many retailers are moving from conventional training to online solutions, like Dollar General, who chose an online elearning solution to help them with CX, and other business training objectives.
“Despite the strong shift toward employee-centric learning, many learning and development organizations are still struggling with internally focused and outdated platforms and static learning approaches.” Deloitte Insights
Today, there are several new technologies that are available for CX training:
- Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)
- Virtual Reality (VR)
- Augmented Reality (AR)
These technologies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to elearning solutions. Based on technology and learning theory, learning technologies like Learning Management Systems (LMS) have a long history.
The LMS, in fact, has been the reigning king of elearning platforms for some time. However, the LMS, still a very important part of the elearning landscape, is beginning to yield to a newcomer. A newbie that just may dethrone it as the go to training platform, especially for CX training because it’s more flexible and more open—the LXP.
What is an LXP?
LXPs are elearning platforms designed with the learner in mind, giving the learner the ability to personalize their learning experience in ways that work best for them, at their own pace, and with their own goals in mind.
The LXP’s ability to integrate with and connect to existing systems, its use of A.I. and Data Analytics to enhance the learning process, and its ability to deliver highly personalized learning, makes the LXP ideal for CX training.
Many users of LMSs, for instance, often had difficulty navigating vast amounts of content to find an appropriate learning segment or course. Conversely, LXPs allow third-party content—blogs, links, articles, videos, etc.—to be freely incorporated, and shared, making learning self-driven, self-curated, and highly customized.
Increasingly, with this new technology, corporate learning departments are shifting from offering education to serving as curators, providing content and experiences.
Mixed Reality — The New Buzzword
In experience-based learning, mixed reality (AR and VR) is the next big thing, and many cloud-based elearning vendors are updating their LMS and LXP apps to incorporate these immersive technologies into their platforms.
Retailers, like Walmart, are now using VR to train their sales associates and customer service reps to handle customers more effectively, using it, for example, for preparing their employees for Black Fridays and other unique situations.
Providing such training opportunities helps enterprises increase customer satisfaction, enhance customer experience and brand loyalty, making them more competitive and more profitable in this new and unfolding post-covid world.
With the advent of cloud-based elearning platforms and mix reality tech, it is now easier than ever for businesses to offer their employees online courses and training. These platforms allow businesses to create custom courses and modules, which can be accessed by employees from any device or location. And with the new LXP platforms, employees can also create a learning experience that suits their learning style and their learning goals.
Conclusion—Time to Rumble!
The customer experience is what really matters to consumers and for businesses to succeed in the new year. Consumers today are always looking for a great brand experience, no matter which channel is being used. This is why so many businesses today are trying to create a positive and seamless experience across multiple channels. It’s also important for businesses to have a positive and successful brand experience to keep their customers coming back.
If you want to remain competitive, your employees need training in CX. Using cost-effective software tools—like LMSs and LXPs, and other training technologies specifically designed to help you meet your training objectives—is a great way to get the job done.
This is an original piece of work from Charles Carr, B2B writer. Find Charles on LinkedIn.