he most important focus in the cutthroat retail industry is service. When it comes to serving the market, it is important to remain competitive and generate a positive and lasting impact on customers to earn loyalty.
Retailers of homewares, such as white goods, furniture, and electronics need to ensure a smooth and enjoyable customer experience from the first point of contact and continue to offer their support after the purchase—whether this begins online or through bricks-and-mortar. The customer journey, i.e. the individual cycles that customers go through until a purchase decision is made, in combination with the connection to manufacturers, is of central importance. Especially when it comes to branding, customer loyalty and beneficial relationships with employees and industry partners.
Forward-thinking companies know that the quality of the customer experience goes long beyond a sale. With transparent workflows, retailers can meet ever-growing customer expectations while reducing costs through smart workforce management solutions
IS THE CUSTOMER STILL KING?
The customer experience has its own lifecycle that, if not properly curated, can collapse at any time. With 60% of all customer service orders being handled through digital or web self-service channels
by 2023, an intuitive, high-functioning customer service portal is essential for successful customer interactions. Self-service portals are among the most valued service options, and field service management software (FSM) can enable retail businesses to manage the customer journey to deliver the best service. A dynamic customer portal can act as a solution to strengthen the customer relationship by creating demand that generates an improvement in customer loyalty and strengthens brand loyalty.
Traditionally, customers with a problem contact the vendor either in person, by phone, or online. The customer's service journey is then handled by the retailer, contracted out to field service technicians or the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). However, by 2022, about 85% of customer service interactions will at least start with self-service. Customer portals are convenient and allow customers to engage with a vendor from any location, any digital device, and at any time. Customers can use the portal to check the timing of their requests, view warranty information and get other status updates in real time. By integrating an accessible customer portal, a vendor can maintain a robust function in the interaction between customer and retail, and convey positive brand awareness.
MORE SALES, THANKS TO STRONG CUSTOMER AFTERCARE
As customers have more control over their own demands via customer portals, retailers can take the opportunity to target them in a whole new way. Upselling and cross-selling are critical strategies in retail to build long-term financial profitability. This enables retailers to keep prices low to maintain a competitive advantage. Once a customer is in the company's portal, the ability to engage them goes beyond 'simple' service and can be translated into sales opportunities. With Field Service Management Software
, brand awareness and purchase intent can be increased through tailored ads for each consumer based on their specific buying and consumption patterns. Brand loyalty is fostered thanks to special offers, product upgrades, add-ons, extended warranties and matching new technologies that customers see directly in the portal when they process their enquiry.
By implementing field service management software that can efficiently handle service requests and provide enhanced engagement and sales opportunities, retail can meet customer expectations while increasing personal sales, revenue and customer satisfaction. Loyal customers are up to five times more likely to do business with the company again in this way, which can lead to a 40% increase in revenue. Expanding Field Service Management into a secondary sales platform helps grow the business and support customers. Alongside this, it enables retailers to invest in new business initiatives while keeping customers happy.
MORE ANALYSIS OPPORTUNITIES, BETTER STRATEGIES
As businesses with online sales platforms and customer portals grow in size and frequency, retailers must be prepared to keep up with customer demand. Effective workforce management enables retailers to provide powerful on-site service and increase its efficiency through field service management software. These digital tools provide actionable data analytics to track business performance, implement continuous improvement initiatives and drive better decision making. Companies can improve service operations, optimise forecasting and planning, and enhance collaboration with third-party vendors to optimise the end-to-end customer experience.
Open communication between field engineers, OEMs, retailers and customers is necessary to cement an effective and transparent link between service and (customer) expectations. Digital dashboards enable the conversation to happen instantly, track key performance indicators (KPIs) and allow companies to manage strategies quickly and in real time.
Retail giants such as John Lewis and Partners, B and Q, and Marks and Spencer rely on field management software to seamlessly integrate workflows between retailers, manufacturers and service partners. The analytics functionality of digital workforce tools can take the business to a higher level in both sales and service. Retailers can make improved forecasts and plan for the future by examining trend analysis and basing demand on capacity forecasts. With this knowledge, they can better account for sales spikes and identify areas where costs can be reduced. Thus, thanks to field service management, they can optimise planning and save on operational and service costs.
INCREASE BRAND VISIBILITY AND IMPROVE PERCEPTION
With the right field service management software, retailers can leverage uniquely comprehensive customer portals to enhance their competitive advantage. Meeting customers' high expectations for reliability and simplicity of digital service increases customer retention and brand loyalty, leading to an overall increase in brand value and driving both sales and growth. Digital tools not only support the customer's service journey, but also open up visibility of business processes and workforce management approaches between retailers, OEMs and third-party suppliers to ensure efficient and excellent production and service.