Retailers have been incredibly responsive to changes in consumer demand, supply chain availability, and store operations over the past two years.

In a short time, brands and retailers launched a variety of new services and customer experiences. These included options to buy-online-pickup-in-store, virtual appointments, flexible payment options, and livestream e-commerce. 

As a result, customer expectations for what makes a great digital experience have increased. In fact, more than 80% of B2B and B2C customers now believe the experience provided by a company is as important as its products or services

The greatest challenge now — for B2C and B2B businesses — is to keep up with customer expectations. Expectations of customers in both groups are converging in terms of speed, connectedness, and personalisation.

How can retailers harness technology and data to deliver a seamless customer experience and build relationships? Salesforce’s Global Head of Retail and Consumer Goods Industry Advisors, Matt Marcotte, shares his top tips:

 

Tip 1: Collect data at every customer touchpoint

Recommendations and personalisation are only as good as the data you collect and the accuracy of it.

Take every opportunity to ask your customers about their likes, wants, and desires at every touchpoint with the brand.

 

Tip 2: Let your brand’s personality shine

Whether it’s a promotion, limited quantities, or just reminding them to complete their purchase, it’s not just about sending the message. 

The tone of voice and approach makes people either want to engage with you or just ignore your message. Find creative, fun, and personal ways to engage customers.

 

Tip 3: Make sure customer service is 24/7

One of the biggest customer frustrations is not being able to get in touch with a brand when they need to. 

The right combination of self-service chatbots and customer service agents — with access to the customer’s data — is critical to ensure not only fast resolution of an issue, but also excellent customer experience. These types of engagements can make or break a brand and people’s willingness to continue buying from them.

 

Tip 4: Tap into social media feedback

Once brands see comments from customers, it is critical that they connect with that customer, deepen the relationship, and gather more information to inform their single source of truth. Just listening is not enough — customers want relationships with brands. Maximise every opportunity to build on that relationship through interaction.

 

Creating genuine customer connections

The brands that will experience the greatest success will be the ones that focus on:

  • Connected customers: responding at the speed the customer expects by using a unified platform and centralised data.
  • Connected stores: including virtual selling and engagement.
  • Connected employees: empowering team members through mobile, virtual service, and intelligence capabilities.

Together, these provide a seamless experience. It helps teams get smarter about their interactions with customers, and lets customers know you’re listening to them. 

The secret ingredient is a relentless focus on knowing your customer. It must be at the core of everything. Get this right, and you’ll serve the right product and message to the right customer, at the right time and place.

Learn more about how consumer brands and retailers can deliver seamless, personalised experiences in our ebook The Connected Customer Experience: A Guide for Retail and Consumer Goods Brands in ASEAN: