Why AU retailers must offer exceptional customer service experiences in 2022

Aussie retailers must offer exceptional customer service & customer experiences in 2022 satisfy new consumer demands & compete online & instore. Must-read >
min read
Aaron Blackman
CEO & Founder
Retail Express
November 2, 2022
Aaron Blackman
CEO & Founder
Retail Express
November 2, 2022

Table of contents

Exceptional customer service (and experiences) in retail is a new obsession for Aussies and Kiwis. Sure, some savvy businesses have been ahead of the curve, but we often fall way behind our enthusiastic EU and US counterparts. Even “Have a nice day” seemed a bit un-Australian, not long ago. 

Fast forward to recent times, and after delighting in the joys of international shopping (think Amazon and Net-A-Porter), local consumer expectations have changed. A lot. They’ve decided that this eager-to-please customer service is rather nice, thanks very much.

More to the point, they’re especially enjoying positive ‘customer experiences’. 

Cue the following: “They had all my data so my purchase was somehow magically completed in seconds” “Everything was intuitive and automated”. “Refunds were a breeze”. “The courier was there to pick up the return in minutes...”.  

And the current Aussie clanger: “I ordered this product from the other side of the world, and it got here the next day — with a personalised note — and a loyalty discount code! I’m still waiting for my local order placed three weeks ago to arrive.”  

Come on, Aussies! 

Need even more inspo on delivering great customer experiences? Read: Ultimate Customer Experience Examples & Actionable Tips for Every ANZ Retailer

So local shoppers have developed a taste for international brands offering winning customer experiences. But now, Aussie retailers must keep up in this hypercompetitive environment. Unless they seriously think about what makes good customer service and experiences, they won’t get their share of the pie (with or without tomato sauce).

Australia’s retailbiz amplifies the same message, saying new research from global provider of workforce management solutions, Humanforce, shows that “73% of Australian consumers say a positive experience in-store is even more important to them now than it was prior to the pandemic.” 

What's more, a whopping 79% of consumers said they would not or might not remain loyal to a retailer if they received poor customer service.

In this article, we’ll show you what’s needed to embrace both these terms to drive sales and improve customer retention for your retail business.

TIP: Customer experiences are so much better with great point-of-sale software. To show you how, Retail Express offer free customised demonstrations. We’ll ask questions and listen to your needs, then tailor a demo specifically for your business. Get a free demo today with an Australian-based retail expert today.

First, let’s have a look at these two similar terms.

What is exceptional customer service in retail?

Exceptional ‘customer service’ is about going out of your way — being unconditional in your commitment to helping the customer. It’s about the salesperson doing everything in your power to offer the best possible retail product or service to your customer. But if asking someone ‘how would you define exceptional customer service?’ Keep in mind that it involves human interaction, whereas customer experience is beyond that.

What is an exceptional customer experience in retail?

Exceptional retail ‘customer experience’ is where the customer has an outstanding or ‘exceptionally’ positive experience at every touchpoint (sales channel). Customer experience is the new kid on the block, a trending term in the retail community. It involves much more than the relationship with the salesperson; it’s the whole shebang. Customer experience is the customer’s entire experience with the retail company. Consequently, it forms their view of the brand and the likelihood of their ongoing loyalty. 

Notably, ‘customer experience’ is trending because consumer demands in retail have now fundamentally changed — especially since Covid. Consumers are now more emotionally focused, and care about personalisation, connections, relationships and affiliations with brands. And all these things contribute to exceptional retail customer experiences.

Like to know more? Read  'Redefining The Post-Covid Retail Customer Experience With Innovation, Connection & Relationships'

Retail customers now demand exceptional customer experiences

Retail customers are now also demanding an omnichannel experience, where they can interact with your brand through several integrated touchpoints before purchasing. For example, they interact with a salesperson in a store, visit the online shop, follow them on social media, or live chat with a salesperson. And from start to finish, they want a seamless, positive experience.

How do we deliver an exceptional retail customer experience?

Delivering customer service

Let’s look at this in simple terms. 

Delivering customer service: Customer service can be delivered by good management that communicates to staff the rules around brand ethos, customer care and etiquette. It requires staff training, encouraging empathic listeners and a strong focus on problem-solving — for example, prioritising solution-focused retail staff at every point of sale touchpoint. Plus, it needs an obsession with minimising wait time.

Delivering customer experience: This requires the above customer service activities. But additionally, it must involve integrating all touchpoints (sales channels) to improve the retail customer’s user experience. Fortunately, the right retail POS software can automate processes to allow this to happen. When you integrate all systems, it’s a lot easier to develop a great customer experience (and stellar sales increases), particular in three areas:

  1. Enhanced customer loyalty
  2. Enhanced customer satisfaction
  3. Positive reviews and better word-of-mouth marketing

Customer experience metrics{Understanding valuable customer experience metrics}

Experiences can be subjective things. So when assessing customer experience, industry professionals often boil it down to just 2 points:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Asking customers on a scale from 0 to 10, how likely would they recommend the product or retail company
  • Time to Resolution (TTR): The average amount of time it takes to resolve an issue or ticket after it’s been opened by the customer

Creating this coveted retail customer experience involves listening to the customer and regularly collecting, analysing and acting on customer feedback. It’s also about minimising wait times — along with minimising any friction solving your customers’ problems.

Ask yourself: how easy is it for customers to find what they want, place an order, collect goods, input their payment details, choose their preferred delivery method, place an enquiry and receive feedback, deliver a return, speak to a human being, be treated like a human being?

These are just some of the issues you must prioritise to provide excellent customer service and a great customer experience.

Turn your customer experiences into profitable business growth{7 ways the right software can turn your retail customer experiences into profitable business growth}

Retailers need intelligent retail POS software to turn these positive customer experiences into profitable business growth. Intelligent POS software enables every touchpoint to be managed and optimised for the best possible retail customer experience. 

Book a free live demo of Retail Express’ industry-leading POS software with one of our retail experts today. You’ll learn how you can meet your customers’ increasing demands for a better customer experience and drive valuable sales both online and in-store.

Creating this coveted customer experience involves listening to the customer and regularly collecting, analysing  – and acting on customer feedback. It’s about minimising wait times – and minimising any friction solving your customers’ problems.

endless aisles maximise sales and customer choice

Here’s how our POS software can help.

1. Centralise multi-store fulfilment & stock-

You can significantly improve the customer experience by centralising multi-store fulfilment and stock. This omnichannel approach will allow more stock to be visible at each touchpoint, satisfying retail shoppers and increasing sales. 

By using powerful retail inventory software, you can make all purchasing, stock control and fulfilment easier — and save countless hours of admin. Store replenishment will be automated, so you’ll always have the right amount of stock at the right time, at the right place. So there’s less disappointment and more happy customers.

Plus, if an item is out of stock in-store, shoppers don’t have to drive around town to check other stores. Shop staff at the physical store can access the POS system, revealing real-time stock visibility to access the item at another channel. They can then organise delivery, either to the customer’s home or a nearby store for curbside pickup or Click and Collect. It’s another way of providing a better customer experience.

“The advanced features of Retail Express slash the unnecessary admin hours our store and warehouse teams were wasting on phone calls, while allowing our customers to get an accurate, (and usually faster) ETA. This is going to be central to our competitiveness – especially as we expand stores.”

 – Corey Davison, National Operations Manager, Johnny’s Furniture

2. Make deliveries and transfers easier— with more options-

Today’s new retail consumer wants choice. For example, online customers may prefer mail delivery or Click and Collect. In-store shoppers may need you to perform a warehouse pickup, inter-store transfer or make a special order or preorder from suppliers. Your store staff may need to quickly find a product closest to the customer. An online customer may want to walk in-store to return or exchange a product. With powerful point of sale software, all this is possible.

smarter shipping and fulfilment with Retail Express POS software

3. Reward loyalty-

Every human being — every customer — loves a perk or discount. So by rewarding customer loyalty, you not only improve the customer experience but increase revenue. And this is why loyalty programs are an excellent customer retention strategy.

Retail Express’ loyalty tools make it easy to attract and reward customers with various personalised marketing and loyalty campaigns. And they can all be carried out either online or in-store using our intelligent POS software.

Retail Express’ software allows you to create buyer behaviour reports, segment customer promotional groups, create profiles and surveys and send automated emails and SMS campaigns based on certain spend levels. You’ll love the functionality, and your customers will love the personalisation and perks.

personalised marketing campaigns to maximise customer lifetime

4. Create targeted emails-

Personalised email marketing is an excellent way to improve brand experience by giving retail customers what they actually want. Rather than a one size fits all blanket email, you now have the software to create emails based on their previous purchases and preferences. 

For example, suppose you’ve just bought a pair of hiking shoes. Would you prefer an email from the brand promoting hiking shoes you now have — or a personalised email promoting socks, shoe protectors and different coloured laces? 

With clever software, you can target your emails appropriately so you can delight your customers, not annoy them.

Software such as ActiveCampaign seamlessly integrates with Retail Express’ POS software and takes things even further. Put simply, it brilliantly automates the customer experience. For example, it can automate personalised emails and SMS campaigns for every touchpoint of the customer journey, which is a game-changer for maximising engagement and conversions. It automatically builds profile databases and segments audiences — dynamically updated in real-time, and has a host of in-store surveys and CRM features of Retail Express.

“Until you’ve seen and tried Retail Express you have no idea of what you’re missing out on with your current system.” — Corey Davison, Johnny’s Furniture

5. Keep customers informed-

A positive customer experience doesn't end once they've placed the order. Retailers should display their commitment  by staying connected with the customer. For example, they could keep them informed via order confirmations, delivery status updates and post-delivery follow-ups, such as surveys or requests for reviews/customer testimonials.

Shippit is just one delivery and fulfilment app that integrates with Retail Express and allows easy shipping and delivery (without double handling). It also provides real-time tracking status updates and notifications to customers. It’s another vital way to stay connected and develop trust with your customer.

fulfil retail orders faster by streamlining back-office operations

6. Provide flexible payment options-

The aim of the game is to make sales as easy as possible, so give shoppers as much choice as possible. Deep POS software will allow customers to combine multiple payment types and offer flexible payment options such as Buy Now Pay Later, and lay-buys.

7. Valuable reporting-

Accurate analytics and reporting software will give you actionable insight into your business. It can give you complete visibility into your finances, sales performances, customer analytics, product reports, inventory and supply chain and much more. You’ll have the insight to upsell or cross-sell products to increase basket size accurately. And, they’ll all be in user-friendly formats that are easy to understand and put to use. So it’ll be a lot easier to decide what works, what doesn’t and how to serve your customers better.

“Customers are demanding a seamless shopping experience, which requires smooth transitions between channels. To meet this demand, incumbent retailers must reinvent their operations and rapidly create and stabilise (sic) any new channels, services, and experience tools. Digital and technology must become central to the business to enable this reinvention.” – McKinsey

“If not now, when?” (Next steps)-

According to leading global management consulting firm McKinsey, traditional retailers that are yet to use digital technology as part of their core business still have the opportunity to do so. But today, says McKinsey, the question is, “If not now, when?”

If you haven’t created an omnichannel strategy for your retail business, the time to do so is now.

Retail Express offers powerful, flexible point-of-sale software that can handle complexities. It offers a supportive omnichannel solution that provides an unbeatable balance of features, simplicity and affordability. 

Book a free live demo with one of our retail experts today and learn how you can optimise all touchpoints for a better customer experience and profitable business growth.  

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