Tough times for retailers means customer service is back in fashion

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A new survey from management system provider Signavio has found that customer satisfaction levels have risen across all industry sectors, with retail continuing to be the strongest performing of all sectors with a score of 82.1. The data comes from the July 2018 Customer Satisfaction Index.

British retailers have faced significant challenges recently, as the UK’s high street saw over 6,000 shop closures in the last year alone, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down as customers increasingly opt to shop online. To combat dwindling high street sales and compete against online rivals, high street retailers are under pressure to deliver a single brand experience to customers across multiple channels.

In the age of the customer, with renewed emphasis on the customer journey, retailers need to align their processes to make sure they can deliver according to changing customer expectations, warn business process management experts Signavio.

Mark Holenstein, COO for Signavio, commented: “Being customer-centric is so much more than good in-store service. It requires a focused and insightful consumer experience, from the first customer point of contact through the purchasing process and beyond. We already know consumers appreciate a coherent, cross-channel customer journey that integrates online and offline offers. But what does this actually look like for the brands themselves when it comes to delivering a seamless service, and how can it actually be achieved? Attention needs to be drawn to the processes involved and how these can connect the dots across the customer journey.

“For example, a Click & Collect service only adds value if the ordered goods can be picked up promptly and the customers do not need additional routes to the store. This only works if the corresponding internal processes overlap and are aligned to a coherent customer journey. Retailers need to shift away from an approach aimed at cutting costs, and instead look towards cutting down waste and inefficiency.

“In the age of same day delivery, back-end processes including packaging, invoicing and arranging delivery need to be not only quick, but also seamlessly aligned with each other to ensure a quick turn-around matching customer demands.

“To understand customer needs and the ideal customer journey, it is important to have a holistic view of the entire organisation and operations. It is not until the company processes are synchronised behind the scenes and aligned with the customer experience that an excellent service at every contact point of the customer journey is actually conceivable.”