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Customers Still Want the In-Person Customer Experience How to Capitalize on it

Customer Service

How can you make the customer experience better? It’s pretty simple actually…talk to your customers.

While the digital experience is important due to the rise of social media shopping and interaction, new research has found that putting extra effort into the personal touch – phone or face-to-face contact – is more successful at making the customer experience memorable and increasing sales.

Almost two-thirds of customers say they spend or invest more in products and services after they’ve had personal contact with someone at the company, according to research from BookingBug. And 50% said that being able to speak with a service or sales professional when issues arise is critical in making the decision. Plain and simple, when customers talk to someone, rather than corresponding through email or social media, they are likely to become a loyal fan.

It’s important to build both a competent digital experience and a feel-good personal experience. “By closely following customers along their dynamic journey between digital and physical worlds, businesses will engage more effectively, build trust with customers and ultimately drive increased revenue,” says Glenn Shoosmith, CEO of BookingBug.

How can you bridge the digital and personal experience?

Make your people accessible – online and on the retail floor. Customers still want to gather as much information as possible on their own…from your website, on social media, and by reading online reviews. But eventually, many of them will want to talk to or meet with a service or sales professional. Make that as easy as possible by adding the ability to schedule an appointment to every page on your website and on your social pages. And know your busiest shopping times so you have ample sales staff available. There’s nothing more frustrating than walking around a store hunting for an associate to answer your questions.

Customer service

Know their experiences. When customers get in touch with you, the service or sales professional should have an idea of what the customer has already experienced. Businesses can use tracking software to better understand what customers are interested in and the processes they have already gone through to handle their issue. Once they’ve asked to talk or meet, review what’s already been done, ask what questions they have, and move forward with information targeted at the needs they’ve shared.

Be prepared. The most important aspect of a personal customer experience is knowledge. Customers routinely give top ratings to experiences when the person they work with can answer everything they need answered – or, at least, know where to find answers and respond with them quickly. You can do this by providing ongoing training for all staff members so they stay on top of developments on your products, services, uses, technology and industry.

Managers also have the responsibility of understanding and managing workloads across all teams. Knowledge of their team’s attendance and performance trends, including nonproductive hours and overtime, can empower retail managers to become more successful in responding to workforce challenges, addressing individual employee needs, and building stronger customer relationships.

Keep in touch the right way. Just because customers have a personal interaction doesn’t mean they want to continue communicating that way. Make sure you ask how a customer wants to continue to receive information, handle follow-up or be contacted in the future. You’ll likely want to keep in touch with customers after calls or visits, but you’ll want to do that on their terms.

Great customer experiences lead to loyal fans and repeat business. In order to achieve this, brands need to invest in educating employees and making sure all members of the team are focused on positive customer interactions – whether that is digitally or in-person. Take care of your team and they will take care of you and your brand.


Nap In A Mattress Store?


Retailers are trying to take things to the next level – innovation is key, that’s for sure. I recently came across an article listing 10 innovative ideas to keep customers coming back for more. They revolve, of course, on making the customer journey easy and fun.


I think my favorite is from New York based Coco-Mat, whose premise is that “customers are hardly ever offered an exciting shopping experience or the chance to learn if something really suits their needs, before they buy it.” To that end, they’ve created a nap room where customers can try out the bed while they take a nap. According to their website, it’s quite the experience:


Nappers are also offered a complimentary pair of COCO-MAT slippers and access to a private full bathroom, a stereo and LCD TV within the nap chamber. Couples are welcome too.

You can wake up and have a freshly brewed espresso while our sales staff answers your questions. There is no obligation to purchase anything, but it’s the best way to experience our mattresses, pillows, duvets and linens in private.


Two other ideas from the list make life easier for shoppers. The first is a mobile app that allows customers to skip the checkout lines. This mobile app works with the store’s POS system, allowing customers to scan items as they are shopping. At the end of their experience, they enter a passcode, swipe their credit card, and show their receipt to the employee as they are leaving.


Finally, for those who dislike clothes shopping as much as I do, there is an app for that. This app is designed for men (but hopefully expanded to include those women who aren’t fans of shopping) to scan a pair of jeans they’re interested in, and it will help them locate their size and have them delivered to the fitting room to be tried on. It eliminates the need to wade through racks of clothing looking for the right size and speeds up the entire process. The jeans can be purchased on the mobile device. Yep, it’s that easy.


Retailers are doing what they can to stay one step ahead of the competition and to offer products and services to make customers’ lives easier. You can read the entire list of innovative retail ideas and share your thoughts below.