Building a new relationship with customers, because they deserve better
Let’s be frank; civility doesn’t necessarily come together with the re-emergence from long periods of social isolation and staying at home. Some people seem to forget their manners and empathy when they interact with others face to face again. You may even come across stories going viral in the media as frontline staff get frustrated with appalling customer behaviour more often these days.
Do not expect life after lockdown to be fine and dandy and for everything to run smoothly. It doesn’t. Supply chains are still being disrupted, causing domino-effect delays across industries. The labour shortage is still an issue due to business and country-specific policies. People are still finding their feet as the world accepts living with covid-19, and this new reality demands a different way of doing things and new relationships with customers.
So, what can brands do about this? The first thing is to increase understanding between the business and customers in the most convenient fashion. Digital transformation and adoption accelerated during the pandemic, and the ease that technology brings to connectivity should translate into how the business converse with its customers.
Surveys are one way of finding out what the customers are thinking, but not the boring and unoriginal surveys of two years ago. They felt outdated and impersonal, and now, they most certainly deserve to be ditched. Customers deserve better. They deserve a more fluid and engaging concept, like those reinvented by Critizr, Europe’s leading customer interaction management platform.
Critizr Connection provides an intuitive experience by adapting to all customer touchpoints, optimizing for mobile and tablets, and set up for real-time conversations. There are more than 20 channels for customers to send feedback in the format of a suggested improvement, problem raising, question posing, or — heavens forbid! — giving a compliment. For example, customers can engage via email or SMS triggered after a visit or purchase, in a chat bubble on the website, interacting via Google Business Messages or by scanning a QR code on a receipt. Customers can even choose to chat directly with the local store team via text or whatsapp. Meaning brands can quite literally be right in their customers pockets.
*WhatsApp has just been added to the catalogue of integrated channels.
The ease of contacting a business and sharing thoughts and feelings might reduce in-store friction. Think about it. The business can be proactive in removing possible triggering pain points by figuring out their customers’ needs and wants. In addition, customers know they can reach the business and be heard through various other channels without bottling up resentments and then taking them out on staff — that is if they decide to visit the store at all.
Any company’s personal touch may be rusty or have been relegated to the back burner as stores try to keep safe working environments amid increased visitor numbers yet fewer staff on the shop floor. However, businesses can ensure great employee experiences and customer experiences, primarily when the technology exists to help them. Human interactions, enabled by technology, is the real sweet-spot for retailers looking to future-proof their businesses.
Failing to digitize in these respects can be the last nail in the coffin for the business. If the store is not equipped with the right tools, it would be challenging to maintain customer and staff loyalty in a world moving towards omnichannel connectivity, hyper-personalization, and real-time resolution.
As the garden centre group Blue Diamond found out, investing in the best tools to support staff and customer interaction can be a game-changer. After implementing the Critizr platform, its average monthly customer relationship score rose to 4.28 out of 5 in a single month in June 2021, and the business recorded a much higher-than-average net promoter score (NPS).
“Going from simple webforms for our customer feedback to enabling a 360° view of customer interactions has completely transformed our business. It’s helped us to look at customer issues in a more holistic way, something we’ve never been able to do before,” said Peter Gibbons, group operations manager at Blue Diamond which has 37 garden centres across the UK.
“It has made a difference to our customer relationships. They are now much more personal and relevant on a one-to-one level. No one likes taking criticism […] either professionally or personally, but there’s a suitable time and place for it. No matter what, we must understand what our customers are saying about us and act on this, and the Critizr platform allows us to do that,” he said.
“It’s enabled us to improve our operational processes as it ‘tidies up’ the data and reminds you to follow up on things we used to forget. It has helped transform how we view customers, but it’s also changed the store manager’s perception. Corrective actions have already been taken due to insights we’ve received via the platform. Even something as small as the toilet soaps need refilling, which means we can be made aware of these issues immediately and rectify them efficiently.”
Gibbons mentioned that the store managers have fully embraced Critizr and even shared their store statistics and feedback on notice boards and other branches, creating a little healthy competition between shop managers.
“It’s also now clear to see that the centers that have embraced the platform are the ones who are at the top of the customer satisfaction leaderboards, which shows how well it’s working,” he observed.
Digitalization doesn’t mean removing the human touch, it strengthens it because (whether you like it or not) digital is the most common and convenient way for people to reach out to one another, in many cases. As long as humans are at the end of the digital “conduit”, as shop floor workers and store managers are with the Critizr platform, customers respond brilliantly. Critizr has shown that customer interaction can be enhanced via greater accessibility and personalization, better connections, and clearer feedback & responses. Businesses can step up a customer-centric approach to the next level: customer obsession.
Critizr Connection was established in 2012 and is currently used by more than 60,000 business owners, including big companies like Carrefour, Intermarché, and Domino’s. Book a free demo to see how Critizr can work wonders for your customers too.