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Managing Rapid Change in the Retail CX Market

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CX in the Retail Industry is a new report from Dash Research that focuses on the current and future market issues, market drivers and barriers, and case studies within the retail CX/CE industry. This new report examines the robust and growing demand for the software platforms and tools that are enabling retailers to address a key pillar of their business: delighting and retaining their customers through a customer-centric approach to marketing, sales, and customer service.

Dash Research projects that the global market for CX/CE software and services in the retail industry will reach $10.9 billion by 2026, up from $5.9 billion in 2019, reflecting a 2019-2026 CAGR of 9%. The report and forecast also focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the retail industry’s response to a new way of doing business.

Disruptions to both customer-facing processes (shopping, purchasing, and returns), as well as operational processes (distribution, shipping, and employee/customer safety procedures) forced retailers to deploy new procedures and tools to ensure customers’ needs were met, or to accelerate existing plans to place more attention on a customer’s total experience with the retailer.

Retailers could not have responded to the pandemic if most of its workforce resisted the implementation of key changes. However, in less dire circumstances, resistance to change by employees, particularly if it involves changing the way one works, what metrics are used to measure success, or asking (or requiring) workers to “do more” without the promise of additional compensation, can be a major hurdle to providing good CX. Technology can be used to address or mitigate some of these concerns, particularly with respect to handling customer service issues, which often take the most time and effort to complete, particularly in a post-COVID-19 world. Some of the key strategies for using technology to help human reps who are averse to change include the following:

  • Ensure all associates can access customer data quickly and easily: Workers are more apt to address customer issues and needs if they are able to quickly access customer and service issues, without requiring the aid of a supervisor or a lengthy data-retrieval mission.
  • Support customer-centric approaches to CX: In light of the pandemic, smart retailers have learned to take a customer-centric, rather than a product-centric or services-centric, approach to marketing, selling, fulfillment, and service operations. Technology such as machine learning can be used to review and analyze customer feedback to understand customers’ wants, needs, points of frustration and anger, and positive experiences. These insights can then be used to reshape and refine the policies, procedures, and actions taken during customer interactions to improve customers’ experiences.
  • Understand what factors are driving service interactions: Technology can be used to track and analyze why and how customers are contacting or interacting with the retailer, allowing the retailer to allocate resources more efficiently.
  • Incorporate tech to enhance the customer’s service experience: Retail customers are rightfully skeptical that a service request or complaint is being handled, so technology and automation can be used to streamline the process, as well as provide confirmation that requests are being handled in a timely manner.

The near-immediate pivot to contactless delivery, curbside pickup, and designated shopping hours for seniors, among other tactics, generally occurred in organizations that quickly identified the situation, formulated a strategic plan, and then equipped their workers with the policies, procedures, and tools to carry out these plans. Many of these nimble organizations were able to accomplish these goals by quickly installing or leveraging new software platforms that were truly customer-focused, and incorporating operations and other departments that either directly or indirectly impact the customer’s overall interaction with the retailer.

The Dash Research CX in the Retail Industry report delves into the current issues impacting retail CX, and includes CX software and services forecasts segmented by geography, functional area, product offering, and visibility to the customer.

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