What is Conversational Intelligence?
Conversational intelligence is a powerful tool that can help organizations gain a deeper understanding of customer interactions. Read more about what ...
The Team at CallMiner
April 27, 2018
Every year post-holiday analysis shows there are some significant challenges at play in the retail sector and it will most likely continue in the same vein with cost pressures intensifying. Several of our most recent assignments have allowed both customer and operational improvements in parallel with cost reduction – combining these views can magnify the benefits and bring the customer and cost lenses together in stereo. Let us share a few more details.
The dust has now settled after a hectic Christmas trading period where there were some clear winners and losers. Peak trading re-enforced some themes that have been emerging for some time and who the winners are this year will depend very largely on how retailers respond to these challenges:
The traditional middle-market department stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser continue to struggle – is the proposition still valid in a market where breadth of choice and competitive pricing is delivered more effectively online?
The top-end bricks and mortar stores such as John Lewis continue to struggle with margins performance – good sales growth but heavy discounting to compete with online (64% of retailers discounted goods at Christmas)
The grocery market continues to be a battleground driven by price – the discounters continue to grow share and increasingly customer satisfaction, whilst the big 4 rely on discounting to secure sales growth
So as the major retailers embark on cost reduction programmes targeted at establishing lower cost operating models (HQ staff cuts, store rationalisation, increased self-service and reduced store staff) does this have to be at the expense of delivering great customer service and is the customer contact centre next in the sights?
Cost reduction can play an important part in business streamlining or even at more critical times of business survival. If this is at the expense of customer service, customer lifetime value or delivering the brand promise, then this can be a short-sighted view. Ensuring the customer lens is superimposed on the business remains important and is arguably more critical in a climate of cost reduction.
So how can a customer contact centre balance cost reduction whilst delivering a great customer experience? In our view there are a number of ways:
A service centre that successfully adds significantly to increased order values, repeat purchases or additional referrals and recommendations can be far more valuable than reducing headcount. The critical part of this equation is to review all the facts with hard data and reach a balanced view and perspective.
A ’cost cutting agenda’ for the customer management operation need not deliver a reduced or inferior service, nor a reduction in the overall quality. It can be good for the customer, the business and even your CV!
Within Ember, we have some of the most talented professionals in the industry and would enjoy understanding your challenges in this area and exploring how we can help you succeed. The team is available to provide support and guidance on any of these matters, so for a no-obligation chat with our in-house experts, contact us now.