High stakes drive ecommerce toward service excellence

March 6, 2018 | Customer Experience | Blog


woman hopping

Retailers and etailers gain a competitive advantage with top-notch contact center provider

Spending during the 2017 holiday season totaled $108 billion, shattering records. It marked an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year and the largest jump in 12 years, according to a February report on Nasdaq.com.

Mobile platforms made up 52 percent of traffic to retail websites and a third of all online spending. Cyber Monday, which follows the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, recorded $6.6 billion in consumer spending and was the biggest U.S. shopping day ever, according to the Nasdaq article, “Ecommerce Outlook: Strong Holiday Season Launches a Great 2018.”

The National Retail Federation recently released its projections for 2018. Sales are expected to increase between 3.8 and 4.4 percent compared with 2017. Online and other non-store sales, which are included in the overall number, are expected to increase between 10 and 12 percent.

While consumer spending is strong, retailers and etailers must fight hard for their share of the consumer’s wallet, as is evidenced by the lists of major brands that closed stores last year. By the end of 2017, roughly 7,000 store closures had been announced. RadioShack, Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s, J. Crew, and Walmart are just a few large brands that shuttered physical locations.

This is just one of the effects of an increasingly competitive landscape, and all the more reason for retailers to seek opportunities for improving each point of the customer experience.

The price of not doing that is too high. According to a report by eMarketer Retail, some 50% of US consumers said they switched companies they buy from this year because of poor customer experience. That number is from the 13th annual Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research, which surveyed more than 25,000 consumers globally, including 2,000 in the US.

eMarketer notes that this amounts to “a whopping $756 billion this past year in lost retail and brand sales in the US alone.”

Key in the equation for excellent customer experience is a high-quality communications experience. “Complete visibility is imperative throughout any business, but none more so than a business’s contact center,” according to an article in Retail Touchpoints.

Being able to address and resolve any issues quickly and effectively will make or break customer relations.

“Often the initial—and sometimes only—touch point for customers, the contact center must be a shining example of high-quality communication, said Ron Lifton of NetScout. “Being able to address and resolve any issues quickly and effectively will make or break customer relations. For retailers, a high-quality communication experience will not only enhance existing consumer relationships, but will also entice new customers, driving revenue and boosting reputation.”

In order to achieve this, companies need a modern approach to contact center operations, one that provides a workforce of agents with a proven ability to deliver exceptional service without the usual overhead costs. Liveops offers a network of tens of thousands of domestic agents who aren’t limited by business hours or geography, allowing Liveops to source the most qualified people whenever they are needed. This drives flexibility at scale that transforms customer service.

Unmatched scalability

Liveops flexes to match clients’ needs—agents are available in half-hour blocks to support customers. This provides the flexibility and scalability necessary for seasonal spikes in the retail industry. By proactively planning for upcoming spikes, brands have exactly the workforce they need, when they need it.

Extend client brands with exceptional service

Liveops starts by sourcing the right agents, handpicked for reliability and the best customer service skills. Those top agents then select clients for which they want to provide service. This usually is because they already have an affinity for the brand or product. With access to agents who are the best fit for a particular brand, clients have ambassadors ready to promote their products.

Agents become qualified via the Liveops certification process that helps build skills for accountable, on-brand interactions. Agents become fluent in the brand dialect as well as systems and processes, allowing them to give customers above-and-beyond service.

Maximize revenue

Liveops drives revenue for clients because of the outstanding service its agents deliver. By articulating the value of clients’ products, agents actually generate more income per call through increased sales conversions, greater average order sizes and high customer satisfaction rates.

In fact, companies that choose Liveops consistently see a 15 to 33 percent increase in sales and customer satisfaction.

One Liveops agent, Nicole from Florida, said helping customers complete a sale is like “you’re their personal shopper.” Another Liveops agent, Patsy from Georgia, said she buys and uses the products she represents so she can give customers great answers to their questions.

Liveops’ workforce of agents are engaged and consistently deliver top-notch service, offering retail brands the perfect opportunity to earn the loyalty of retail customers who don’t feel like they’ve been treated well by other brands.

Assess your own contact center to determine how you stack up on flexibility and quality. Reach out to us to learn more about how Liveops can power your bottom line with retail customer service agents. You can also read more about improving customer service flexibility in our white paper, or how to handle customer service spikes with our webinar.

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Stephanie Stouck

Stephanie is director of solutions marketing at Liveops. She specializes in developing deep insights in the call center industry to create innovative solutions that maximize business agility and quality.

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