Around 86% of retailers are dealing with hiring and staffing issues for customer-facing positions as they gear up for the holiday season, revealed a survey by Verint. With the holiday shopping season around the corner, the report sheds light on significant challenges and prospects in customer engagement, especially in labor shortages.
Half of these retailers (50%) are struggling to find qualified individuals for in-store roles, while 30% are facing difficulties in filling positions in their contact centers and back offices.
Labor-related problems go beyond just hiring customer-facing staff, with 34% of retailers admitting that they lack sufficient Human Resources (HR) personnel to handle the numerous job vacancies that need to be filled.
“Retailers need strategies that provide rich customer engagement and fill the gaps that exist due to labor shortages. By providing in-channel automation through bots, private messaging, and self-service options through knowledge and community forums, it can lessen the demands and the workloads of human agents. Leveraging customer experience automation also lowers the cost to serve and creates a more seamless experience for customers,” said Jenni Palocsik, Vice President, Marketing Insights, Experience and Enablement, Verint.
Given the ongoing labor scarcity, automation is crucial in supporting modern digital customer engagement, especially in the retail sector, where customer experience is paramount. In fact, 55% of individuals in director-level positions or higher see chatbots as a vital component of their customer engagement strategy, marking a 10-point increase from last year's survey.
Capterra's recent survey also highlights the important role of automation, as retailers are gearing up with new AI-powered strategies to boost profit.
Data is collected but not used appropriately
The survey reveals that retailers acknowledge the importance of gathering customer feedback to gain insights into buyer behavior and enhance customer service, but there is room for improvement in applying these insights.
In the coming year, retailers plan to concentrate their efforts on enhancing customer service and engagement through their in-store and/or mobile app channels.
However, when it comes to using customer feedback effectively, there is room for improvement. Only 56% of retailers collecting feedback from digital channel interactions believe they are leveraging these insights very effectively to improve the digital customer experience. Similarly, only 54% of retailers selling products in physical stores and gathering feedback from in-store visits feel they effectively use these insights to enhance the in-store customer experience.
The need for omni-channel data connection
While customers interact with retailers through various channels, many retailers face challenges in sharing customer data across these channels to support seamless omni-channel engagement. Among retailers who do connect customer data across some digital channels, only 22% are highly effective in using these insights to enhance both their digital channel and in-store experiences.
However, retailers that seamlessly connect customer data across all engagement channels are over three times more likely to effectively use these insights to improve their digital channel experiences. According to the study, these retailers excel in leveraging insights to enhance in-store experiences (73%) and digital channel experiences (75%).
In other news, Verint has launched the Verint Personal Identifiable Information (PII) Redaction Bot, allowing organizations to automate compliance, minimize risk, and protect sensitive customer data, including credit card and social security numbers and date of birth.