Interactive Experiences to Dominate the Retail Industry, New Report Reveals

Talkdesk has released a new report which offers a view into top retail industry priorities for customer service and reveals common roadblocks to exceptional experiences.

The report titled The Future of Retail Customer Service: Interactive and Unified shows that boosting revenue is one of the main drivers for customer service investments, especially during the current economic uncertainty.

One trend that is likely to put brands back on the right track is focusing on interactive experiences through voice-based AI, livestream video, or next-generation channels like the metaverse.

"For too long, many brands have deprioritized differentiation through service. What is promising to see is the pivot from cost reduction being a top consideration for CX investments. Instead, brands now understand the strategic importance of engaging service experiences as a way to drive growth and retention. While they’re committed to push beyond transactional and reactive customer service, their efforts are being stymied by talent and technology challenges. The latest Talkdesk Research highlights the shifts in priorities and demonstrates ways brands can reach their CX goals today,” said Shannon Flanagan, Vice President of Retail and Consumer Goods, Talkdesk.

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Interactive engagement across channels to keep customers loyal

The report suggests that, in order to build deeper customer relationships, brands need to invest in interactive engagement. According to the findings of the report, 41% of companies plan to invest in video chat and voice-based AI. In addition, 31% said they will invest in livestream video channels, like YouTube and Tiktok, for customer support.

When it comes to new and yet-to-be-explored channels like the metaverse, 24% of brands plan to deliver interactive engagement and support through augmented or virtual reality interactions in the next two years. Only 12% say they are already doing it today.

Once brands implement more interactive experiences, it is important to keep them connected throughout the customer journey. How can companies do so? By fully integrating channels and bridging gaps in data collection and use.

Worryingly, 86% of retailers describe their customer engagement channels as not fully integrated.On the other hand, half of surveyed retailers currently collect data from emails or social media, with data collection from texting at a much smaller percentage (35%). Yet, customer sentiment is only captured by 21% of retailers.

Fifty-seven percent of brands are not using any collected data to personalize future service interactions or marketing outreach, missing out on making progress towards building customer loyalty.

Consequences of customer-facing staff shortages

The Great Resignation has significantly affected retail attrition rates, with many survey participants citing this as the biggest hurdle to achieving their customer service ambitions.

To provide high-quality, engaging support to customers and offer meaningful career growth, retailers need to equip and empower staff.

Retailers are increasingly using nontraditional customer support channels, with 35% counting brand ambassadors and influencers (29%) among the resources available to customers for handling questions and service inquiries.

Consumers are already buying into this trend and 38% of surveyed retailers say their customers prefer brand ambassadors and influencers to serve as their go-to resource for service and support.