Service Must Beat the Bot-Standard

Must brick & mortar adapt to survive?
Does a bear &*$!! in the woods?

It’s become obvious to all of us in physical retail that we must plan new strategies in order to succeed. Unlike our proverbial bear, we cannot afford to hibernate through the winter.

Physical retail has some intrinsic advantages that are key to the current and future success of brick and mortar. Namely the tangible customer experience of the physical environment and those who serve within. 

It was with this in mind that I came across “5 Ways Chatbots Can Enhance Customer Experience And Increase Sales In Retail by Compliant IA”

Of course, this piece is more aligned with e-commerce but it makes one think. Perhaps the passion for perfection seen in tech is something physical retail must learn from. 

The article recognizes that chat-bots are designed using the following principles to better the online customer experience: 

  1. They give customers control, by answering questions in real-time as if it were a conversation. They mimic the traditional role of the store associate.
  2.  They promote the brand message by communicating a persona, using the brand tone to announce promotions, sales, and discounts. It’s a new skin on tried and trusted in-store promoters and brand ambassadors.

These are distinctly human-like qualities, amiright? 

Smart move, world. It’s widely accepted that people feel comfortable dealing with trustworthy people. Many hours of development go into ensuring bots feel like a natural point of contact- into making them appear more like a helpful human. Surely this is something we actual humans should have down pat.

But do we?

Humans have excellent ‘people’ software- but we all need an update every now and then. Are our store associates trained to not only attain but exceed the bot-standard, in order to keep physical retail’s intrinsic advantage? Can they not only answer questions quickly but actively listen to customers- responding to changing circumstances, unexpected needs or wants? Do they know enough about their products to tailor their offerings? 

Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to empower store teams. 

That’s because the pursuit of tech perfection is also present in retail-analytics.

More specifically, solutions uniquely focused on in-store interactions can lead to improved individual service quality, as well as free up staff to do what they’re really uniquely poised for.

The best solution will give you insights that help you understand your engagements. That way you’ll know when training is needed so that all staff are exceeding bot-standard and reaching their full person-potential.

Your insights must also help you to schedule your staff better. For example, you should receive updates on changing high traffic times, so that you can always ensure there is enough time for the customer per staff member. This way no customer will have to settle for a “We’ll get back to your message as soon as possible.”

Those of us in physical retail have to be better than the bot. It’s our personal connections that prove we’re human- more than a traffic light reCAPTCHA test ever can.

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