Retail trends move quickly, but one that has staying power, and for good reason, is a focus on customer experience (CX). One major pillar for CX in 2019 is the link between personalization and engagement rates. Industry groups including the National Retail Federation found that this year brands are prioritizing “both the online and in-store shopping experiences and increasing the frequency of engagement with customers.” Retail banks are focused on similar goals as 2019 is forecasted to be a year that banks roll out “personalization — at scale — for each individual at the right time, and with the right message,” according to the Financial Brand.
While brands have talked about the opportunity to win customers over through more personalized customer service, the stakes are high, and now is the time to get it right. According to recent Gartner research, 81% of marketers say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX by 2020. And while CX often falls under the marketing umbrella, analysts agree that maximum customer benefit will only be achievable when all departments collaborate on efforts. This means everyone from sales to store operations to CIOs need to work together to implement the policies and tools that will drive exceptional experiences and foster a sense of brand loyalty.
An easy way to optimize engagement through all phases of the customer relationship is through intelligent appointment scheduling, letting your customer decide when and where they’d like to engage with your brand, while ensuring the right resources, equipped with the right data – such as location preferences, sizes, or previous purchase history – are properly prepared.
What’s the Link Between Appointment Scheduling and CX?
In today’s diverse marketplace, consumer demands are driving industry initiatives ranging from experiential events and hands-on demos to try-before-you-buy services. Consumers also expect more personalized service during everyday encounters, even if just browsing. The problem is that too many consumers leave a retailer or financial institution feeling unsatisfied.
TimeTrade’s recent research, What Buyers Want: The State of the B2C Buyer Experience found that 50% of consumers indicate that they “always” or “frequently” have difficulty getting assistance from a knowledgeable associate in a timely manner. That results in lost sales and a missed loyalty opportunity as 74% of those customers will leave without making a purchase.
As brands seek to create personalization opportunities that go beyond simple marketing emails or discounts, online appointment scheduling becomes a critical way to stand out and deliver the experience customers expect. It provides retailers the opportunity to jump into the customer journey at the moment the customer has a question or wants to learn more and ensures the right person is providing assistance. In addition, it puts customers in the driver’s seat deciding when and where to schedule a call or in-person visit.
What pushes customers to make positive brand decisions? 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. And we know that these highly customized experiences, from personal shoppers, to DIY classes, to investment advice, requires quite a bit of coordination and scheduling behind the scenes so customers enjoy a seamless experience throughout the process.
Who Wants to Schedule an Appointment?
The majority of consumers are open to the idea of easy appointment scheduling and many are downright enthusiastic. On average 83% of consumers are “likely” or “very likely” to schedule an appointment with a company they may buy from. Here’s the breakdown across B2C buyers on the likelihood of scheduling a live meeting or in-store appointment.
|Technology products + services:||84%|
|Personal shopping services:||69%|
|Real estate services:||88%|
What Are the Right Channels to Enable for Online Scheduling?
In short, all of them. Solutions like TimeTrade enable click-to-schedule links to be included within any number of marketing channels – from web sites, to email campaigns, to social, even Google search results.
Ready to get started on the road to a better customer experience? Schedule a demo with one of our solution specialists.