There seems to be a 💔 Love-Hate relationship with big box stores and their customers. Chatting with my friends and colleagues, almost everyone has a story about the big box stores they frequent, and a frustrating shopping experience. 🔥 🔥 🔥
They really appreciated the selection and staff, and at the same time, they wished it was easier to shop there. Sometimes they just weren't up for the challenge of "walking the floor" to find what they needed.
I created a LinkedIn Poll to see how widespread this experience was and how Big Box retail chains could improve their shopping experience. Here's what I found out.
How can big box chains resolve these issues to deliver exceptional customer service without increasing their labor budgets?
Big box stores have become a staple in the retail industry, offering a wide selection of products to customers. However, customer service challenges often hinder the overall shopping experience, leading to customer frustration and lost sales. Let’s explore some common challenges faced by big box store customers and propose strategies to resolve these issues while optimizing associate efficiency - without increasing labor budgets.
Challenge 1: Hard to find items customers want:
90% of customer help requests are "Where can I find . . . ".
Best strategy to resolve this is to implement a customer service app accessible with QR codes placed in every aisle. Customers can "self-serve" to easily find the item they are looking for. Natural Language Processing (NLP) coupled with AI can identify the item's location and point the customer to the appropriate aisle. Customers don't have to wander aimlessly looking for items. Store associates aren't constantly interrupted to help customers find what they are looking for. Both customer satisfaction and staff efficiency goes up. Stores stop losing sales due to items not found.
Challenge 2: Difficulty finding associates for assistance
49% of customers polled struggled to find store associates
When customers can't easily find an associate, they may get frustrated and leave. According to the poll results, this happens much more often than you would think.
To address this challenge, big box stores can incorporate a customer associate service request feature within their customer service app. Customers can choose their preferred communication method, such as instant chat, phone call, or even video calling for remote stock checks. AI technology can connect customer requests to the appropriate department, streamlining the assistance process.
This takes a huge load off the Customer Service Help Desk as they no longer have to manually direct service requests. It reduces wait times at the Help Desk for service, improves accessibility to store associates on the floor, enhancing overall productivity.
Challenge 3: Inadequate staff knowledge
28% of customers polled struggled to get answers to their questions
When customers find an associate, they expect them to be knowledgeable and able to provide accurate information. According to the poll results, this is often not the case.
To address this challenge, big box stores can implement immediate feedback mechanisms to gather customer insights after service interactions. Leveraging AI, stores can identify areas where associates may require additional training.
AI-powered intelligent associate training paths can be created to deliver personalized, ongoing training on an as-needed basis. This approach gives customers the answers they need, empowers associates, and reduces the burden on managers when customer service requests are escalated.
By the very nature of their large footprints with great selection, Big box stores face unique customer service challenges that can impact choices customers make about where they shop.
By leveraging communication, NLP and AI technology these challenges can be easily resolved. Customer service apps accessed with QR codes provide an easy way for customers to find items and access knowledgeable store associates.
Real-time feedback after customer service experiences highlight customer service issues for immediate resolution. Intelligent training paths enhance staff knowledge to ensure that customers receive the assistance they need, without having to speak with multiple team members.
With these easy to implement strategies, big box stores can deliver exceptional customer service while increasing efficiency and optimizing labor budgets.
If you would like find out more about the Drive CX customizable customer service app and how to leverage this technology in your retail big box stores, book a demo with me.