The Customer Is The Channel

The customer-centric blog of Linc Global

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New Feature Alert: Automated Assistance for BOPIS

As today’s savvy consumer becomes more demanding for the personalized customer experience, one thing is clear-  buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) is here to stay. For many retailers, BOPIS can be a struggle as it means mastering how to provide the customer with what they order online when they need it in store.  Many times, this process comes down to automated assistance and how well your tools work for you.

Creating the right customer experience with BOPIS comes down to the below best practices:

  1. Automate your process as much as possible. Utilize online virtual assistants and chatbots to communicate order processing, availability, and order information.  Kiosks can authenticate customer identity before they arrive at the pickup counter. GPS systems can alert associates on the arrival of a BOPIS customer.
  2. Over-communicate. When a customer places a BOPIS order, send an immediate confirmation. Include clear directions, when the order will be ready, where to pick up in-store, and what forms of identification are required.
  3. Evaluate your tools and systems.  The success of BOPIS fully depends on inventory visibility.  If you don’t have strong visibility into the availability of items, then your customers won’t either, which makes BOPIS a painful strategy.
  4. Evaluate your procedures. Set up reporting to provide quick insight into the ROI of your BOPIS offering and trend information that may highlight any areas that need additional attention. Hire secret shoppers who can determine whether associates are following established safeguards and delivering on BOPIS’ promise of convenience.

At Linc, our clients have realized the need to automate the BOPIS process as a way to provide a holistic and differentiated customer experience.  By implementing this feature as part of the customer care solution, they are further able to give their customers the experience they want, thus turning one-time shoppers into lifetime buyers.

BOPIS

We’re very excited to have launched this option for our clients. This means even more shoppers can get the products they need when they want them while allowing brands the opportunity to create a 1:1 customer experience. Please let us know if you’d like to discuss in detail - and learn why leading brands are implementing this new feature.

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Designing a Customer Experience Strategy for Conversational Commerce

When you master conversational commerce, you’ll deliver experiences that make your customers feel as if you hired a personal assistant to help each of them.  There are several key strategies, smart brands need to think about as they go about creating their conversational commerce strategy. Don’t Forget The Data If conversational commerce is the new paradigm of customer experience, data is the engine that drives all those delightful interactions across touchpoints. Your customers are creating data every time they click, swipe, and like --it’s up to you to find it, analyze it and use it to inform customer engagement. Nordstrom, for example, uses sensors and Wi-Fi to track who comes to the store, wherein the store they shop, and how long they stay. They also incentivize their Nordstrom’s credit card and rewards program to gather data about their clients. Target is also known for its data-collecting. 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Look at service-oriented features, such as notification capability and on-demand service and support capabilities, to guide the customer journey. Don’t just focus on the “Checkout.” The main benefit of service-oriented conversational channel offerings is the ability to organically drive usage into new channels. For example, a customer might place an order on your website and learn that she can subscribe to order status updates through Facebook Messenger. What she sees as taking advantage of a perk will benefit you by encouraging her toward a channel where your chatbot can take over. ChatBots are best for organic conversations with common use cases, but also provide a sense of personalization and convenience for the shopper. Customer service should be your core use for this technology to start. Be Prepared For Bot-to-Human Handoffs The great thing about a conversation handled over text or Messenger is that the customer doesn’t have to know when they might be switching from a bot to a human. Bot design in the future will focus on what they can do, knowing what they can’t do, and designing a bridge to employee assistance that feels seamless to the customer. It’s not just the customer that will be helped by the bot, but the employee. It will provide faster information and better analytics in real time, perhaps then parsing information to pass on to the consumer. The most important aspect of innovation is convenience for the shopper. They should never have to explain their request twice. Start Simple and Grow to Brand Management You can start with bots as a single voice in the chorus of messages from your brand. The long term will have bots as representatives of your entire brand, managing relationships with your customers. You can start conversational commerce, however, with just a single entry point. You can get your customers used to interacting with you on the same channels they use to chat with their friends. You can piggyback on the culture of quick and informal communication, but be ready to meet their expectations for highly personal and meaningful results. If your bot can’t meet that expectation, your customer could walk away disappointed or annoyed. As the technology improves, and it is, even as we write this, you’ll be able to put more and more of your brand management in the hands of the bots. Authentication Giving your bot a way to confirm the customer’s identity is key to a truly intelligent communication that can leverage data from across your other channels. If this isn’t done right, your bot will see each customer as a stranger, negating the opportunity to provide personalized service. Focus On Concepts Rather Than Solutions Your customers might be on Kik today but head over to Facebook Messenger tomorrow. Focusing on the concepts of conversational commerce rather than today’s hottest medium will help you keep your sanity and provide an agile approach that can be applied to meet your customers wherever they migrate. Try not to get bogged down with the details of how to build for one particular channel, and look instead to use-cases. You can learn more about conversational commerce and engaging your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using automated conversational commerce strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page.