Five ways to innovate retail customer service in 2016

By Chelsea Larsson

Published January 26, 2016
Last modified January 26, 2016

Clothing that’s one-size-fits-all never really fits. The same goes for one-size-fits-all customer service solutions. Whether it’s live chat, voice support, or self-service, consumers have strong preferences for how they receive support. And they want retailers to provide a good fit.

In 2016, retailers will face enormous pressure to build customer relationships across a wide range of channels. But instead of looking at this as a challenge, treat it like an opportunity for innovation. Over the next few months, we’ll share tips for innovating retail customer service experiences in 2016 including:

  1. Building strong customer relationships: Regardless of the channel or industry, customer service must be effortless to leave your customers happy. The first step in providing innovate customer service is to build a foundation of strong customer relationships. For that, you need to have the basics of customer service. From there, innovation is easy and your imagination is the only limit.
  2. Scanning the horizon—the future of retail customer service: The future is now and retail customers are ready. A 2015 survey by Walker and Sands revealed that 66 percent of consumers are interested in virtual shopping—shopping via a VR device like Oculus Rift. Also, 88 percent of consumers would trust drones with delivery of certain products. What’s in store for customer service in this brave new world? Industry experts reveal their predictions.
  3. Embedded support on mobile and beyond: 68 percent of U.S. consumers shop online at least once per month, up from 62 percent a year ago, and 28 percent make web purchases at least once a week. Much of this is done on mobile phones, making mobile support key to the success of any online retailer.
  4. Knowing your customers—leaning on user data to connect on the right channels: The online retailers that will succeed this year will be those that know customer preferences. Innovative retailers such as Everlane and All Beauty share customer stories about live chat, messaging, and voice support.
  5. Investing in internal support: A business is only as strong as the people who support it. Predictive analytics can help your see where your employees need better internal support.

Zendesk supports innovative retailers. Learn more about what's in store for the future of commerce.