Since spring 2020, digital customer interactions have changed forever. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses adapted to lockdowns and closures in innovative ways. Now, even as commerce is returning to "normal" in many parts of the world, there are many tools and adaptations developed during the pandemic that have proven to be a more convenient, efficient, and customer friendly way of doing business. Here are some practices that we believe should stay:
- Offering customers the option to preschedule appointments and choose between virtual and physical meetings
For businesses with brick-and-mortar locations such as retail businesses and banks, let's face it: no one wants to go back to the pre-pandemic experience of crowded parking lots, packed lobbies, and long lines. Not only do these situations create unnecessary stress and exposure to seasonal flus, it's also not time-efficient for customers or staff.
Prescheduling an appointment gives customers the ability to avoid large crowds and get a more relaxed, personalized experience. By also offering the option of doing a virtual appointment using video, customers can choose what's most convenient for them, making the experience even more tailored to their individual needs.
- Managing in-store traffic more efficiently
The benefits of prescheduling appointments aren't just for the customers; retailers and in-store employees can reap the benefits of appointment scheduling, too. This tool allows them to stay in control of the volume of visitors each day, ensuring staffing levels match the customer demand. Having a video-based customer service option also creates the opportunity for more productivity, efficiency, and flexibility for employees. Video meetings can be taken from anywhere, allow for more meetings to be scheduled in a shorter period of time.
- Keeping employees informed and prepared
Employees will feel much more at ease knowing they are serving one customer at a time. With an appointment scheduling software in place, not only can businesses run their customer interactions in a more organized way, they can also provide customer-facing employees with more visibility into who they're serving, and why. By using pre-scheduled appointments, store clerks or customer success representatives know exactly what the appointment is about and can tailor and personalize the experience.
- Driving smarter, more accurate insights
It's highly likely that appointment scheduling and virtual interactions will drive data-driven decision making in the long term. While an unknown customer walking into a store or a bank isn't as likely to give the business much (if any) insight into measurable information about the experience, digital tools make this a built-in part of the interaction. Appointment scheduling and video meetings allow businesses to gather and compare data about customer needs, frequency of visits before making a purchase, the success of different channels, and how this all leads to customer satisfaction and retention. Ultimately, this leads to more personalized customer engagement, happier customers, and higher revenues.