Retail and Consumer Goods

Going from call-taking to money-making: Using contact centers to drive retail growth

Genesis M Longo

By Génesis Longo

0 min read

Using Contact Centers Drive Retail Growth

In today’s crowded retail market, the customer is in charge. How can brands come out on top, build loyalty, and drive growth? It all comes down to great service.

In a recent Talkdesk webinar, VP of Retail and Consumer Goods Shannon Flanagan, and Steve Rowen, managing partner for Retail Systems Research (RSR), share valuable insights on why it’s more important than ever for retailers to recover the lost art of driving growth through great customer experience (CX) and modern contact centers.

In this conversation, three main topics were covered:

  • How CX has become a great differentiator for retailers.
  • What are organizational inhibitors, and how to overcome them.
  • Why investing in the right technology is key to walking the walk.

Read more below, or watch the full webinar to hear it yourself.

Driving Growth Through Great Service


RSR Presents—Driving growth through great service: The lost art

Retailers must prioritize CX to drive retail growth.

A retailer’s business model is simple: deliver great products and provide amazing service. Why does it seem like the service portion is often left behind? Shannon and Steve say that’s about to change. With retail increasingly shifting into the online space and customers facing an embarrassment of choices, CX has become the great differentiator.

When today’s customers talk about good service, they’re referring to a retailer’s ability to resolve a problem on first contact—and this ability has become the number-one driver of customer loyalty.

Numeric representation (in percentage) of customer expectations

Recently, outcomes began to shift dramatically. Steve explains that just five years ago when asked which three commerce metrics they would like to improve over the next 18 months, retailers chose increasing average order value (AOV) as their top priority.

Graph representing retailers cx priorities for the next 12-18 months

But the latest report, shown in the image above, indicates that improving customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) jumped to the top of the list of what keeps retail leaders up at night. In other words, according to Steve, they can see the writing on the wall: “The knowledge is there; now it’s about execution.”

The rub? Budgets are often insufficient to face this challenge. When it comes to investing in technology that can help retailers boost CSAT and NPS, there’s a real disconnect between intentions and actions. Steve concurs that it can be challenging to get leaders to “invest in the things their better angels are telling them to do.”

Did the pandemic have a silver lining for retailers?

Steve goes on to explain how RSR divides its reports into four sections, using the BOOT acronym: Business challenges, Opportunities, Organizational inhibitors, and Technology enablers. The “O” portion (self-identifying the internal issues that hinder progress) is one of the trickiest parts of this exercise for retailers. Facing organizational inhibitors can be a touchy subject. Finger-pointing and siloing are frustratingly common.

However, the pandemic might just have done retailers a favor. Steve notes that with the sudden focus on survival over all else, people rolled up their sleeves and started “stitching together some pretty customer-focused concepts” they probably wouldn’t have enacted otherwise.

It also caused a lot of “my team, your team” thinking to break down in favor of a more brand-oriented approach. And Steve believes that’s exactly what’s needed to restore the lost art of great service. It requires top-level commitment, interdepartmental cooperation, and a holistic understanding of a company’s shared common goal.

The image below shows that increased CSAT is directly correlated to revenue gains, making it an imperative for retailers. The concept that service is expensive is a common misnomer—bad service is what costs companies money.

Numeric representation (in percentage) of the relationship between retailers' customer satisfaction and revenue

Talkdesk works to help retailers through this transition, helping them understand that their contact center agents are brand ambassadors. “Anyone who engages with your customers has the power and should be enabled to drive that road,” says Shannon.

How to turn contact centers into money-makers.

If the ability to resolve conflicts is the main driver of brand loyalty, retailers need to think of CX as a sales tool. In the webinar, Shannon explains how partnering with vendors like Talkdesk can convert contact centers into vectors to drive retail growth.

Investments in this type of customer-facing technology are essential for brands that want to not just talk the talk but walk the walk of great service. For instance, the Talkdesk Retail Experience Cloud® is an AI-powered system that unifies the CX journey across digital and physical channels to help retailers drive brand loyalty and customer lifetime value (CLV).

Today’s customers face a proliferation of choices, and can essentially find the products they want anywhere. But studies have shown that having so many options can actually feel overwhelming to consumers.

As Shannon points out, this is actually a huge sales opportunity for retailers. Through investment in technology and data, smart companies will be able to say that not only their service is the differentiator, but it is how they can help people navigate so many choices.

Retailers can then empower their agents to help customers understand their options and make informed decisions through personalized experiences. And, as Steve notes, once customers receive great service, your NPS increases, profit margins improve, and return rates decline. That drives NPS up even further.

The retail business was flipped on its head by the pandemic. As Steve says, “the only thing we can be really certain of at this point is more uncertainty.” However, one thing that’s here to stay: customers, not retailers, are in charge now. To be successful, companies need to leverage the potential of AI and modern contact centers to drive retail growth and be the backbone of their strategies and digital transformation roadmaps. For additional insights on how to drive growth through great service, watch the full webinar on-demand or read the white paper Retail customer service in 2022: An issue of fundamentals.


Genesis M Longo

Génesis Longo

Génesis Miranda Longo is the head of industry marketing for retail and consumer goods. A Mexican immigrant and Cornell University grad, Génesis has spent most of her life in food, grocery, and CPG. In recent years, she has worked as a social media creator for well-known brands. Apart from work, Génesis loves cooking spicy food with her husband, increasing diversity in tech and higher education, and spending way too much on her dog, Sunny.