How CPaaS helps retailers rebuild their customer journeys - Image by Slash RTC from Pixabay Retailers used to lead the way in the omnichannel experience, but they’ve struggled to evolve with new customer communication channels. They now need to be active across many channels like WhatsApp, in-app or RCS messaging to speak to their customers. To create a consistent and memorable experience, these communication channels also need to complement and synergise with each other.

Even though retailers know the value of this omnichannel approach, the technical difficulties (no, really) often leave them with ineffective communication siloes. More and more brands, though, are looking towards Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) to bring their customer communications together and optimise their customers’ journeys – and rightfully so.

Attracting and engaging customers

Obviously, attracting customers and driving sales will always be top priorities for retailers. To this end, retail marketing tech stacks have gradually built up and scaled over time, adding more and more comms channels along with the required tech and infrastructure to support. This isn’t uncommon in the world of IT: tech stacks grow and grow, but it’s rare that things are ever taken away. What causes the issue from a communications perspective is these new features, like in-app messaging, are built in siloes and not well integrated with other channels. This results in a disjointed view of customers and have difficulties controlling campaigns over multiple platforms. The result? Poor personalisation, if any at all. And with impersonal shopping experiences frustrating 71% of consumers, it pays for brands to be consistent.

A CPaaS solution can give retailers what they need to easily set up communications services without much technical know-how. This is thanks to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These give developers various Plug and Play communication  services, from reminders and real-time alerts to decrease abandoned carts to boost traffic with limited-time promo codes. CPaaS solutions provide a single unified platform for these different communications, removing siloes and making it far easier to add new features.  The upshot is brands can reach and engage customers across their preferred channels, thereby increasing potential sales opportunities – a win-win situation.

Optimising the customer experience

CPaaS solutions can also uncover hidden opportunities to improve the customer experience post-purchase. The uses aren’t complicated, like payment notifications,  changes in order status or order invoices. However, this means operations have to be visible in real-time, and systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and the communications platforms need to be on the same page. Businesses can use APIs to plug the necessary communication services directly into their websites or ERP systems, so that everything’s always in sync.

When done right, those using these communication channels can build valuable relationships with customers. For example, emailing customers with alternatives to a returned item or gifting them a complementary product after a purchase can make a difference in their experience. The CPaaS platform can also be leveraged to produce campaign performance insights and customer engagement reports to create even more unique and positive brand interactions. Beyond the opportunity to upsell to returning customers, improving the customer experience through improved communications has untold value for retailers. After all, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience, according to PwC.

Redefining customer support

Finally, a CPaaS platform lets retailers expand and sharpen their customer support toolkit to really separate themselves from the pack. What’s really important here is communicating with customers via their favourite channel or the best one based on their needs. Since 55% of customers regularly use at least three different customer service channels, there is not only a need to offer great support across a range of channels but to be able to seamlessly switch between them without losing sight of the customer. Using automated communication channels can also help solve problems faster, for example, implementing delivery notifications can reduce inbound order queries. Additionally, many customers are increasingly happy to use emerging technologies such as chatbots and interactive voice response (actually, 62% of consumers would prefer to use a customer service bot rather than wait for human agents to answer their requests).

With a CPaaS solution powering customer service communications, its easy to offer a range of communications services, from chatbots to voice calls. It’s also easier to integrate this more seamlessly into the customer experience (thanks to APIs). For example, rather than funnel customers from an app  to a contact webpage and then to a customer service phone line and an endless wait alongside monotonous music that everyone’s familiar with, retailers using CPaaS can easily plug in-app voice calls to save their users the pain. They can also smoothly integrate these calls with other features like chatbots to add even more support for customers. Customers can use these first and then switch to a voice call if needed – all without exiting the app. When set up the right way, this gives customer support teams the optics they need to quickly solve any issues and make the experience seamless.

The idea of an omnichannel customer journey is here to stay across an entire range of industries. But many retailers have struggled to quickly adapt to recent changes because of technical limitations and communication siloes. With CPaaS, though, companies now have a cloud-based tool to make up lost ground. If they get this right, they’ll boost their sales, reduce their customer churn rates, and make their brands stand out across more channels than ever before. So, what are they waiting for?

bicsAs a leading communications platform company, BICS is connecting the world by creating reliable and secure mobile experiences anytime, anywhere. BICS is a global voice carrier and the leading provider of mobile data services worldwide. Our solutions are essential for supporting the modern lifestyle of today’s device-hungry consumer – from global mobile connectivity, seamless roaming experiences, fraud prevention and authentication, to global messaging and the Internet of Things. BICS is headquartered in Brussels, with a strong presence in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Middle East.


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