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City West Hotel (Dublin) hosted the Retail In Ireland Live event on the 13th of September. This event, co-located with the 4th Annual Food and Drink Conference and Exhibition, brought together over 200 speakers and over 1,000 leading retailers from sectors such as grocery, department stores, electronics, DIY, wholesaling and more. It is the leading retail conference & exhibition in Ireland.

Pat Keogh, Arema Connect’ Managing Director, took part in this event as a speaker. He presented ‘The Value of Outsourcing Customer Experience’ through 3 case studies. If you missed the presentation, don’t worry. We have created this post to give an insight of the key points. If you have any questions, get in touch!

As you are all aware, the retail and the Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries have seen a massive structural change over the last decade. It’s moved from being dominated by physical-local shops to a world of online options. While physical shops will not disappear from the landscape they will have to compete with national and international online competitors with a lower cost base. One way to stand out in such a market place is by providing an extraordinary customer experience (CX) that attracts customers online & offline and convert them to be brand advocates.  To achieve this and increase your exporting volumes you must focus on the human touch and a personalized approach. This will make all the difference for the national and international customer.

Through three case studies, Pat Keogh illustrated the value of the human touch approach in the process and how it increases overall customer satisfaction.

FDIRE17 Pat Keogh presentation Arema Connect Managing director

The first case study focused on customer engagement. The second one described a product recall scenario and the third one provided insight into a loyalty program scenario.

Case Study 1: Customer Engagement

Our client is an American online retailer that exports its products to Europe and Australia. Their products are designed in America where their headquarters are located, manufactured in China and distributed using multiple logistics specialists in the EMEA. The key challenge is their seasonality. 90% of their sales revenue takes place in the 4th quarter and before Christmas.

Call Volume Sample

The key challenges that they face are related to the seasonal nature of their business. Their sales peak starts on Black Friday and doubles in volume until five days before Christmas. Therefore they need to ramp up support in recruitment, training, quality monitoring and overall customer support for this period. They also need to provide customer support 24 by 7 due to the nature of online shopping and the different time zones that they trade in.

Case study 1 results customer engagement

All of this needs to be put into place before the forecasted peak (Black Friday). There are a lot of theories regarding the origin of Black Friday, it started back in the 1940s. Some say that the day’s name was coined in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by its exasperated police force, apparently in reference to the heavy traffic flow and crowded streets they had to deal with the day after Thanksgiving. It most commonly believed that it is when retailers go from being in the red to the black i.e. profiting from the massive sales generated the day after Thanksgiving. It really gained pace in Ireland in 2014.

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday. The term “Cyber Monday” was created by marketing companies to persuade people to shop online. The term was coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman of Sales hit an all time high of $3.45 billion in 2016 {Forbes} and last year Irish consumers spent in the range of €50 million online in just 24 hours. {Irish Times}

Case Study 2: Product Recall

Our client is a wholesaler with over 1200 stores in Ireland and the UK. We provide them with multiple different services; however, initially, we provided them with a product recall service. In this case study, I will present you with the recall process of a product from stores nationwide. (Batches dated 22nd of May).

case Study 2 product recall services provided

The product recall was activated at 12.30, we quickly sent a text message to all stores at 12.40pm and this was followed by a team meeting where agents were briefed on the process. Following the agreed script, our agents performed the first round of calls at 1.15pm. When the message was delivered, the stores were marked as completed and removed from the list. At 3.20pm a second call was performed following the same steps. Finally, shops that failed to answer the first and second call where phoned for the third time. A detailed report was sent to our clients by 5.15pm informing of the steps taken and comments from the shops as appropriated. In conclusion, all shops were contacted by e-mail and 97% of them by phone in less than 24 hours as agreed by our service level. A detailed report was sent to our clients’ management team.


Case Study 3: Customer Loyalty

The final case study talks about brand/store loyalty. The benefits of having a loyalty program are compelling. First of all, it’s cost effective. The ultimate goal is to have loyal buyers as a repeat buyer has a lower acquisition cost. According to Forbes, keeping an existing customer is seven times less expensive than acquiring a new one. Secondly, it helps increase sales. A small percentage of your loyal customers represent a large chunk of your sales. According to the 2016 Bond Loyalty Report, 73% of members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs.

Our client has a loyalty program that allows buyers to earn points and rewards after each purchase. I am sure many of you have similar loyalty programs in your companies. It is a great opportunity to learn more about buyers, provide segmented marketing campaigns, and take logistic and merchandising decisions. A part of all the business insight, it also helps to build brand loyalty if your customer service team is outstanding. A program loyalty from a customer perspective is based on three key elements: registration process, earning and using points/rewards and ongoing support.

As an example, I want to provide you a sample of the type of enquiries received by our team in relation to our client’s loyalty programme. The first e-mail (below) was received on the 10th of August

‘I recently changed home and I would like to update my address because so I can receive vouchers’.

This brings us a positive customer experience opportunity. Our agent replied

‘Thanks for providing us with the information. I have updated the information provided. Here is a list of the closest shops of your new location. I have included a discount voucher <<>> so you can celebrate in style’

Information was updated successfully, buyer had information about their new area and an excuse was provided to the buyer to visit one of the stores. Additionally, she posted a short but effective message in Facebook which was shared and commented by multiple users.

Social Media message customer feedback loyalty programme

Through these three case studies, we have demonstrated the importance of the human touch in customer experience. Having the appropriated team ready to work when it is needed and with the right attitude can transform any situation in a positive one. It doesn’t matter if it an important date such as black Friday, a product recall or a small enquiry for your loyalty program team.