Building customer loyalty and enhancing associate interactions in retail

The "total experience" is on track for significant retail impact in 2024. It’s characterized by a combination of streamlined operations and increased engagement, enhanced customer loyalty and improved customer/associate interactions.

In the first two parts of our total experience series, we explored the role of Microsoft Dynamics 365 in managing challenges, such as supply chain variability, and examined Microsoft Dynamics Customer Insights’ impact in helping companies make data-driven decisions.

The final pieces of the puzzle are customer loyalty and associate interactions. Here's how Dynamics can help boost retention and improve retail service.

Staying the course: the role of consistency in retail retention

No customers, no business. It's the first rule of building a retail company — if people aren't making purchases, operations aren't sustainable.

This means retailers are always looking for new customers. From social media campaigns to first-purchase promotions and ongoing refinement of potential buyer personas, more customers mean more revenue.

The challenge? If businesses are losing current customers at the same rate they're gaining new ones, they'll never get ahead. And if customer churn outpaces acquisition, the result is a slow slide toward unsustainable operations. To stay on track, companies need to stay the course.

Consider the role of customer retention. While new customers mean new revenue, retained customers mean more revenue. Here's why: The chances of making a sale to an existing customer are between 60% and 70%. Meanwhile, for new customers, this number drops to 20%. In addition, capturing new customers is more costly.

Loyal buyers know your brand and are predisposed to make purchases. New customers must be brought on board through marketing, social and other campaigns. In practice, this means that the customer lifetime value (CLV) of retained customers is higher than that of new customers.

Associate/customer interactions play a large role in retention. While such factors as price and quality are also relevant — buyers will seek other options if you charge too much or products don't perform as intended — negative experiences are the quickest way to get customers to consider alternatives. According to recent research, 54% of customers will abandon brands after one bad experience.

As a result, companies must prioritize the customers they have and keep them coming back.

How Dynamics delivers on retention and interaction

Retention doesn't just happen. In the increasingly competitive world of retail, it's not enough to have great products at good prices. Instead, retention requires a series of intentional efforts on the part of retailers to ensure that customers get what they want — and want to come back.

Microsoft Dynamics Commerce provides a platform for strengthening customer relationships and enhancing retention strategies. This starts with Dynamics Customer Insights, which helps companies understand and predict customer behavior. Leveraging AI, Customer Insights can uncover patterns that predict customer churn, allowing retailers to identify customers at risk of switching brands and proactively engage with them before they leave.

The platform can also trigger alerts based on decreased customer interaction, create personalized reward options for loyalty programs, and craft compelling and timely emails that align with customer preferences.

Meanwhile, when it comes to improved associate/customer interaction, Microsoft 365 gives staff members real-time access to a customer's complete profile, including past purchases, preferences and wish lists. This allows associates to offer tailored product recommendations and provide in-depth assistance if customers have concerns.

In addition, contextual insights can help teams anticipate customer needs before problems arise, allowing them to reduce the customer churn rate.

Integrating Dynamic processes at scale: strategies for success

Three strategies can help companies apply Dynamics 365 to ongoing retention and interaction operations.

First, review your current loyalty strategies and customer feedback. Use Dynamics 365 to pinpoint behaviors and trends that signal loyalty and actions that may negatively impact satisfaction. Then, leverage Dynamics Customer Insights to create programs that reinforce positive experiences.

Next, use AI tools such as Copilot Sales to help create effective campaign emails and generate marketing templates. This reduces the time required to get campaigns underway and increases the likelihood of customer interaction.

Finally, bring your staff on board with regular Dynamics 365 Insights training sessions. By giving associates a chance to explore Dynamics' features and functions hands-on, they'll be better equipped to apply these solutions at scale.

Reinforcing retention and improving interaction

For retail companies to stay competitive and ensure they don't get left behind in 2024 — the year of the total experience — they need the right combination of tools, technologies and tactics. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps companies address all three of these needs — with AI for streamlined operations, analytics for improved personalization, and real-time insights for enhanced retention and customer interaction.

Total experience is changing the game. Make sure you're fielding your optimal team with Mazars and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

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The information provided here is for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, legal advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other competent advisers.

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