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This article is an extract from the Summer Edition of MER Magazine published in May 2019. You can read the full article as well as other articles from MER for free by visiting digital.mailandexpressreview.com.

MER speaks to Nick Manolis, CEO of Escher Group who explains why technology is the way forward for postal operators wanting to catch up with consumer expectations.

Why is customer engagement so important for business?

People today want to be recognised as more than just a transaction. We want to feel like our business is valued and appreciated. A product is no longer assessed based on its features alone and a service is not regarded as merely transactional. Organisations are valued based on the entire experience and how they engage with their customers. There is a very strong correlation between high customer engagement and a company’s ability to create and sustain repeat customers. A customer engagement platform that enables the postal operator to provide a great customer experience across all channels is at the core of the matter.

We now live in an age where customers have options and expectations. A vanilla transaction will no longer cut it. There has been a massive shift in the weight placed on the customer experience and customer engagement. E-commerce and consumer retailers have spent a lot of time and money on customer interaction, using data and customising each interaction. Each experience is positive and nearly flawless every time. This is the standard set by today’s innovative retail leaders by which all retailers are judged. When an experience does not live up to this standard, customers will take their business elsewhere.

Why is customer engagement so important for our sector in particular?

People want options beyond visiting their local Post Office and when they do visit the Post Office, they expect the same digital services they would get in a consumer retail environment. This means no lines, the ability to use self-service kiosks, and employees leveraging line-buster technology to move people through quicker, to name a few.

Despite their best intentions, posts will continue to struggle with delivering on any promise of a great customer experience if they are unable to engage with customers anywhere and anytime, across all channels, for all services they provide. It’s that simple. Customer engagement is driving the industry and to survive, all retailers — posts included — are dependent on how well and how effectively they engage with their customers.

Do posts still need help engaging with customers?

Yes, posts need help transforming into customercentric organisations. We see our most innovative post customers driving strategies that allow them to engage with their customers on the customer’s terms — across any device and in convenient locations — and they are able to do this with a variable cost of engagement. Posts can’t continue to expect their customers to
come to them on the posts’ terms, in a single, fixed location, the Post Office. With today’s digitally savvy, always-on consumer, accustomed to multi-channel retail engagement and real-time service, technology is the only way posts can catch up with consumer expectations.

Competitive retailers are setting the standard by investing heavily in technology that enables consistent, unique interactions from anywhere. Most postal organisations are not as advanced in their customer engagement strategy and most do not have the technical infrastructure in place to extend postal services — third-party locations, leveraging mobile technology, or spinning up new PickUP DropOff (PUDO) locations — things that allow them to provide a better experience while engaging their customers anywhere, anytime.

Forward-thinking posts should additionally consider two other drivers that support improved customer engagement. The first is the ability to offer a multitude of services outside of traditional posts, offering to create new revenue streams from services their customers might demand (i.e. convenient PUDO locations other than the local Post Office). Secondly, posts must be enabled to offer these services in a more cost-effective way, without all of the fixed cost of a retail Post Office carrier…

This article is an extract from the Summer Edition of MER Magazine published in May 2019. You can read the full article as well as other articles from MER for free by visiting digital.mailandexpressreview.com.

Escher are proudly sponsoring the World Mail & Express (WMX) Europe Conference 2019. WMX Europe is taking place at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland (17 – 19 June 2019). Visit www.wmxeurope.com for more information