Why CX needs a human-centric approach | HCLTech

Why CX needs a human-centric approach

In an age where next-generation technologies are shaping the future of industry, are humans the future of customer experience?
11 minutes read
Jaydeep Saha
Jaydeep Saha
Global Reporter, HCLTech
11 minutes read
Why CX needs a human-centric approach

In this age of digital transformation and wide adoption of automation, is there a reversal of the self-checkout trend?

According to a report by The New York Times, a small chain that has sold groceries in England since 1847, recently announced that it would be getting rid of the self-checkouts in all but two of its 28 stores.

Booths said that having its employees interact with customers would provide a better experience. This is bucking a two-decade-old trend that has remade retail shopping around the world.

Booths’ decision follows a similar step taken by Wal-Mart in September. What’s driving this move to embracing the cashier, rather than a self-checkout?

HCLTech Trends and Insights explores the topic from a customer experience (CX) perspective and tried to find out why a human-centric approach to user experience (UX) plays a major role in any business.

Enhancing an analog approach

Building trust: The transition from self-checkout systems to human employees is driven by a desire to build trust. Human cashiers offer personalized assistance, prompt issue resolution and a sense of accountability, enhancing overall customer satisfaction and fostering trust in the shopping experience.

Equity and inclusivity: This strategic shift also aligns with principles of equity and inclusivity, acknowledging that customers have varying comfort levels with technology. By reintroducing human employees, retail stores aim to create a more inclusive environment, ensuring that everyone, regardless of technological proficiency, can access and enjoy the shopping experience without feeling excluded.

Accessibility for all: In terms of accessibility, human employees contribute significantly by helping those uncomfortable or unfamiliar with automated systems. This approach promotes a universally designed shopping experience, addressing diverse customer needs, abilities and technological backgrounds.

“I believe the transition from self-checkout systems to human employees is a deliberate move toward inclusivity and equitability in retail. Imagine a customer with color blindness struggling with a digital interface or another individual with a broken arm finding it challenging to navigate through a self-checkout process. By reintroducing human employees, we aim to address such scenarios, creating a shopping experience accessible to everyone, irrespective of their abilities or circumstances,” says Soham Dutta, UX analyst at a leading tech firm, speaking to HCLTech Trends and Insights.

“This commitment goes beyond mere service; it’s a dedication to crafting an environment where every customer, regardless of their unique situation, feels valued and accommodated,” he adds.

Optimizing CX metrics: The move toward human employees also has a positive impact on key CX metrics. It can potentially lead to higher customer retention rates as personalized interactions foster a stronger connection between customers and the store. Moreover, addressing issues promptly can reduce fall-off rates, ensuring a smoother and more satisfying transaction process.

Improving CX with HCLTech

HCLTech’s SAP CX practice empowers organizations to be innovative, agile and differentiate their offerings in the market, driving revenue creation and cost reduction. HCLTech offers a range of unique and rapid CX offerings, an innovative delivery method and a number of accelerators to enable a connected customer journey.

HCLTech’s view of SAP CX is platform-centric and this influences the approach to all CX services — be it a greenfield implementation, upgrade or migration to cloud, enhancements and support or consulting and advisory services.

Omnichannel commerce (platform): Omnichannel CX comprises personalized customer touchpoints across channels. The touchpoints are seamlessly integrated to allow customers to switch from one channel to another without starting the interaction afresh. This allows a customer's journey to start on one channel and end on another.

Enhancing human interactions with AI: Collaborating with a tech leader like HCLTech allows retail stores to elevate human interactions. By integrating HCLTech’s advanced customer engagement technologies, such as AI-driven chatbots or predictive analytics, human employees can provide even more personalized and efficient assistance, fostering trust and satisfaction.

“The integration of AI emerges as a powerful catalyst for elevating the human-centric retail approach. AI-driven technologies, such as personalized recommendation systems and predictive analytics, amplify the capabilities of human employees. This infusion of AI not only enhances customer interactions but also contributes to data-driven insights, enabling grocery stores to anticipate and exceed customer expectations,” says Sanjoy Ghosh, Executive Vice President, ERS at HCLTech.

Technological inclusion: HCLTech’s expertise in inclusive design and accessible technology can significantly contribute to ensuring that the transition to human employees caters to a diverse customer base. Through user-friendly interfaces and accessible digital solutions, HCLTech enhances equity and inclusivity, making the shopping experience welcoming for everyone.

Whether it’s through intuitive interfaces or assisted shopping applications, HCLTech enhances the overall accessibility of the shopping experience, ensuring that both tech-savvy and less tech-inclined customers feel comfortable.

Strategic collaboration for holistic transformation

From a customer’s perspective, partnering with HCLTech empowers retail stores to achieve a holistic transformation in UX and CX.

“By integrating advanced technologies with a human-centric approach, this collaboration ensures that technology serves to enhance, not replace, human interactions. The result is an optimized, inclusive and technologically advanced shopping experience that aligns with evolving customer expectations,” says Ghosh.

“HCLTech brings in its data analytics capabilities here that can be harnessed to understand customer behavior. By analyzing data, retail stores can tailor their services, anticipate customer needs and optimize the overall CX. This data-driven approach helps in improving customer satisfaction, retention rates and minimizing transaction falloffs,” he adds.

This strategic shift toward human employees reflects a balanced approach to UX and CX. It not only acknowledges the importance of technology like AI and data analytics, but also values the human touch, aiming to optimize customer satisfaction, retention rates and reduce fall-off rates for a more seamless and enjoyable shopping experience.

“I believe this strategic move also holds the potential to boost employment, creating meaningful roles for individuals in the workforce. Simultaneously, it addresses the affordability challenge for businesses, as the human-centric approach can streamline costs associated with maintaining complex automated systems. In embracing the balance between human touch and technological efficiency, we witness a transformative synergy that not only enhances CX metrics but also contributes to economic sustainability and job growth,” adds Dutta.

CX transformation in action

HCLTech’s client success stories narrate the solutions to the digital engagement needs of an organization across brands, geographies and business units.

For example, SPAR Hypermarket's B2C journey to an omnichannel transformation. SPAR operates a multi-format retail strategy with four distinct formats: SPAR, SPAR Express, EUROSPAR and INTERSPAR, each tailored to meet specific customer needs and markets.

The diverse landscape ranges from convenience stores to large hypermarkets. The transformation objectives included a rise in wallet share by extending to web and mobile solutions to loyal customers who spend 40-60% grocery budget with SPAR.

To achieve this, SPAR needed to implement scalable solutions to deliver the customer experience transformation. It selected HCLTech as a transformation partner who implemented SAP Hybris CEC B2C solutions in the SPAR Hypermarket in India.

The solutions included customer contact that managed organization and user management, search and browse that managed product content management, promotions and discounts (pricing management), shopping cart (cart functionality) and order fulfillment (order management, fulfilment and delivery), among others.

What worked for SPAR Hypermarket was the omnichannel experience for customers with seamless transition between store and web for loyalty programs, promotions and discounts introduced by HCLTech.

“Thanks to the entire HCLTech team for making this happen. The unique thing about this project was the feeling that one got: it was never a technology project but a business project. And we all worked as one team to achieve this. This would not have been possible without the support of all the HCLTech members and their contribution toward this journey,” said Sunil Nair, Sr. VP - Technology & Biz. Solutions, SPAR Hypermarket.

Among other benefits, HCLTech helped SPAR Hypermarket with new revenue channels through web store and mobile apps, optimized utilization of store inventory and infrastructure for better customer service and fulfilment, improved store operations with simplified pick pack and ship process and the avoidance of order and collection leakage with proper reconciliation functions.

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Simplify your CX through HCLTech X

HCLTech X is the ultimate engagement platform, enabling brands to define, design and adopt end-to-end content-to-commerce-to advocacy experiences for their consumers. It’s industry-agnostic and covers a wide range of industries.

“Implications of this strategic transformation through the reintroduction of human employees extends beyond retail. This human-centric approach, fostering trust and inclusivity, has the potential to reshape industries far beyond grocery stores. Imagine personalized assistance not only at the checkout but in banking, finance, insurance, capital markets, e-gaming and beyond. By prioritizing the human touch, we can revolutionize the entire service landscape, creating a ripple effect that transcends sectors, enhancing CX and redefining the way businesses interact with their clients,” mentions Dutta.

This unique platform empowers users with seamless real-time publishing and authoring experiences. Enriched with intelligent, actionable insights and seamless integration with video, social media, notifications, community engagement, loyalty programs, gamification and more, X is designed to foster deeper and more meaningful engagements.

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