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The Human Element: Integrating Technology And Data Into Your Customer Service Model Yes, having an AI-powered model for shopping recommendations in e-commerce is great. But, CRM is much more than just tech. With surveys and chat-bots such a cliche, here's what sets Sprii apart.

By Sarah Jones

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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It's no surprise that consumer shopping habits are continually changing and evolving, especially in the e-commerce world. People are always on the move and want access to quick, affordable and easy shopping, which fits into their daily lives. More than 80% of shoppers are accessing my e-commerce enterprise, Sprii, via their mobile or tablet, which is why we have invested significantly in our app; a smarter, more accessible way of shopping which feeds into the full customer experience. It's no longer enough to just have an awesome platform, the best product selection and competitive pricing- you also need to consider the best ways to engage the consumer, and ultimately keep them coming back for more. In my opinion, the single most important thing, is to make it personal- through every interaction, whether it be when they land on your website, receive an email, or browse the app.

Now, this of course goes hand-in-hand with having a customer service team on the ground who will go the extra mile without even being asked, who are genuinely committed to helping your customers have the best experience possible. It's an approach that makes all of the difference when a customer is, for example, desperately trying to track down the perfect gift for their child's birthday, and have it delivered the same day. They may start on the app, but then need that real human interaction, and that's where our customer service team will move mountains to make sure our consumers are satisfied.

Related:Your Customers Owe You Nothing (But You Owe Them Your Loyalty)

So, how do you integrate technology and data into your customer service model? Put simply, data allows you to be more personal- it allows you to understand your customers shopping habits, it allows you to know what time they shop, and how they shop, and what products they browse. It helps to personalize your service and offering, and make real business decisions changes to the app, or investment in a new way to reach out to customers; however, this has to be combined with real customer feedback too.

We think of Sprii as a business "driven by us, and powered by mums"- it is their site as much as it is ours, and with this in mind, feedback in whatever capacity is essential to helping us create their ideal online world. Bricks and mortar aside, we don't discount the value of meeting our customers face too- face and getting feedback firsthand.

Even if your company is 100% online, you still need to have an omnichannel approach with your customer service function to lend credibility to what you are offering.

Related: How ChefXChange Involved Their Customers In New Product Development

That's why we've partnered with British Mums Dubai for the last 12 months to run, for instance, mummy mornings and consumer events, which gives us direct access to the ultimate decision makers so, husbands beware! One of the insights to come out over a coffee morning with mums was a point on price that data alone couldn't have revealed. While we have always been competitive in our offers, we expanded this by recently introducing a price-match guarantee on all our products. It's a pretty strong differentiator, giving our consumer the assurance to find everything they want, for the best price possible and checkout all in one place. Throw into the mix our free shipping and easy returns policy, and it makes for an unbeatable offering, or so we have been told! These kinds of strategic partnerships will only become more important in the face of increased competition, with authenticity now leading the charge for most mums' checklists.

My advice is to cover all corners, invest in a strong multi-channel approach, which is combined with an excellent customer service team, who will be the direct landline to the most important person in your business- your customers.

Related: AI Can't Solve All Of Our Customer Service Problems (Yet)

Sarah Jones

Founder and CEO, Sprii

Sarah Jones founded Sprii at the start of 2014. Previously, she had a successful career in finance, spending four years at Deloitte in Mergers & Acquisitions advisory, first in London and then in Dubai. After two years in the Gulf, Jones left the finance world, recognizing the potential of the early-stage e-commerce market and the Sprii business model. Sprii is today the online destination for everything mums and kids in the Middle East, with over 800 brands and 40,000 products, all available at the click of a button.
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