Over the next five years, one of the most significant changes in retail will be the creation of stores that are designed around unique branded experiences. These experiences are proving to be excellent ways to engage shoppers, build strong brand loyalty, and increase sales.
In fact, during the recent 2018 holiday shopping season, brands from Facebook to Walmart used in-store experiences to target shoppers. Companies are increasingly turning to technology to help create unique and personal experiences, giving stores and brands a competitive edge. But your customers’ experience really starts with people, your front-line associates.
According to Forbes, businesses need to equip their employees with the right tools and training so they can achieve their primary goal: keeping customers happy through the use of technology. As modern retailers continue to find new and innovative ways to meet their customers where they are, empowering retail sales associates with the right technology has become a key component for improving the overall in-store customer experience.
How does technology empower retail employees to engage customers and maximize their experience? By making it personal.
The right technology makes it easy for retailers to support their employees and improve the customer experience like never before. Sales enablement technology includes the hardware and software that lets retail employees maximize their time on the sales floor and optimize the customer experience.
How does this benefit your customer and lead to increased engagement? By creating a more secure, reliable, and streamlined shopping process.
For retailers, having a technology-based solution that puts a bundle of powerful selling tools into the hands of their employees is a game-changer because engaged and satisfied customers purchase 50 percent more frequently. They also spend 200 percent more each year and are five times more likely to display brand loyalty. These fully-engaged customers result in 23 percent more profit, revenue and growth potential compared to the average customer.
Forrester found that customers who had a better experience with a company said they were less likely to go elsewhere and more likely to recommend it. Sales enablement solutions like CompuCom’s In-Store Selling Advisor equips sales associates with fast access to product information and the right knowledge to optimize their in-store interactions with customers. The result from In-Store Selling Advisor is the ability for you to equip retail employees with Apple Devices, on-board faster with sales enablement and training, boost performance with assisted selling tools and support employees with IT services.
Publish Date: January 21, 2019
The modern retail revolution has pushed technological innovation to the forefront of retail priorities as brands attempt to keep up with enhanced consumer demands. These strategic investments can increase customer loyalty, provide cost benefits and open up new revenue opportunities. Appealing to the demands of the contemporary consumer, one who is drawn to a personalized, engaging, convenient and technology driven experience, is fundamental to success.
Implementing omnichannel, merging and blending online and in-store experiences and incorporating attractive and engaging personalized interactions are all avenues being pursued by some of the most innovative retailers today. Here are four examples of brands who are leading the way when it comes to successfully modernizing the shopping experience.
A leading beauty product specialist has executed an extremely successful omnichannel initiative which has bolstered both their online and in-store sales. They have effectively blurred the lines between the two by merging their ecommerce platform with their physical stores. This is essential considering that 75 percent of consumers expect consistent experiences across multiple channels (web, mobile, in-person, social), with 73 percent of customers likely to switch brands if that isn’t available.
The beauty retailer has achieved innovation by creating connected applications accessible in-store and on personal devices which allow the customer to engage with the product in a fast, fun and convenient way. While visiting the store, customers can engage with virtual reality technology which allows them to simulate trying on the product, while being presented with relevant information and other compatible product suggestions. The customer is also offered the option of connecting with social media, providing an opportunity to share their experience.
For grocery retailers, the biggest hurdles to customer satisfaction include scanning issues and checkout times. In fact, 88 percent of customers want their checkout experience to be faster. Implementing self-serve checkouts could potentially free up employees to focus on the customer, but these can have their own barriers. The same survey showed 45 percent of customers who choose not to use self-checkout do so because they have experienced technical and barcode difficulties.
Grocery brands also face pressure from online-only retailers who have rapidly entered the market. However, while these retailers have been successful, it is also true that 67 percent of customers have not purchased groceries online as they still prefer to pick fresh produce in person. For most retailers, this means finding a balance between online and physical.
One major grocery retailer is successfully overcoming the technological challenges disrupting customer experience by introducing an application that bypasses the checkout clerk altogether and allows payment to be made directly on the customer’s phone. Known as scan & go, this speeds up the checkout time and makes it easier for customers to get what they need from the store and get out quickly. Innovations at the checkout will continue to impact the retail industry as customers demand a faster and more convenient way to pay for their products.
Quick service restaurants have also had success implementing mobile apps to improve the customer experience and free up employees who would otherwise be standing at the cash register. One leading chain restaurant, having implemented a personal device application for payment, saw 27 percent of all transactions in-store being processed through the application in 2017. Since then, they have continued to implement new solutions, including recently introducing voice ordering and augmented reality in some locations.
Identification and involvement with the product is a crucial technique to gaining customer loyalty, as 80 percent of consumers desire to be engaged with the product they are buying and prefer to shop at brands which offer that. The brand’s augmented reality technology allows customers to engage and connect with the brand by being able to peer inside the production machinery and read details about the process. The brand further engages the customer by encouraging them to participate in collecting virtual badges as they experience the store and then share their experience on social media platforms.
Similarly, a specialty footwear retailer has taken personalization and engagement of their product in interesting directions. They have turned after-hour window display shopping into an interactive, informative process which allows the customer to browse through products on a display. This allows them to access information, see the products on a virtual interactive mannequin and to save products of interest on their smartphones for later. Behind the scenes they have made it possible for customers to personalize the product itself, allowing for selection of design features for online ordering.
They have started implementing 3D printing technology that allows for on-demand production and avoids unnecessary overstock waste. The technology also has huge potential for tailoring their product to cater to the customer’s individual foot shape. This technology will make its way into stores soon, providing the ultimate customization experience and creating a competitive advantage over other brands.
Investing in strategic technology is a win-win for any retailer looking to grow and stay competitive. Technological innovation can benefit retailers in the form of increased customer loyalty and attachment with the brand, reduced costs and new revenue. The benefits are plenty, when technology is integrated with the customer in mind.
Publish Date: December 10, 2018
For many companies, the ability to be flexible, agile and responsive is critical.
Business requirements change suddenly, and the companies who thrive are the ones who are able to adapt and respond the fastest to business unit requirements and issues 24/7.
This is equally true when thinking about your enterprise mobility suite. It’s not enough to simply take a “set it and forget it” approach when deploying new devices to end users. You need to have the right lifecycle service and support available and ready to deal with any request in real time.
The story of a large event planning company is the perfect example. It shows how enterprises benefit from working with a single source solution provider with 24/7 support.
In this case, the company needed support before, during, and after the deployment of hundreds of smartphones and tablets. The company also needed their solution provider to respond to an emergency request for devices without any delays. Here’s how the event unfolded:
The company needed a large number of end user devices for a major weekend concert. They needed to give staff connectivity before and during the event so that everything would be executed effectively.
Like other cyclical businesses, locking into a two-year contract for all the devices didn’t make sense, and the company didn’t want to have to manage each device after every event was over.
The event company needed help with the following:
Shortly after the devices were activated, the event organizer realized that there would be more people attending the upcoming festival than originally planned.
As a result, they would need to do more set up and provide more staff on site. On the Tuesday evening prior to the weekend of the event, the company reached out to their enterprise mobility partner requesting additional devices to be ready and shipped to the event by Friday.
For many providers and in-house IT departments, this type of rapid redeployment request would be impossible. Often these support services are not available on evenings and weekends. Then you would have to navigate pre-recorded messages and complicated telephone trees just to speak to someone who was hopefully the right person.
Usually, at this point, a ticket would be opened for someone else to respond to during business hours. This is not the type of responsiveness most businesses need, especially when the success of a project is at stake.
But with 24/7 live support provided by a trained mobility service and support technician, this type of request wasn’t a problem. The company was able to talk to a live, knowledgeable person within minutes to explain the situation.
Work quickly began at the distribution center to get the devices activated, configured, and shipped directly to the site. The result? End users had the devices in their hands within 48 hours of the request. Once the event was over, the partner company handled the deactivation and stored the devices until required at the next event.
With the ability to rapidly respond to changing business requirements, the company’s event was able to go off without a hitch. By working with a reliable enterprise mobility partner, the company gained the peace of mind of knowing that if anything went wrong with their enterprise mobility suite before, during or after the event took place, they would be able to get assistance immediately.
Paying too much for data? Find out how much you will save by moving to a Mobile Access solution.
Publish Date: October 17, 2017
Operating a medium-sized business is a game of checks and balances. This is particularly the case when you decide it is time to look for an IT help desk solution.
On one hand, you are too large to rely on the “one-size-fits-all” solutions often most suitable for small businesses.
On the other, you are too small for an enterprise IT help desk partner to take you on as a client.
This sweet spot you’re in doesn’t feel so sweet.
You fall right in the middle – you have more sophisticated IT needs than the small company you once were, yet are a long way off from being large enough for enterprise-level providers to pay attention to you as a viable client.
You’ll be happy to know there are dedicated IT help desk options out there for your business. While it may be a bit harder to find help with comprehensive IT service desk management support options, once you do, keep these three tips in mind as you start to evaluate their services:
Just because you’ve grown as a company by keeping IT in house, doesn’t mean this is your only option for the future.
Open up to the possibilities of what the right partner company could do for you. One example of a starting place could be taking lower-level support tickets off your in-house team. This frees them up for more advanced and strategic IT work to help your company grow. Even the most enthusiastic help desk employee can lose motivation when stuck answering routine password reset requests day in and day out.
Partnering with a company to handle your help desk inquiries will not be a fixed cost – in a good way. Look for a company who will include real time analytics with their IT services that can help identify areas of improvement and cost savings.
By offering analytics within the solution, you will be able see much more than just what happened last month. This includes near-real-time details of the support inquiries, such as quantity, by department, region, resolver group and most common request.
You should also be able to monitor the details of the process and see variations and adjust as needed. For example, if there is unusual activity, you can easily identify if it is training related, system related or even simply educating your employees about lower cost contact methods (for example using the chat instead of picking up the phone for a live conversation).
Some partners who are too small to handle your support needs will do their best to win your business. An account like yours would look great on their customer list. And while it may feel good to be their largest client, the support, the value for your money and analytics you will be missing by not selecting a partner with a more robust offering will not be worth the ‘big fish in a small pond’ status you would have by choosing them. Your business growth is just too important to limit service at this stage.
On the flip side, some of the enterprise providers may be persuaded to offer you support, but there you’ll be on the opposite side of the situation. You’ll not be able to take advantage of all the services, support and cost savings because the solution will not fit your unique needs that companies have when they’re at the 250 – 3000 seat size. If you’re able to convince them to do business with you, you will likely be overpaying for their support.
Freeing your existing IT staff from level one support tickets, gaining insight through analytics and knowing there are IT help desk support options specifically for the unique needs of your business can open up the throttle on profitable growth for your company.
Did we miss anything? Comment below with anything you might be looking for in a SmartDesk solution.
Publish Date: September 12, 2017
The deployment phase of a new enterprise mobility solution is the most critical step for IT departments to get right. What may look to be a nuts and bolts process is actually one of the easiest to get wrong. End users demand mobile solutions that are as easy as their personal devices. If the tools you provide don’t work right away, they may be left unused forever.
If that happens, all of the planning, strategy, and effort done up to that point is wasted, along with any potential cost savings or other benefits expected to be gained from the new solution.
Recently, one major convenience and fuel retailer was looking to deploy over 300 iPhones in just 8 weeks. End users were located in stores and offices across the United States, and could not afford to be without their devices or data during the transition period.
The IT staff did not have the internal resources, time and expertise to fulfill this business unit requirement, and needed to focus their attention on other strategic projects. To make this project vision a reality, they turned to CompuCom to be sure the project was completed on time and on budget with limited disruption to users.
Leveraging more than 30 years of experience working on large scale deployments and enterprise mobility lifecycle solutions, CompuCom was able to:
The retailer was able to get the new devices into the hands of end users and execute on their enterprise mobility strategy.
The end users receiving the new devices were busy, and they relied on their phones to receive their daily work requests and alerts in order to complete their day to day jobs. The new devices needed to be introduced with as little disruption as possible while maintaining all of the user’s existing data, applications and information.
Before the replacement took place, all of the end user’s data was backed up in the cloud and then loaded onto the new device so that it was still accessible. CompuCom then migrated the existing phone number so that the user would not miss any important work requests, calls or messages, and assisted with setting up voicemail, PIN codes and other user settings. From the end user perspective, the only thing that changed was the device itself, and they still had everything they needed to go about their work.
The actual delivery of devices can be the most challenging part of an enterprise mobility deployment. With offices and end users located across geographic regions and time zones, it can be very difficult to get the right device to the right employee within a tight schedule.
Devices must be stored until they are ready to be shipped, packaged and prepared to go out, and delivered to the right user. Otherwise, all of the work kitting and configuring will have gone to waste.
Many office mailrooms simply aren’t equipped to handle this type of volume. We were able to efficiently and effectively deliver over 300 devices within the client’s 8 week timeframe, amounting to more than 40 devices a week.
As a result, no end user was left without their device at any time, and the IT team was not forced to manage the complex logistics that come with such a large project.
Deployment doesn’t end after the initial delivery. Replacing devices for end users requires many of the same steps, and often has tighter time requirements because the user is without access to their phone.
Ongoing maintenance, repair, and emergency replacement can be especially challenging in environments such as retail, where devices tend to take more abuse and need to be replaced or serviced more frequently.
CompuCom continues to provide lifecycle service and support for the retailer’s end users, including Advanced Exchange. An automated replacement request portal was set up so that a new replacement unit can be set up and delivered from the nearest distribution hub as soon as possible.
The broken device is then shipped back to CompuCom for repair or proper disposal. Not only does this help to mitigate downtime and keep end users happy, it also reduces the burden on the IT team who can focus on other initiatives.
Despite appearing to be a nuts and bolts process following the strategic work that goes into building a new enterprise mobility solution, this major retailer recognized the importance of a successful deployment after making such a large investment.
By working with CompuCom, they were able to seamlessly transition users from the old devices to the new ones, manage the logistics of getting the devices into the end-users’ hands, and handle ongoing maintenance and replacement requests without drawing on their in-house IT team.
Find out how to save more on your enterprise data use. Take the Mobile Access Calculator challenge.
Publish Date: August 24, 2017
For nearly a decade, search engines were the preferred tool to connect workers with solutions to their technical questions and issues. Today, millennials are starting to take a different turn.
Of all generations in the workforce today, millennials have shown the highest desire to resolve technical issues on their own. This new generation of workers has cut its technical teeth troubleshooting gaming consoles and apps through online threads, Wikipedia pages and self-help articles. More and more, service desk providers are recognizing the need to evolve in today’s digital world by arming users with tools to troubleshoot workplace technologies on their own, in a way that’s meaningful to them and relevant to their work environment.
As an IT executive or professional seeking to stay ahead of the curve, consider the following key aspects in a self-service knowledge base.
A user base infused with young professionals benefits from self-service articles that are quick to consume and provide straightforward instructions to solve technical issues. These articles do not need to be overly technical; in fact, they are more effective when they are simple and visual. The most commonly used articles often rely on screenshots so the reader can easily follow along.
Self-service knowledge bases should cover an array of topics to accommodate users across different applications, operating systems, legacy systems and devices. To achieve this, the knowledge base must retain older, but applicable articles, while constantly updating and adding new ones to stay relevant.
Knowledge bases no longer solely function as repositories of information. They are becoming smarter and smarter and have developed ways to better engage the user. One of the most effective features in a knowledge base is a natural language search, which makes finding suitable articles a no-brainer. Users can type their stream of consciousness into the search window without having to manually parse through ideas, expediting and simplifying their quest for a solution.
Managed Content as a Service (mCaaS) platforms have the capability to improve results with every search. Over time, the system will recognize a specific user’s search trends, and can therefore better understand the user’s needs and provide more relevant, specific results based on profiles and preferences. Not only does this save the user valuable time, but also it frees service desk agents to perform more strategic initiatives.
A key differentiator of knowledge bases is the secure user experience. In traditional search engines such as Google, search results are hosted by infinite sources, making it very difficult to know where the results page links will take you. Effective knowledge bases keep up with today’s cybersecurity requirements by hosting all articles on their own site and ensuring all knowledge is federated, secure and updated in parallel with application enhancements and software launches.
Self-service knowledge bases are the future of independent IT problem solving. Placing the power of resolving technical issues into users’ hands reduces agent-assisted service desk tickets, lowers costs and streamlines the upgrading, migrating and moving processes. Remote employees especially benefit from these solutions since they don’t have the luxury of quickly asking colleagues for help.
Support your employees and their diverse needs by investing in a service desk provider that offers self-service knowledge bases.
How much money can you save by moving to a self-service knowledge base model for your service desk? Go to the SmartDesk Solution™ Savings Calculator to find out. I invite you to ask questions or leave comments below.
Publish Date: May 22, 2017
Today’s employees are empowered to work remotely, and use laptops as well as mobile devices to complete their tasks. An increasing percentage of their work is being done on tablets and even smartphones. In fact, multiple surveys show more business and personal email (54 percent in 2017, according to Litmus) is read on a mobile device than on a laptop or desktop.
Based on the growing adoption of mobile devices, it only makes sense that your service desk solution should be available on a mobile application to accommodate your employees and to meet the demands of their role. If your existing provider does not offer a mobile solution, you should consider finding one that does, so that your employees and IT team can be productive whenever and wherever needed.
A good mobile app services solution essentially provides users and their employers with five primary benefits: mobility, simplicity, efficiency, productivity and information.
Here are some tangible examples of the benefits of providing your users with a service desk mobile app:
One of the biggest advantages of having a service desk mobile app is the ability of your employees to efficiently and effectively solve their own problems 24/7 with a robust knowledge base or by unlocking their own passwords. Users are also empowered with quick links to help with submitting tickets, receiving updates and even chatting with an agent while on the go. Whether they are at a customer site or riding the bus or subway, your employees can get the support they need to stay productive, regardless of their location or the time of day.
Tailored for smaller screens, service desk mobile apps should offer simple-to-use interfaces that display the most frequently used tools and basic fields that can be filled out quickly and easily. The more intuitive an interface is, the more likely an app is to be widely used, because of the effective and efficient user interface it provides. Also, mobile apps often make self-service options easier to navigate, enabling employees to troubleshoot issues on their own any time during the day (or night) without needing to request service, which can save your business money. Similarly, you should also provide flexibility in terms of which contact methods you offer, so that you can direct users to lower-cost self-help versus higher-cost calls to the service desk.
Users of a mobile service desk app provide integrated information upfront that agents can instantly access when their assistance is requested. The employee’s identity is verified and the agent will be able to help more quickly. There’s no need to answer questions about who is calling or provide a history of service requests. The agent will automatically be able to access the employee’s basic information when they receive the request.
Finding the help ticket location is one challenge, but submitting it can be another. When there are many fields to fill out, employees may procrastinate on submitting their support ticket until their problem escalates and they need immediate assistance. Mobile service desk solutions can negate this issue by auto-filling saved fields in each ticket. When an employee is signed into his or her account on a mobile device, the basic fields are already captured. This means employees spend less time away from their work filling out forms, and can use that time to be productive and drive the business forward.
Emails are constantly flooding your employees’ inboxes, so how do you effectively keep users updated on the status of their tickets? Mobile service desk solutions should have the option to give employees notifications on their mobile devices so they can stay up-to-date on the status of their tickets. Employees can opt for text messages to alert them about updates instead of, or in addition to, emails. This also helps employees respond more quickly to an agent if follow up is required.
You can provide round-the-clock benefits of a service desk in the palm of your users’ hands by offering them a robust, yet easy-to-use mobile app service desk solution.
How would such a solution impact your organization? Check out the SmartDesk Solution Savings Calculator to find out. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Publish Date: April 24, 2017
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