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Customer experience: empowering your employees to make the difference

By : Tim Burrow

June 07, 2017 08:00 AM

One of the key questions for retailers in the current landscape is how they can make their offerings stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. With big players such as Amazon taking up such a big chunk of the online retailer space, factors such as price are no longer a significant differentiator for many brands.  Retailers have to look to other messaging to ensure they maintain their appeal to customers.

 

In this environment, the customer experience retailers provide will often be a key factor that separates the best-performing retailers from the rest of the pack. And at the heart of this will be your employees. Giving sales associates the tools they need to build a connection with customers and offer a personal, smooth experience is paramount. 

 

To achieve this, these employees need to do much more than just sell. Customers need to feel as though associates understand their particular needs and have the knowledge on hand to answer any queries they have. Those who shop online expect a high level of personalization, and should be able to receive this even when they walk into a brick-and-mortar store.

 

Make your associates mobile
One of the biggest changes in the tech world has been the mobile revolution, and this extends to retail as much as any other sector. As well as making purchases directly from a smartphone or tablet, shoppers will be using these gadgets in-store to find more information, compare prices and more. But the benefits of these solutions aren't just for the consumers. Empowering associates with mobile tools can also help them deliver a better customer experience on the sales floor.

 

For instance, mobile POS tools free up associates from the need to remain close to a terminal in order to answer questions or complete a transaction. Being able to take a transaction to a customer wherever they are in store helps employees build a better connection with the consumer, as well as cutting the checkout time by as much as 50 percent.

 

It's also good for the retailer's bottom line. Research conducted by IHL Group on behalf of NCR Retail shows that organizations that provide mobile sales tools for their employees enjoy 77 percent higher sales growth than those that do not.

 

Help your employees know your customers
Mobile technology isn't just useful for helping streamline transactions and answering queries. It can also be used to give retail associates a much better idea of who their customer is as soon as they walk into the store.

 

A recent survey by BRP Consulting found 46 percent of retailers are looking to empower their associates with mobile tools that can better identify customers, in order to offer them more tools to help advise and influence purchase decisions.

 

The report noted that the most advanced retailers are now using a range of tools, including mobile apps, Wi-Fi, geolocation and beacon technology, to identify customers when they are near or entering the store. Locations such as shopping malls, convenience stores and drug stores are among those well-placed to take advantage of these tools. By sending this identifying data to associates on the sales floor, retailers can empower these employees to deliver the personal experience customers now expect.

Tim Burrow

Retail Solutions Specialist – Consulting Solutions Engineering

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Tim has over 30 years of experience with projects and product solutions involving the translation of technologies into practical solution implementations for retailers. Examples include store Automation, POS and integration around consumer-driven interactions and experiences across channels, and implementation and deployment strategy.