Creating an enjoyable in-store shopping experience seems straightforward. Everyone knows customers love friendly and knowledgeable store associates, full, priced and organized shelves and multiple ways to shop but often it’s a host of problems that make delivering the basics more problematic than it should be. Distracted by issues such as increasing theft and high staff turnover, retailers are sacrificing the customer experience right at a time when 90% of customer experience leaders are reporting that customer expectations are higher than ever.
And the thing is all the problems facing retailers eventually trickle down to the shop floor. You can’t build an excellent in-store experience if your staff is overstretched and large amounts of stock are missing from the shelves. As a result, your first step to cultivating exceptional customer service is to tackle internal problems and build more efficient processes, and to do that you need one thing: better in-store communication.
The Importance of Good Communication
Even worse, when the new employee mentions it to another staff member they discover that there’s actually half a pallet of the item in the back, it was just never put out on the floor because it came in on a late delivery. If the new staff member had known the situation or could have quickly asked someone without leaving the customer’s side, they could have grabbed the item from the loading bay and the customer would have bought the item happily. As it stands, they might never visit that store, or chain, again.
It’s evident that better staff communication could have secured a sale, but let’s see how this particular scenario could be improved with a few key features from a unified retail communication system.
But you don’t want a closed system that supports voice only. Communication shouldn’t just be limited to colleagues in-store. That means that other store units, back offices and even head offices should be able to speak to the frontline team just by picking up the phone. And if frontline workers can do the same from their headset, whether it’s to get clarification for a customer or ask for support, you suddenly have a communication system that unlocks the full potential of your employees regardless of where they are in the world.
Smart Call Points
That’s why call points can be helpful as they allow customers to signal they need extra support and when sent directly into a headset, can allow teams to quickly collaborate and redistribute tasks to both serve the customer and the store’s behind-the-scenes needs.
But what if you sell items such as household appliances that require specific product knowledge? Traditional call points just send a message, but smart call points using QR codes or tablets are much more flexible. While waiting for a store associate, the call point can bring up the product web page to instantly give them more information or, potentially, even call an expert in a call center or another store. This way you could provide the same level of service regardless of staffing levels or the size of the store.
Knowledge on Demand
It can be as simple as connecting colleagues. If an associate gets a question regarding mattresses and they don’t know the answer, but they know the person who does, they can quickly reach out to their colleague to get an answer.
But what if it’s a small shop, like a convenience store, that only has one employee working on certain shifts? Well, if that employee is connected to a communications system with an AI coach, they know they can find out product information just by asking the AI coach a simple question, such as, “how many calories are in a slushy?”
In both cases, providing knowledge on demand not only allows employees to give the correct answer to customer queries but also gives them the confidence to engage with customers in the first place. Instead of shying away from customers, afraid they’ll ask a question the shop assistant doesn’t know, the assistant can approach shoppers knowing they have the tools and support they need to truly put the customer first.
AI Detection and Alerts
Connecting a headset communication system to a store’s self-checkouts means that the machines can immediately send a notification to staff to let them know when a customer has an issue scanning an item. This allows frontline workers to be there before the customer becomes frustrated with the process, moving them and the rest of the customers in line through the checkout much faster.
The same can be said for theft. With AI theft detection it is now possible to connect store associates to the in-store camera systems, sending them a message when a customer makes specific gestures that the AI classifies as suspicious. This allows staff to politely check in on customers, or check the area and pass a description on to the security team.
The clever thing about AI is that it is constantly learning to do more. So the same system can also detect if a person falls over or if a customer is waiting impatiently in a specific area of the store. All these could trigger alerts that staff members receive to help reduce customer wait time and also protect the bottom line by actively preventing theft and basket abandonment.
Finding the Right Solution
x-hoppers: Moving Beyond the Headset
Always forward-thinking, x-hoppers has a flexible system that allows it to integrate with practically any system while native AI tools such as an AI coach and AI theft detection ensure staff can respond to the challenges of a dynamic store environment and ever-changing customer needs.
This means not only investing in customer-facing surveys and scouring third-party review sites, but also taking the time to survey employees to discover where the underlying issues are. With all that information together, you’ll get a clear picture of what is actually happening in store units and the real problems you’re facing. And with a powerful communications system as your ally, you can work with your team to overcome those obstacles and continue to create an exceptional customer experience that will turn visitors into shoppers and shoppers into loyal customers.