The era of mobile and wearable computing is in full swing and companies are starting to explore ways to improve their operations and customer experiences using new types of devices and applications. This was evident at Qmatic’s annual partner and client event “Great Experience” where the focus is to deliver new knowledge, inspiration and best practice for companies that strive to deliver remarkable customer experience throughout the customer journey.
Retailers are beginning to experiment with mobile and wearable technology and devise strategies to complement the capabilities of their existing teams with real-time, data-driven insights that help them deliver better customer service. This technology empowers employees and creates better first impressions to ensure high quality, personalized customer experiences. Colleagues become more productive by having information at their fingertips, in their ears or in front of their eyes making it easier to provide great service.
What were some of the conference’s key takeaways in this highly dynamic field?
1. Mobile will act as a catalyst to transform businesses.
Thomas Husson, Senior Analyst, Forrester
Thomas talked about mobile as a central force in the Age of the Customer. In 2016, the gap between customer-obsessed leaders considering mobile as a catalyst for business transformation and laggards considering mobile as a stand-alone channel will widen. Among enterprises surveyed, only 18% claimed to be using mobile to transform the entire customer experience. Next year, Forrester expects that more than 25% of companies will use mobile not as a channel, but as a fully integrated part of their overall strategy. At the conference Thomas summarized for the audience; Expectations of hyper-connected customers will grow faster than you think, therefore you have to treat customer experience as a business discipline
2. Help your colleagues to offer better services.
Jo Moran, Head of Customer Service, Marks & Spencer
Multi-channel means more opportunities for employees, empowering them to become more knowledgeable & helpful for customers. In the case of M&S this for example means making it easier for them to provide on the spot assistance to customers. M&S have put iPads into some of their bigger stores to help their assisted sellers give a better service – for example they have staff that is focused in their men’s suiting. Here they’ve found iPads of enormous benefit – as part of the overall journey, helping a customer find exactly what they want, tracking down particular sizes or trouser lengths, and then closing the sale.
3. Use technology to seamlessly enhance the customer experience and sales process.
Belinda Harris, Director, Retail Design & Development, Time Warner Cable
The Experience Store program evolves TWC’s physical retail locations from one-dimensional payment centers to more customer, sales and brand-centric presence leading to dramatically improved sales and overall customer experience. A key takeaway from the conference was that each experience should be tailored to the unique needs of the staff and valued customers. The right design, tools, infrastructure, merchandising and processes to ensure that they utilize them differently to achieve their goals. What TWC found was that the new store with technology supporting both customers and employees made customers feel like Time Warner Cable cares about them and their comfort – and it makes them want to continue being a customer.
Putting mobile solutions in the hands of the employees
Smart business app for the mobile workforce providing support for enhanced personalized service (Source: Qmatic)
So, what was my own key message at Great Experience? In looking at how smart technology can help delivering exceptional services a big gap today is tools and applications for employees. It’s clear today that customer-obsessed firms empower their workforce with technology. When companies were asked the question “How do you employ mobile in your physical location” in the Global Executive Online Survey by Forrester…
34% responded that they provide their employees with mobile devices to serve customers.
With the value this type of solution provides, this is far from sufficient.
In summary, mobile and wearable computing in retail allow you to:
- Put customer information to personalize the meeting in the hands of your staff.
- Increase the customer experience by connecting with your customers on their terms.
- Provides a seamless bridge between the online and physical world.
- Increase staff utilization and situational awareness thru the use of notifications.
- Provide more flexible working conditions for your staff.