Smartphones – Untapped Channels for Better Customer Service

April 7th, 2014

Is your retail organization tapping in the millions of web-enabled devices that enter retail establishments every day?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing

In an January interview with Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. Retail and Distribution leader, Alison Kenney Paul, one of the hot topics for Retailers in 2014 will be how they begin to leverage the millions of devices their consumers are using every day in order to provide better customer service and drive additional sales in a way that keeps them focused on what they really want to achieve rather than reacting to any change in the technology world.

Determine the goal – With new technology it can be easy to get caught up into what’s new and what’s different and lose site of the goals of the company.  Increased sales, better customer service, reduction in loss, reduction in expenses, increased traffic in the store are all good goals which companies should already have established as part of their annual planning.  Technology and leveraging customers’ smart devices can help with any/all of these goals but the key is to determine where the company has the greatest need.   If you are a smaller retailer competing with larger National retailers, the main goal may be to maintain your current customer base through competitive deals and better customer service.  Driving sales through targeted discounts and marketing may be the goal of someone.  Whatever the top organization goals are; lock those down as the baseline for how to investigate the use of this technology.

Understand the options – With established goals set, finding ways to begin leveraging the technology to achieve those goals is the next step.  For many companies this means beginning the research for solutions and partners that can help them achieve what they want.  Outside of searching on the internet, some of the best ways to see what some of these new solutions are by going to industry trade shows, attending webinars or speaking with 3rd party consultants who work with digital media and messaging to consumer smart phones every day.  Some will have tools of their own and others will be able to provide the guidance needed to take the next steps.  Many times conducting an RFI to help fill in some of the holes can be an excellent next step.

Find the best solution – With goals and an understanding of the options to achieve those goals the final step is find the best possible solution to complete the objectives.  This is generally when a formal Request For Proposal takes place and the business provides the detailed information of what they want to achieve to the suppliers that can provide solutions and/or services to help them do that.  Many options such as in-store blue tooth beacons that can push discounts and coupons to consumer phones that have signed up with the store, to in-store assistants that allow phone apps to show shoppers where a product is and if it is in stock have been released or being tested to take advantage of the technology that is already there.  The goal for all of these suppliers is to show and convince the customer of the ROI and how long it will take to achieve.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist with researching these types of solutions, conducting Requests For Information/Proposal or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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