How streamlining internal communication can increase efficiency for retailers

By Martyn Jones, CCO, VoCoVo

With online shopping peaking in recent months, the expectations of seamless and personalised in-store experiences are greater than ever, with Millennials and Gen Z in particular less tolerant and forgiving when it comes to slow in-store experiences. For bricks and mortar stores, the bar is higher than ever before, making dropping the ball on the customer experience not an option. Leveraging internal communications tools is key to improving efficiency and delighting customers with the best possible shopping, buying and transaction experience.

Effectively responding to shop floor demand

Especially during peak times, the checkout experience can be underwhelming for customers. Seeing a long queue with only one till open can quickly lead to frustration, and perhaps basket abandonment. Equally, unavailable, unknowledgeable, or nowhere-to-be-found staff on the shop floor are amongst common customer complaints and causes for walkouts.

Connecting employees via technology has the potential to significantly reduce wait times across the customer experience, with internal communication tools breaking down inter-department silos and improving collaboration between different teams.

It also saves time and improves efficiency by removing the need to cross the store or visit the stockroom to check product availability or order status. Being able to instantly obtain information from different departments means customers have their questions answered quicker, improving their overall in-store experience.

Empowering employees

Retailers face a number of security challenges on a daily basis, including stores being regularly targeted by thieves. Putting the spiralling cost of shoplifting aside, there is also an issue of violence and abuse towards workers. Work environments should be a safe place for members of staff and when it doesn’t feel like one, employee morale and productivity suffer.

Beyond improving customer service, secure communication methods can also help empower workers and make them feel safer, resulting in increased efficiency and customer satisfaction. Being able to keep in close contact with colleagues, enabling them to quickly call for help when dealing with a difficult customer for example, means employees feel supported, protected, and more confident when dealing with challenging situations. This positively impacts the bottom line too, as employees who feel more connected to their colleagues and their job are more likely to stay on for longer, reducing turnover and the need for fresh hires and new training. Additionally, customers whose queries or complaints are handled quickly by confident and knowledgeable store colleagues can often turn into loyal, brand advocates.

Every second counts 

In a busy retail environment, time equals money. By leveraging internal communication tools in-stores, employees can better address customer pain-points, make on-the-fly adjustments for inventory or get important information in seconds from their colleagues across the store.

Connected stores enable retailers to maximise efficiency, providing seamless and superior experiences for their customers as a result. They also empower employees to succeed at dealing with more difficult issues, improving their morale. If bricks and mortar stores streamline their communication methods, then they will be better equipped to compete with convenient e-commerce and prosper in the future.

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