Customers aren’t willing to wait
One of the lasting effects of the pandemic may be a permanent reduction in customer patience. Safety fears brought about a major shift in shopper priorities. Leisurely browsing was replaced by a desire for speed and efficiency. Customers wanted to spend as little time as possible in stores, and they expected colleagues to help them achieve this.
Although restrictions have now been lifted, this behaviour is likely to continue. We surveyed UK and US customers about their post-pandemic plans. It seems that speed of service will continue to be a major factor in shopping decisions:
- A quarter of shoppers have changed stores because of long queues
- 26% will leave a store if they haven’t been served within five minutes
- Only 16% of customers plan to shop socially after the pandemic
You are competing with the internet
The pandemic also accelerated the trend towards online shopping. With stores closed, many people were forced to shop online for the first time:
- In the first month of the pandemic, 41% of UK shoppers bought more online than usual. A year later, this had risen to 71%.
- Before the pandemic, ecommerce accounted for around 19% of total sales. This rose to 36% in January 2021 and was still at 26% in June 2021.
With one click ordering and next day delivery now the norm for most major online stores, customers have grown accustomed to a new level of convenience. When we asked customers why they favoured online shopping, the top answers were not having to queue (25%) and the speed of purchases (23%).
The message for physical retailers is clear- speed up or lose business. Luckily, this is where we can help. By improving communication between colleagues, we can help you to streamline the customer experience. Here’s how it works.
Answer queries faster
Waiting for colleagues to find information is one of the top customer frustrations. 26% of customers typically have to wait more than three minutes for a query to be answered. A quarter of customers will leave the store if their question hasn’t been answered within five minutes, and a fifth will go home to do their own research.
This is especially common in larger stores. If a colleague doesn’t have access to the information a customer needs, they have to walk to another part of the store while the customer waits. This is frustrating for everyone involved.
Our system cuts out unnecessary walking, allowing you to answer queries in a fraction of the time:
- If a colleague can’t answer a question, they can contact another colleague immediately via their headset.
- Our conference feature allows you to set up separate channels for different areas of knowledge. If a colleague needs specific information, they can tune into the relevant channel and ask the experts.
- Our headsets reduce daily walking distance by an average of 1.4km per colleague. This means less time spent away from customers and a better customer experience overall.
Reduce queueing times
24% of UK shoppers say that long queues are their top frustration with in-store shopping. Our products are designed to reduce waiting times, or even cut out queueing altogether:
- Call points can be placed on customer service and Click & Collect desks. Customers can press the call point to ask for information or check on the status of an order. This saves them from having to join the main queue.
- Headsets can be linked to self-checkouts, allowing colleagues to authorise purchases remotely. This means that you can serve more self-checkout customers in a shorter space of time.
- Keypads allow checkout colleagues to call for help without having to leave their position. If a colleague needs change or a new till roll, they can ask for assistance without holding up the queue.
Steve Edwards is a senior manager at Asda. Here he explains how checkout keypads have improved customer service:
“Each checkout now has a VoCoVo KeyPad installed which links up to the colleague headsets, allowing for 2 way communication between checkout colleagues and service hosts, thus being able to assist customers in-store quickly and efficiently.”
There’s plenty of life left in physical retail, but we have to accept that the world has changed. If we’re going to compete with the internet, everything has to be focused on speed and efficiency. Get in touch today for more tips on improving customer service with VoCoVo.