|Mita Patel joined VoCoVo earlier this year, and has already brought a huge amount of knowledge and experience to our growing team.
With 20 years’ experience in product leadership and business development, Mita values lean methodologies and believes in creating a nurturing, customer-led environment.
We caught up with her about the bright future of retail communication.
How do you predict communications will change in 2022?
The next few months will be challenging for retailers. Many stores are still operating with reduced numbers, so it will continue to be a case of doing more with less. Aside from the pandemic, both Brexit and the situation in Ukraine are likely to bring widespread disruption to supply chains, meaning rising prices and product shortages. Things could change at short notice, so communications will have to be agile too.
Have attitudes to technology changed recently?
I think that ease of use is the key to changing attitudes. Many colleagues find the idea of headsets to be quite daunting at first. They are worried about pressing the wrong button or saying the wrong thing. We try to change this perception by making our products as easy to use as possible. It doesn’t usually take them long to get the hang of it, and there’s a real sense of accomplishment when they do . We’ve got everyone from school leavers to elderly colleagues using our headsets, and this is fantastic to see.
How has communication changed over the last two years?
The pandemic affected retailers in a very direct way. Hardware stores and supermarkets stayed open and many colleagues found themselves working harder than ever. Along with their usual duties, they also had to think about things like queue management and social distancing. They were under pressure not just to serve customers, but to keep them safe as well.
Looking further ahead, what changes do you predict for the next few years?
Climate change will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the near future. Stores will come under increased pressure to cut waste and behave sustainably. Communication technology will play a major role in this by guiding colleagues towards more efficient behaviours. We recently linked our headsets to a store’s smart shutters, letting them notify colleagues when they needed closing. This kind of efficiency saving will become more commonplace over the next few years.
The downside of this is the potential for information overload. As the Internet of Things grows, colleagues will be able to receive information from dozens of smart devices on the shop floor. In order to maximise efficiency, we need to be sure that colleagues only receive notifications that are relevant to them. If they are inundated with information, there is a danger that it will just become background noise.
What part do you see VoCoVo playing in this future?
Our mission is to serve deskless workers. We want to ensure that retail colleagues have the same potential for collaboration as those in any other industry. Rising logistics costs and the need for sustainability will mean that stores have to do more with less, and this all starts with effective communication. By providing wireless and hands-free communication on the go, we believe that we can support the retail community of the future.
I recently visited Dunelm and Tesco stores, and I asked colleagues about the impact of VoCoVo. The feedback was heartwarming. Colleagues were happier and felt safer, especially when working alone. Some even said that VoCoVo had changed their lives. It’s great to know that we are making a difference, and I hope that we can continue to do so.