VoCoVo Article by Olivia Robinson – Customer Success Manager

 

Great customer experience can be the difference between a store’s success or failure. In-store, shoppers interact with products, staff members and form a lasting impression of the brand.  

At VoCoVo, we wanted to find out what issues make or break a customer’s impression of a retail outlet. I used to be a store manager at a high-end convenience store, and learned many lessons over the years about what makes great customer experience:

Time

Time delays cause customer complaints and have a huge impact on in-store experience.

Modern shoppers won’t wait. Anything that encourages a delay leads to frustration. Typical issues are slow responses to questions or lack of available staff to help. 

Shoppers are pickier and have higher standards than ever before. Why is this? 

Today, 18% of shops happen online. By 2040 it’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will happen using eCommerce. Abandoned baskets are common – 70% of purchases are discarded before the sale completes. This means customers are more willing to walk away as eCommerce becomes the preferred way to shop.

What are the time-based issues to watch out for?

  • Queuing 

Delays often lead to an abandoned cart online. It’s the same in-store. If a customer has to wait they’ll get angry, frustrated or possibly leave. 

Reducing queue times and keeping plenty of tills available is the best way to improve customer experience.

  • Giving customers a straight answer

In larger shops, it’s common for colleagues to need supporting answering customer questions. But leaving the customer to search for help creates a bad impression. 

Customers wait, feel abandoned and might eventually walk away. Being able to stay with the customer whilst asking for help can dramatically improve their impression.

  • Making colleagues available to help

In plenty of UK retail stores, it’s common for staffing to be stripped back – budgets and economic constraints on the sector have made this change inevitable. 

It’s still important to make colleagues available to help customers. Call points or better communication between colleagues can assist customers faster, reducing the all-important wait.

Noise

Customers value quiet, calm shopping experiences. Unnecessary noises set off alarm bells in the customer’s mind, suggesting that a delay is ahead. 

Whether it’s a tannoy announcement, till bells or other distractions, a noisy store causes an unsettling shopping experience. 

Instead, keep announcements and alarms to a minimum, leaving shoppers with a pleasant, relaxing experience.

  • Till bells

Till bells are an old-fashioned way of signaling for help. Today, a till bell is an annoyance to the customer. It’s a signal that they have to wait for another colleague to arrive, and their shopping trip has been delayed again. 

If there is a way of introducing noise-free call points, this removes the distraction and makes the entire experience smoother and more enjoyable.

  • Tannoy systems

Tannoys are a common feature across the UK high street, which is a shame. The tannoy is a vocal, unsettling way of announcing things publically to the entire shop – colleagues, customers (and possibly people outside). This crackly noise is hated by customers and can be misheard by colleagues. 

Like till bells, it’s a signal something is ‘wrong’. Get rid of your tannoy system, if you can. Replace it with something more discreet and efficient, like our customer KeyPads.

Ease of shopping experience

Make the shop easy to navigate – this is vital to a positive customer experience. Ask yourself – how easy is it for a customer to enter the store, find what they’re looking for and leave feeling happy? 

If the store has inefficient processes then this flow can easily be disrupted. Poor queue practices cause customer frustration. Poor restocking processes can result in empty shelves and lost sales. 

  • Interactive support

Customers want help quickly. Having an interactive call point system in place to support interactive shopping can improve the entire shopping experience, making it easier for customers to find what they need.

  • Clear customer flow

Map out the customer flow. Where do customers come into the store, what route should they take? 

This simple approach can make a huge difference to the shopping experience. Instead of over-complicating things, why not make it easier for customers to navigate the store.

  • Colleague distribution

Although many retailers struggle to staff their stores as fully as in previous years, it’s still important to ensure that colleagues are distributed throughout the shop. 

Using your customer flow, consider where colleagues can support customers at problem points, making it easy for them to communicate with each other.

At VoCoVo, we’ve worked with UK leaders in retail to develop rugged, easy-to-implement communication systems that transform the customer experience. 

To find out more about our incredible product range, and how VoCoVo can transform customer experience in your shops, get in touch with me today.