The retail market landscape has experienced a lot of challenges over the last decade. A multitude of significant brand name retailers have closed, and many others struggle to stay afloat in an environment where e-commerce sits upon the throne.
Where once low prices were enough to stay competitive, retailers today need new solutions to meet the changing demands of consumers and maintain their foothold in the marketplace
Enter Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). For the retail industry, this service model offers significant benefits through improved services and communication.
Customers expect a personalised experience
Today's consumers don't just want lower prices – they want a satisfactory shopping experience. They expect to be treated as valued customers and to receive a personalised experience. UCaaS makes that possible by not only facilitating various processes specific to the retail market but also by fostering innovative solutions to provide the exact experience consumers seek.
You have most probably already seen UCaaS in action in various retail settings. A strong example is the Apple Stores or telecommunications retail outlets, where employees use mobile devices to instantly help customers no matter where in the store you might be standing. The mobile devices also enable appointment scheduling on the go and improve collaboration with other departments.
The mobility and connectivity that UCaaS brings serve to improve service and the customer experience, subsequently reducing customer stress and frustration. But there's much more to UCaaS than simple mobile device usage.
UCaaS and geographically-dispersed or mobile teams
In many retail marketplaces, there is a need for employees to be mobile. Via a cloud-based infrastructure, UCaaS connects geographically-dispersed teams with customers, store associates, and retail support centers. This ensures quick service and seamless call transfers for customers, and immediate transfers of instruction and information from managers to mobile employees and vice versa.
Via the Cloud PBX system, customer calls can easily be routed directly to the individual most suited to help them. And there is no need to worry about communication breakdowns resulting in angry customers. Retail organisations that are already using UCaaS experience improved service communications, a reduction in telecommunications costs, and even less need for call center space, equipment, and maintenance.
Integrations provide a seamless customer experience
To ensure excellent service and improve upon a personalised experience, customer data analytics can be transferred across all necessary channels. Integrating your UCaaS solution with your contact center solution (such as Zendesk, Salesforce or Lime), eliminates the need to ask customers the same questions over and over again when their call is transferred.
Overall, equipping employees with the advanced tools they need to work more productively fosters employee motivation and improves morale. The right UCaaS solution will streamline workflows and eliminate the need for a multitude of communication equipment, while at the same time ensuring all employees are kept in the loop.
UCaaS and Employee Scheduling
If your retail organisation is rather large, you're likely to have an extensive roster of employees. Scheduling can be quite a time-consuming chore, and the need to cover open shifts due to absent employees is another headache altogether. Multiple managers also need to be aware of last-minute scheduling changes. UCaaS with mobile presence lets everyone know who's at work and available. It also allows colleagues to transfer calls easily, and help each other out when staff is short. Used the right way, UCaaS serves to reduce stress for both employees and management.
Improved onboarding and training capabilities
New hires often need training, but managers with a multitude of tasks don't always have the time to devote to proper training. One common complaint of new hires in the retail sector is how they don't receive enough training before they are expected to make it on their own.
Proper training is even more difficult in a fast-paced environment where many workers have different shifts and may not always be available for training at the same time as new hires. UCaaS helps to solve this by providing ample opportunity for voice calls and video conferencing. UCaaS also enables the sharing of videos and documents that new hires can watch and read to gain valuable information needed to perform their duties.
UCaaS is great for seasonal changes
Many retail organisations need to scale their operations up and down along with the seasons. Planning for these changes is often a time-consuming chore that must be performed weeks, sometimes months, in advance. UCaaS enables you to improve this process and implement a plan much quicker. Analytics and stored data from your UCaaS dashboards allow you to improve the decision-making process and make adjustments with ease, in one location or across multiple areas.
An increasing number of retailers see UCaaS as a viable digital solution for future growth and success. Highly adaptable and flexible, it meets and fulfils the need of retail businesses across many levels, providing owners, managers and employees with the tools needed to meet future challenges.
Read more: Telavox's solutions for retail companies