November 23, 2020

While the Rest of the World Is Slowing Down, Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

By Ryan Gale

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A broken record, but COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a global slowdown of economic activity. As constraints on people’s movements and social distancing measures in place continue, retailers are feeling the impact first-hand, especially now as the holiday shopping season is upon us. As the physical world of retail slows down, retailers can’t afford to wait for business to return to “normal.  Instead, they must adapt their operations not only to comply with health and safety regulations, but to meet fluid digital customer expectations.

Adapting to New Digital Shopping Trends

Competition was already fierce against Amazon and other ecommerce players pre-pandemic. Those challenges have now accelerated at a staggering speed, and retailers need to adapt by improving their own digital and integrated service offerings such as with new delivery and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) options. 

To do so, they must make sure customer communication, support and service channels are well-integrated, robust, high functioning, streamlined and efficient. This is important not only to survive the current health and economic crisis, but to thrive after it – as research from McKinsey shows, many consumers intend to keep the behaviors they’ve adopted during the pandemic, such as more online and BOPIS shopping and fewer visits to physical stores.  

 

The long and the short of it is that retailers can’t linger around in “wait and see” mode. The new normal is already being written – and it’s a clear-cut case of adapt or die.

First, they need to facilitate the types of shopping customers are demanding, and then turn their attention to taking their customer experience efforts to the next level. 

Only a robust, powerful and feature-rich retail phone system with unified communications tools will enable retailers to meet the fast-diversifying communication needs of the multi-channel customer.

Improving Customer Communications with UCaaS Retail Phone Systems 

More digital shopping, more deliveries, and more curbside pickups mean less facetime with in-store employees. However, they also mean more remote interactions with customer support and service agents via phone, email, and other digital channels such as live chat and text. 

The challenge for retailers is to provide customers with the remote support they need across multiple communication channels, as well as the level of customer experience consumers expect when visiting a store. 

A cloud-based retail phone system with integrated Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is the answer. UCaaS provides retailers with multiple customer communication channels – phone, email, live web chat, SMS, MMS, video conferencing, and more – and combines them under one unified system. In addition, it integrates seamlessly with other parts of your tech stack such as your CRM. This means that no matter how customers contact you – to inquire about inventory, product features, store policies, shipping procedures, home delivery or curbside pickup – the agent is presented with real-time information about the customer and his/her order history so the issue can be resolved quickly. Agents can update customer account information while dealing with the customer, and can even set reminders for follow-up calls and set other actions to be taken. This allows every interaction with every customer to be personalized, while keeping records of all customer activity updated. 

For retailers looking to rapidly update their business phone system to keep pace with the speed of change, net2phone offers a powerful UCaaS solution. Complete with state-of-the-art desk phone, feature-rich mobile app, leading-edge video conferencing platform Huddle, plus CRM integration, live chat, SMS, MMS, call forwarding, routing and recording functionality, our solution provides a truly unified communications system for retailers.

 

Retail UCaaS Resources:

Managing  the Retail Customer Experience

Planning Retail Communication Strategies Ahead of an Unprecedented Holiday Shopping Season

 

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