Streamlining services for smarter shopping

Are we all getting ready for the season of goodwill, holidays, overindulgence in food and drink and total immersion in retail therapy – aka shopping? Aren’t many of us doing this shopping from the cozy lounges of our homes on our mobile devices? But, is your mobile operator doing enough to offer  seamless, omni-channel shopping experience?

With Black Friday now upon us, Cyber Monday hard on its heels (traditionally, the former was brick-and-mortar spend, and the latter online, but read on…) and then the inevitable, stress-inducing and increasingly panic-stricken, countdown of ‘only xx shopping days left’ to Christmas – frankly we’re already looking forward to January.

No, really we love the festive season, and choosing and buying gifts for family and friends isn’t really a chore, especially as the Internet enables us to browse from our sofa. According to the Centre for Retail Research, e-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe, with retail spending in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain expected to grow more than 18 per cent this year to a whopping €185.39bn.

And let’s face it, we’re moving firmly in the direction of the mobile device for getting online. Ofcom has officially branded the UK ‘a smartphone society’ as our phones overtake laptops as the UK internet users’ preferred device, so it’s a good bet that a shiny new smartphone will be on many people’s Christmas list. That means there will be a huge spike in enquiries to mobile phone retailers and service providers, a sector that struggles at the best of times to produce acceptable levels of customer service.

The problem, as so often is the case, is that what consumers could logically expect in these connected times doesn’t correlate with the actual experience. ‘Connected’ should mean – well – connected.

There are multiple ways of interacting online. You could simply visit the website of the service provider, and choose the new phone or price plan that you’re planning to give as a gift. Simple. But – you might also want to check product reviews. It would be sensible to compare prices on price comparison sites. You could log in to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook from your mobile and share your top choices with friends, see what they like, get feedback on their favorites. You could even – see the opening paragraph – visit the brick-and-mortar retail phone shop.

Consumers and business users alike interact with their service provider companies in many ways, but too often these different channels for customer service are not joined up at all – the systems do not link a Twitter username to a customer name for example. As a result, you might have multiple, unconnected profiles on your service provider’s system – wasting your time, and theirs.

We’re all increasingly pushed for time, especially at this time of year, but if you’re making a significant purchase then research is essential. So wouldn’t it be really, really helpful if all those methods of interaction were somehow linked, and the results of the research that you’d spent valuable time on were not lost in cyberspace, but remembered?

That’s the omni-channel vision – the delivery of a consistent, accurate service to customers whether they enquire in-store, online, over the phone, via email, social media or a service provider app, and it’s enabled by our Veris Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution.

Veris CRM collates and integrates your information to ensure that an up-to-date single consolidated view of your interaction with your service provider is always available to all channels. So if you raise a query or place an order online, you could also visit the retail store to ask for an update or to change or collect your order, with all your history and details readily available whenever, wherever and however you have connected. Not only does this mean proper joined-up customer service, but independent research shows it can also realise €billions of OPEX savings to the mobile operators.

So if your mobile operator doesn’t offer you an omni-channel experience, perhaps you should point them to this blog. Happy holidays!

Article written by Mohammed Sha, Asia Info