Many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers find themselves in a tricky spot to begin 2023. As society continues to re-adjust to a post-pandemic world, retailers have struggled to maintain previous levels of customer service in their stores. This begs this question: should retailer’s be elevating their digital connections?
In Theatro’s 2023 Retail Customer Experience Survey, 41% of respondents said their shopping experiences are “less enjoyable” than they were prior to Covid, with 64% citing poorly trained or prepared retail staff and 60% blaming inadequate staffing levels.
While this alarming statistic certainly represents an industry-wide failure by retailers, it also should be seen as a fervent call to action. The most successful organizations will recognize this as an opportunity to jump out in front of their competition. Until retailers begin to meet the service expectations of their customer base, shoppers will grow further dissatisfied, and ultimately sales will dwindle.
Failing to Meet Customer Standards
While there are a great many factors that can negatively affect customer service, the customer experience survey identified three areas that retailers have particularly struggled with in recent years. Among the many responses, staffing levels and training, pricing and product availability, and speed of service appeared most frequently. Essentially, above all else, customers want speed, optionality and accuracy.
It is no secret that the current country-wide labor shortage among hourly workers has played a significant role in this damaging trend. Many could point to these labor challenges as the direct cause for the slower, inadequate, or limited service, as described by customers in the survey. Unfortunately, the labor shortage is very real and not going anywhere soon. By now, retailers have likely discovered that increasing hiring across stores isn’t a realistic or cost-effective solution right now. They must look to other methods to address a problem that demands immediate attention.
Tackling Modern Problems with Modern Solutions
It is no wonder that customers are so consistently frustrated these days. While advanced technology has become vital to nearly every industry in the 21st century, retail workers have largely gone ignored. Hourly workers typically rely on outdated walkie-talkies and other legacy solutions that sometimes can cause more problems than they solve.
In an age of streamlined work processes, instant access to information at the touch of a screen, and so many new and readily-available digital experiences, retailers struggle to offer the same immediacy and personalization in their service that customers have grown accustomed to from other industries.
Retailers can cover these service gaps through innovation and a modernized store front. Modernization will look different for every organization. For some, the next step may be connecting every associate in-store to streamline communication and teamwork. For others further along the digital transformation process, many advanced solutions exist to drive customer service including:
- QR Codes can be leveraged to trigger digital workflows that allow customers to request service right from their phone—anywhere inside or outside of the store.
- Smart Camera Integrations help fill coverage gaps by automatically alerting team members of the areas of the store that most need their help.
- Omni-Channel & Curbside Workflows rapidly accelerate order the pick-up process for both associates and customers by utilizing alerts, reminders, and enhanced visibility into order details.
Make Digital Connections with Theatro!
As one of the industry’s leading retail software companies, Theatro strives to help its clients modernize its stores and workforce to drive speed of service and create consistently standout in-store experiences.
Theatro’s Mobile Communication Platform connects the entire enterprise—from seasonal workers all the way up to the HQ. Not only does it provide teams with the ability to connect to one another or the information they need, but it also unlocks a litany of automated workflows that keep teams focused on customers instead of manual tasks.
Creating a well-informed, connected, and equipped frontline workforce is key to optimizing store performance and consistently delivering on customer demands. Theatro partners with many of retail’s most notable brands to achieve this success day in and day out.
And together, they are upping the ante even further by challenging the status quo and driving innovation in stores like never before. From creating digital connections and delivering personalized customer experiences to increasing employee productivity and engagement, Theatro drives effective frontline digital transformation like no other. Connect with Theatro today to schedule a demo or learn more!