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Empowering the frontline in mobile phone shops

It often amazes me that global telecommunication giants place young, barely-trained, temporary workers such as students as the visible face of the company in high streets up and down the land. As such, these often spotty youths just wanting to earn a bit of extra cash to see them through their studies are being placed in the front line as the primary touchpoint with customers.

With minimal training, they are being relied upon to not only ensure existing customers remain loyal, but are the ones being tasked with securing a deal for a new handset or a two year price plan that could run into several hundred pounds worth of revenue. Would the likes of BMW or Mazda do the same? Unlikely.

It is a dichotomy felt by all. This temporary worker labour force may be relatively cheap – leading to low operating expenses on the balance sheet – but businesses still need to ensure that they empower such staff with the knowledge that leads them to an acceptably high conversion rate of sales and prevents potential customers from walking out of the door and going to a competitor down the road.

Mobile operators are feeling the pressure to differentiate their customer service experience in a highly competitive industry. Short term promotions attract new customers, but do not always promote long-term brand loyalty. Operators can win over customer loyalty by keeping them engaged in solutions that satisfy their needs and lifestyle.

Every second counts

For many mobile customers, the retail store is the most frequently used point of service. Due to this popularity, traffic volume – especially during certain times of the day or year – can make it challenging to provide exceptional service without creating long wait times.

Sales representatives, temporary or otherwise, are up against the clock. On average they will have little more than ten minutes to invest with a potential customer; likely just a couple of minutes to introduce themselves and a couple of minutes for closure. This leaves a maximum of six minutes to actually sell the wares of the latest handset or price plan. It’s therefore imperative that they have any information they may need at their fingertips, empowering them with a clear understanding of a company’s messaging and associated product attributes.

With every second precious, any solution that can remove or reduce administrative actions, such as a CRM or booking system, means that the rep will have more time to engage with the customer and ultimately increase the likelihood of closing the deal.

A mobile society

The returns on taking the time to invest in staff are clear. This year, the number of smartphone users in the UK is estimated to reach 41.4 million. With most changing their handsets every couple of years, this means there is in the region of 20 million new customers that these temporary workers are responsible for each year.

Implementing the right tools ensures that sales reps can better serve their customers, increase their in-store experience and ultimately reduce customer churn to competitors. Integrating back end operations, both instore and at the call centre level, can increase efficiency by saving time to key in information into different systems.

Fostering loyalty

It’s not only when customers are looking to upgrade their phones that an empowered workforce is needed. Every mobile customer moves down a path from the point at which they purchase a phone until the time comes to move to the next, shiny new handset. Along this path, they have different needs – from gaining immediate productivity by transferring their old phone’s data to their new device, to getting the most out of their phone’s capabilities, quickly resolving problems, and ultimately getting some value for an older model through trade-in.

Whilst there are exceptions, most end user customers coming into a store with a handset issue are not overly technical and most visit without knowing what, if anything, is wrong. In situations like this, a solution that has easy to interpret colour-coded visual indicators and data outputs, can provide the sales rep the ability to present them with the facts in an easily digestible manner, thus fostering trust.

In one of our largest customers' stores – think colourful telecommunications giant – I witnessed frustrated customers presenting their devices to a sales rep to check if there is an issue with the device. The rep used our diagnostic tool and showed the customer the intuitive dashboard screen showing green visual indicators to prove that the device was running fine. By showing them the diagnosis session helped the rep reassure them that nothing was wrong.

Enriching the customer journey

The goal for operators is to help make the mobile customer’s journey an enjoyable, valuable experience that they want to take – with them and their front line staff – again and again. Mobile lifecycle solutions maximise productivity and create new revenue opportunities by attracting and retaining customers with unique services tailored to their needs. The solutions can not only empower the front line physical staff in-store, but ensure the same level of operations over-the-web, at a call centre tool or even via an on-device app.

Itsik Meromi-Cohen, ‎Director of Professional Services, Mobile Life Cycle at Cellebrite