New generations of telco customers are changing retail forever. As Generations Z and Alpha enter the market, they are revolutionizing everything – including marketing, products and retail experiences.
A major theme is their desire for incredible in-store experiences. Yes, the online-generation still loves to shop in-store! The difference is that they won’t settle for subpar interactions. And since they have no brand loyalty, if their expectations aren’t met, they will have no problem going elsewhere.
Born between 1995 and 2010, Gen Z’s live a hyper-connected, on-demand lifestyle that centres around their devices. With a 97% device penetration rate, the Z’s retail expectations are radically different from any generation before them.
Immediately following the Z’s are the Alphas. Born between 2010 and 2025, these kids are already as tech savvy than the average adult. As the children of millennials, these kids are exposed to cutting-edge technology at home, and most already have their own device by age 4.
These new generations have high expectations when it comes to their retail experience. They want their visit to be quick, efficient, and entertaining. By pursuing their digital transformations, telcos can leverage connected retail platforms to enable a great in-store experience.
Store design also plays a key role in “an experience-first” model. But no matter how well designed your store is, or how many fancy interactive displays you have, the interactions customers that have with staff have a large impact on their impressions of the experience. A great experience will ensure they return again; a bad one, and they may stay away for good.
In a few years, the Alphas will have even higher expectations around in-store interactions. Instead of a typical salesperson, they will want someone who is more like a “personal vision coach” – someone who is dedicated to helping them find products and services that solve their unique issues. In a previous blog on personalization, we explored how important it is to offer products and experiences that can be tailored to the customer; when in-store, your staff fulfill this experience.
The key to a great experience is your salespeople. They are the heart of your business, and the ambassadors of your brand. Their performance dictates how customers feel about your business, how much money they spend, and whether they will return. The better your salespeople, the better off your business will be.
Being a good salesperson is not something that always comes naturally. Many telco salespeople have never received formal training and are missing crucial insights that prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Here are 6 things your staff should be doing to enable great experiences.
The customer should be the focus of every transaction. Staff should get to know the customer and their needs. They should be able to recommend solutions that will solve a challenge the customer is having. To do this, staff need to know the features of every product, and be able to talk about them in a compelling way that shows how the product will improve the customer’s life. This personal interaction is very important to Gen Zs.
Everyone has a different shopping style. Some want to learn about every feature of a product, and some may just want the trendiest item. Great salespeople are able to identify the type of customer they are working with and adapt their selling style according. The act of selling to someone who is very logical versus selling to someone who just wants a quick decision will look very different. If you fail to identify who you’re selling to, the experience will suffer. Imagine discussing the full breadth of technical features with someone who just wants to get in and out; their impression of the experience will not be positive.
Greeters, salespeople, cashiers, managers – they all have a clear purpose within the store. Each position supports the journey the customer takes in their own way. Without a clear understanding of one’s duties and how they fit into the larger picture, the smooth customer journey through the store will be impeded. Young customers want their experience to be very quick and seamless – any disjointed roles will undermine this.
We are surrounded by noise and words, but do we really listen? Good salespeople are able to listen attentively and use body language to communicate their attention to the customer. Without good listening skills, they won’t understand what the customer is looking for, and won’t be able to recommend the right product. Gen Zs have high expectations around being understood and won’t tolerate miscommunication.
Many telco salespeople fail to upsell and cross sell effectively. Accessories are extremely profitable in the telco industry – don’t leave money on the table! Your salespeople should know how to recommend upsells and cross sells that make sense – when they do, they can enhance the customer experience rather than detract from it. Recommending the right accessories will augment the experience for the Gen Z customer, especially if it’s something that fits within their image, or solves a pain point for them. Pro tip: Great retail systems can help in this area by reminding your salespeople of compatible accessories when an item has been added to the basket.
There are many ways to close a sale. Good salespeople are well versed in multiple strategies that appeal to different customer types. They also are able to read body language signals to overcome objections. Without a good close, customers may walk away to “think about it”, putting the sale in jeopardy.
Your salespeople are the face of your business. In order to delight young customers with your in-store experience, your sales staff need to be at the top of their game. Having the right strategies allows them to guide the sale in a confident way while ensuring profitability.
While this concept is simple in theory, it can be more challenging to put it into practice. For telcos who are struggling with some of the aforementioned approaches, we strongly recommend that they pursue an industry-specific sales training course to bring their staff are up to speed. It’s an upfront investment that pays for itself in short order.
It’s also essential to learn as much about the expectations of young customers as possible. As the retail landscape continues to shift and evolve, this knowledge is imperative to telcos as they similarly develop their offerings and experiences.
As always, it’s important that telcos pursue their digital transformation so their staff are backed by connected retail systems that support a great experience.