Omnichannel Is Now More Important Than Ever

Illustrations of online shopping activities

Not only has COVID-19 impacted our everyday lives, it has had many unintended and unexpected consequences on the business world. Most strikingly, it has highlighted the pain-points that exist in sales channels and business processes, especially in the telco industry.

A lot of retailers are coming to the same unfortunate conclusion: they haven’t implemented contingency plans for an event like COVID-19, where the conventional retail method of the brick and mortar store isn’t possible. Simply put, they have no omnichannel capabilities or strategies in place to cope.

The Issues

Retail, sadly, has been hit hard by this global pandemic. Retailers are left wanting to support their existing customers and offer a high level of service to potential new customers to minimise the impact on sales and revenues - but doing so is not easy.

It is almost impossible to serve your customers and potential customers when your methods of trading and communication are inaccessible (i.e. when you are forced to close your physical retail stores).

By having zero or limited omnichannel journeys in place, retailers are experiencing a steep drop in revenue and an explosion of negative customer experiences. While it is difficult to plan for something this challenging, all retailers in 2020 should be able to adapt by leveraging other sales channels, supplemented by fast contactless shipping, video device setup and remote methods of communication.

Global Best Practices & The Potential Solutions

While many are in the situation outlined above, there are some telcos across the world that have been able to fulfil customer orders and offer a high standard of service and post-sales care during these unique and difficult times.

One that stands out is Rogers in Canada. Rogers has created a solution with their patented Rogers Pro On-the-Go service. The solution enables Rogers to deliver devices in a matter of hours and offer a personal 1:1 set up. Here, the company itself is offering support around the clock for customers who are trying purchase a new device and get it running.

Another is T-Mobile in the USA. T-Mobile has implemented in-store and curbside pickup so customers can abide by social distancing rules. They have transitioned over 2,200 retail employees into virtual Retail-Mobile Experts, who now live chat with customers to connect them to stores to arrange in-store and curbside pick-up. And, they’ve made device shipping free until mid-May.

In the UK, Vodafone offers free next day delivery (when customers order before 10 p.m.) and they have supplied their retail employees with laptops and tablets to facilitate web chat sales and service queries. Also, Vodafone has increased the level of activity on their YouTube channel in an effort to educate customers on the range of products and services offered.

These are great examples of telcos adapting their business practices and leveraging different sales channels. The best part? These solutions are not that difficult to implement.

Little Details, Big Difference

By implementing processes like the ones mentioned above, retailers can set themselves apart from their competitors. These gestures and changes show adaptability and prove they are invested in providing a great customer experience, no matter what.

Offering customers an omnichannel journey empowers them to control their own experience. The customer has the power to access the products, services, and support options on demand. This enables convenience, facilitates personalisation, and drives loyalty. Customers in this day and age expect this level of service and will continue to do so post COVID-19. If you are not at this level, I strongly suggest you act now.

The retailers that will survive the post-pandemic world are the ones who recognise the limitations of a reduced trading footprint – and have implemented solutions to enable new customer journeys.

It’s Not New News

The concept of omnichannel was first introduced to the world in 2010 (yes, it really was 10 years ago!) but many retailers are still a long way from getting it right. This pandemic has heightened the importance of connecting all sales channels for many retailers and emphasises the importance of a having a Transact Anywhere philosophy at the core of their strategy.

If you want to chat about how I can help you achieve this, or any other change and transformation aspirations, you can reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. Until next time!

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