Technology is the saviour of traditional customer service

It’s no secret that Britain’s shoppers are getting smarter. Price is a key factor, as today’s customers become savvier than ever before when it comes to finding a bargain. What plays just as important a role, though, is good old-fashioned customer service.

A recent survey by Imperial College and retail experience company Red Ant found that 38% of those questioned would leave a store if a shop assistant doesn’t return in three minutes to answer their query. Meanwhile, 37% revealed that staff members’ lack of product knowledge was the most irritating thing about in-store shopping.

Shoppers have a genuine desire to see high street shopping remain. They expect old-fashioned values and standards as part of that experience, but they also want a modern twist to accommodate 21st century demands. The use of tablets by staff can often be used to access a bank of product knowledge – which 34% of respondents to the survey agreed would improve the situation.

Shop assistants are under continual pressure to perform and to consistently provide quality customer service to all shoppers throughout the day, with little time to learn the background on each and every product. Fortunately, new technology is able to enhance the customer experience by arming staff with that knowledge. It frees up staff time by speeding up the service, and leaves customers happier with their shop.

Technology is becoming increasingly customer facing, as a way to simultaneously engage customers and make operational processes more efficient. The Tensator Virtual Assistant, for example, is a next generation digital signage solution that provides an in-store ‘wow factor’ to capture shoppers’ attention. This solution can handle routine tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions and giving consistently accurate product details – freeing the sales staff to focus on more detailed and complex queries.

This has been shown in the Grafton shopping centre in Cambridge, which took delivery of a Virtual Assistant Ultra earlier this summer. Located in the centre’s main hall, it gives shoppers information on offers from various retailers, creating numerous extra sales. As the centre managers observed, it created a splash with a wide cross-section of curious shoppers.

This type of immersive experience is what allows brands and retailers to provide the detailed level of customer experience that goes back decades, whilst also performing under the modern demands of 21st century retailing.


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