Part Two: How Wireless Brick and Mortars Can Adjust During COVID-19

In part one of this series, we went over how your wireless retail business can use this time to adjust and get ready for when business returns to normal.

In part two, we’ll be going over how to implement agile services to drive sales and enhance the customer experience. With customer foot traffic potentially lower into the foreseeable future, I want to encourage you to put an extra focus on maintaining your customer relationships and getting creative with your “methods” of selling/delivery. Ultimately, I want your customers thinking about the great experience they had with you instead of going to your competitors.

Here are a few things you can do immediately in RQ to help you and your staff with customer outreach and maintaining the customer relationship. 

Before we get started...

Here are some questions to ask yourself as an operator:

How does my carrier allow me to reach out to customers?  For most, there are strict guidelines on customer outreach via text, phone call, or email.  On top of these guidelines, you also don’t want to come across as “spammy” to the customer in general. That is a quick way to get no response or sent to voicemail. Once you know what you can and can’t do, then take some of these best practices and cater them to your business.

Are my stores remaining open, offering limited hours, closed, or a combination? Currently, most wireless stores are considered “critical.” But while you may be open, you still may have less retail traffic due to social distancing, shorter hours, etc. 

Do I have staffing to implement additional services such as curb side meet ups or delivery? It’s all about logistics here and every operator is going to be different. 

Services now being offered and tips on implementation

Here is a sampling of extended services we’re seeing being offered.

Create a call center: I’m hearing from a lot of our clients that they’re dedicating staff to handle incoming phone calls, which is a great idea. Focus your phone lines for consultations, appointments, and other opportunities to customers who can’t make it out and let your customers know that you have staff available to take these calls. This way, you provide the same level of service they would receive face-to-face in the store.

You can use your store number or potentially an active demo phone or other service to consistently offer the same services you would in person. Additionally, you can utilize manual payment processing over the phone to transact sales even prior to the customer coming into your store.     

Curbside Service: Curbside service isn’t unique to grocery or restaurants; this is also being successfully applied in the world of cellular retail.

There are two parts to this service. The first, and most important one, is the conversation over the phone prior to the customer arriving to pick up what they have “ordered.”  Logistically, this could work many ways, but for efficiency sake you should create a form or checklist that creates a documented snapshot of what the rep and customer have talked about, including:

  • Name, phone number
  • Time to pick up
  • Customer info
  • Device/RP info (if applicable)
  • Type of car

Trade-ins and validating the customer are also very important and add layers of complexity, given you are talking to the customer over the phone. So, while you can get everything ready, it’s also important to set expectations on the process once the customer arrives and how long they should expect to wait. 

Once you have everything ready and the customer arrives, you’ll need to conduct the next steps:

  • Verify your customer and their account info (ID, PIN Code, etc.)
  • Validate the condition of a trade in, and
  • Process the sale using cash or credit card.

Processing the sale will depend on what method of payments you’re currently leveraging. You may have RQmobile with a wireless payment device or you may have to go back into the store to process certain pieces on a desktop. 

If you’re enabled with RQmobile, consider taking its mobile payment device right at the curb. It is upon each dealer to you on what works best and is most efficient business practice. Either way, you are now offering a “service” that allows the customer to sit in the comfort of their vehicle while the salesperson is getting everything ready. 

Delivery service: As stores close due to mandate/precaution, employees are being re-purposed. Over-the-phone inbound sales and scheduled delivery seems like the new normal in some industries, and while there might be limitations to what you can do based on your carrier agreement, there is potential to drive sales via this service. Things to consider:

  • Insurance (are you covered), mileage expense, customer validation and payment, and device responsibility.
  • Keep delivery service simple and restricted to certain transaction types.
  • Utilize manual running credit cards over the phone and validating with your payment processor. If you have RQmobile, do you have a hotspot to allow for payments at the delivery site?   
  • ID checks are important as well; are you able to send and receive encrypted messaging (email/text) with ID info as a preliminary validation and then have the delivery person do a on-site validation?
  • Create some measure of checks and balances for the person leaving the store with any device for delivery. This could be as simple as a sign out sheet.

Mail service: Similarly to the different methods above, having a customer pay over the phone and then have a device shipped is another option you can offer your customers. Many carriers provide direct fulfillment in store or even dropship directly to the customer’s home. This helps you keep the sale within your organization instead of a customer going directly to the carrier’s online site. 

There is a cost to ship, but this is a small expense when you consider the extra logistics and costs to operate a delivery service. Shipping a device can be done from the store, is insurable, and some of the expense could even be passed on to the customer. 

The shipments would need to be documented for tracking and then instructions need to be prepared for the customer in the case of steps or actions they need to take once they receive the package.  Ideally, the same person you have dedicated to the phones is going to transact and be responsible for shipping.       

Existing functionality being utilized to help drive sales to the new service points

We are getting field feedback that authorized retailers are using RQ Marketing campaigns and outbound calling to inform customers of new curbside pickup, telesales, etc. 

Additionally, we’ve heard that outbound calls doing customer checkups (Asking customers questions like “how is your service?” or “do you have any questions about your service/bill/device?”) are also generating opportunities and sales.  

There are some benefits to using Marketing Campaigns vs. call backs. Marketing campaigns specifically offer the ability to generate lists on much more particular criteria than call backs. Either way, the goal here is to maintain that high level of customer service:  

  1. Set up Call Back triggers in RQ to generate call back lists for your reps on a systematic basis. These are trackable and can be used to document conversations, sales, and activities. Clients of iQmetrix can find Call Back Setup documentation, here.

  2. Run Marketing Campaign Lists for Outbound Calling Initiatives. By using RQ's Intelligent Marketing features, marketing professionals can automate, personalize, and manage marketing campaigns. iQmetrix clients can find documentaton for this, here and here.
  3. Setup Marketing Surveys in RQ. These are created in parallel with a campaign to give you a question to ask each customer on why/how they have come in to purchase. This feature allows the user to gather very specific marketing information at the POS.
  4. Setup the Sales Message popup. This will quickly implement a reminder for your front-line staff to mention additional products, services, or initiatives when designated SKU's are added to the shopping cart.  

Putting it all together

These are just a few things you can do immediately in RQ to help you and your staff with customer outreach and maintaining the customer relationship. The end goal is to drive additional opportunities to your store, your curbside pickup, your tele-sale initiatives, or any other creative ways you might be getting products to customers during this unprecedented situation.  

We understand your operations are likely undergoing a significant impact due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the limited capacity to come together with your customers. That’s why we’ve compiled helpful resources that can aid in your business navigating this quickly changing situation and the effect it’s having on the retail environment. 

View COVID-19 Resources