2022 was a year of unprecedented challenges for telecom retail.
Retail in 2021 experienced a surge in sales across all categories as consumers returned to in-store shopping. However, runaway inflation in 2022 saw a sharp reversal as retailer costs skyrocketed and consumers reduced spending across all categories. Additionally, continued supply chain woes saw some retailers continuing to struggle with stockouts even as others are trying to clear large amounts of excess inventory.
In such turbulent market conditions, businesses that want to remain competitive will need to retain the loyalty of the customers that they already have. This means keeping up with rapidly evolving consumer expectations for customer service — even as the pandemic has radically changed the way that consumers shop for devices.
So how can wireless retailers meet customer expectations and provide great consumer experiences? Here are wireless retail trends to stay on top of for 2023.
1. Understanding Your Customers Is Key
With the typical buyer’s journey now spanning multiple channels, it’s no longer enough to have a disjointed view of your customers:
- 94% of consumers are frustrated by disjointed experiences across a brand
- 54% of consumers will stop using a brand after just one bad experience.
Retailers need to have systems that offer a 360-degree view of their customers. Businesses that are able to understand their customers’ needs will have a major advantage — Gartner projects that by 2024 these companies will outperform competitors’ CX metrics by 20%.
2. Efficient Processes Are Mandatory
Today’s consumers are loyal to experiences, not brands, and will jump ship if they think they can get a better experience somewhere else. The top indicator of a bad experience? Wasting their time.
- Consumers are unlikely to join a queue if more than seven people are in line
- 86% of consumers have left a store because of frustration about slow lines
- 74% of consumers will go to a competitor’s store if they feel like the queues are shorter there
- 73% of customers will leave without making a purchase if they have to wait more than five minutes
Optimizing store tools and processes is no longer optional. Businesses need to do what it takes to implement systems that improve transaction times and reduce frustrations like needing to enter the same information multiple times.
3. Employee Experience is Just as Important as Customer Experience
Employee turnover rates of 50% or more have been the reality in retail for years. The added stresses of the pandemic have only served to increase retail employee churn to an average of 60%, as many retail employees are attempting to leave the sector entirely. A September 2022 report from McKinsey showed more than half of frontline retail workers and nearly two thirds of frontline retail managers were thinking of leaving their jobs in the next few months.
However, improving employee experience isn’t just about ensuring that stores have adequate staff to reduce long wait times. Data shows that investing in better employee experience directly improves customer satisfaction and sales and reduces employee turnover.
Businesses with highly engaged teams outperform less engaged competitors with:
- 5% higher rates of customer satisfaction
- 10% higher likelihood of customer recommendation
- 8% higher sales
- 18% lower employee turnover
A key part of improving employee experience in wireless retail is ensuring that employees have the tools that empower them to provide the best customer experience possible, without extra obstacles to seamless customer interactions. Research shows that employees “dissatisfied with their work technology […] are more than twice as likely as those who are satisfied to say they feel burned out at work, and half as likely to say they’re generally happy with their work.”
TL;DR – Stop Annoying Customers and Employees With Bad Processes and Tools
Customers hate it when you waste their time, either through long wait times or inefficient processes such as multiple entry of the same information. Meanwhile, wireless retail employees hate being blamed for negative experiences caused by clunky and disjointed systems.
Making investments to improve employee engagement and remove roadblocks to providing excellent customer service can go a long way toward giving your business the competitive advantage it needs to stay ahead in what could be another turbulent year.