One of my most embarrassing moments as chief executive of Carphone Warehouse was when The Ray Darcy Show did a piece on ‘the mobile phone shop that doesn’t have a phone’. They were referring to Carphone Warehouse in Liffey Valley. A listener of the show had rung in to say they had an issue and had been trying to call the shop to no avail.
We had phones in Liffey Valley, however, it was the second busiest shop in Carphone Group and our sales colleagues had a constant queue of customers in store. Our colleagues never had time to answer the phones. Leadership were unaware the phones were not answered as there was no analytics with the phone system.
How many customers did we drive into our competitors by not answering the call. How much hassle and annoyance did we create for our colleagues with phones consistently ringing when they did not have the time to answer them. I can only imagine how infuriating this was for customers.
There were three losers here – our customers, our colleagues and the company.
Unified Communications could have helped solve this problem:
With real time, call analytics available centrally for all stores
more effective store rostering using analytics
Automatic call-forwarding rules, routing calls to quieter stores
Automatic routing of repair, insurance, stock and warranty calls direct to relevant departments
Customers choosing the channel they prefer to communicate on – phone, tweet, chat, email, IM, social media
Another metric to help improve NPS
Single view of the customer regardless of channel
Integration into CRM providing invaluable insights
IM, collaboration and video conferencing enabling effective internal communications
Shoppers demand real-time engagement, and retailers that employ unified communications and collaboration solutions are better positioned to deliver effortless experiences across touch points.
For instance, a shopper seeking product information may launch an enquiry via chatbot, move to a human-powered chat experience and transition to a phone or video conversation with an associate or agent, who then collaborates with other employees to respond.
Typically, this requires three or more technologies with different user experiences, creating an uneven journey for both shopper and associate.
With unified communications and collaboration solutions, retailers manage interactions on a common platform that enables an effortless exchange between shoppers and associates.
Workair (workair.ie) is the largest unified communications specialist in Ireland. It works with global leaders in unified communication and is an expert in every aspect of its platforms. Workair offers impartial advice and breaks down each company‘s needs and pairs those needs with the perfect platform.
All its platforms are recognised globally as leaders in unified communications; they are vigilant about security, publicly listed, genuine cloud, easy to use and do not require any Capex.
Workair consults with the client, recommends a solution, installs that solution, launches the solution and supports the solution for the life of the agreement.
One of Workair’s partners, RingCentral, has been chosen to provide unified communications solutions to Waitrose and John Lewis partnership. Waitrose and John Lewis have 340 stores and 80,000 partners. Waitrose wanted a SaaS solution, that was agile, quick to deploy and provided every partner with access to telephony, IM, video calls and collaboration on their multi-function hand-held devices.
The RingCentral solution has provided each partner with better internal communications, the ability to provide a better customer service and has reduced costs for the group. There are three winners here – customers, partners and the Waitrose/John Lewis partnership.
Stephen Mackarel is the founder and chief executive of Workair (workair.ie). Workair makes world-class, hyper-secure, multi-channel communication solutions available and accessible to all businesses. He is an experienced retailer, having led Carphone Warehouse from one shop to a household brand name in Ireland with a turnover of over €110 million. He is a chartered director and former board member of Retail Excellence Ireland