An 'Old' Technology Just Might Help Retailers Battle the Labor Shortage
Frontline employees are vital to a retailer's operation. The quality of a customer's experience is directly related to the level of employee engagement. When customers need assistance, they expect fast, reliable service and they shouldn't have to look all over the store for help.
Unfortunately, customers are often left with no other option than to walk the aisles to find assistance. With historically high turnover rates continuing into 2022, retail employees are stretched way too thin. And with customer expectations rapidly increasing, retailers simply can’t hire quickly enough to fill the expanding schedule. Not only does this cause retailers to miss out on sales and service opportunities, but it also adds to the challenges short-staffed teams face already. This is clearly a perfect storm directly impacting employee engagement and customer experience across all retailers.
Retailers Are Looking to Technologies for Resolution
To alleviate this challenge, some retailers have tried leveraging legacy, hard button solutions to give customers a way to request assistance right from the location it’s needed. However, these solutions are expensive to buy and create a nightmare for IT teams to manage and support. And aside from functioning as a mere in-aisle doorbell, customers risk embarrassment from sounding the alarm without assurance that an associate will even respond. Ultimately, hard button solutions force customers back to square one, and further proves the need for a solution that can accelerate service and digital transformation throughout the store.
Many are looking to an "old" technology that’s growing quickly to ease the pinch of the retail labor shortage and its grave impact on customer experience.
Resurgence of the QR Code
QR codes have been around since 1994, and after making a huge resurgence in recognition have become a great way for stores to ensure fast and efficient customer assistance. Using a camera-equipped smart device (no special app needed), scanning QR codes gives customers and employees quick access to all the needed information. It often provides feedback, notifying the customer their request was received and help is coming.
Everywhere from local coffee shops to gyms have streamlined service capabilities with QR codes because of how easily they can be implemented. QR codes are revolutionizing how frontline teams handle requests for customers assistance with closed-loop automation.
Getting Strategic With QR Codes
QR codes can deliver more than product information. Strategically placing QR codes inside and outside a store provides customers a simple way to request assistance when it’s needed and, even more importantly, get a response back. And unlike expensive hard buttons or tablets that require a power supply, QR codes can be placed anywhere for added customer convenience. Interestingly, major retailers such as Whole Foods, Macy's, Target, and Walmart are experimenting with QR codes that track customer purchases, apply coupons, and allow customer checkout without waiting in line.
Using QR codes across the store to support customer assistance requests enables retailers to make changes quickly and easily as customer demands change. This optimizes employee retention and engagement, which in turn enhances the customer experience. QR codes supporting customer requests allow employees to be in the right place with the right information every time.
QR codes are:
- inexpensive to create and deploy;
- versatile for multiple use across the store;
- easy to implement and use;
- trackable and measurable; and
- able to access dynamic content (like checking inventory).
It’s no wonder retailers are turning to this “old” technology to battle the labor shortage and boost the customer experience at the same time. QR codes are revolutionizing how frontline teams handle requests for customer assistance as well as helping to optimize labor across the store.
Kimberley Drobny is the chief marketing officer of Theatro, pioneer of the world’s first voice-controlled mobile communications platform connecting employees to resources across their enterprise.
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Kimberley Drobny is an experienced marketing and sales executive with a passion for creating dynamic and engaging customer experiences across all channels. Throughout her career, she has led high-performance teams to support strategic initiatives across the enterprise to increase brand awareness and impact overall business growth. As the CMO at Theatro, she is focused on breaking into new markets and helping enterprises digitally transform frontline communications.