Digital Transformation: The Key to Success for Retail in a Recession
The U.S. economy is on the brink of a recession. Despite a strong labor market, negative GDP growth rates have led some to predict a 96 percent likelihood of a recession within the next year. Regardless of this outlook, Americans are still willing to shop — spending 17 percent more last Black Friday weekend than in 2021. While steep discounts attract buyers, they often mean slimmer margins for retailers, exemplifying the tightrope retailers must walk to stay successful in this challenging market.
While it may be attractive to some retailers to do all they can to save on costs during harder economic times, forward-thinking organizations will understand that investing in digital transformation technology like field service management (FSM) software will contribute to the company’s bottom line and maintain customer loyalty.
Rethink the Customer Journey
Customers are king in the retail environment, and it's important to conduct business and coordinate between clients and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in a way that's best for end-users. By 2023, 60 percent of all customer service engagements will be delivered through digital self-service channels. Customers expect online digital portals that have self-service capabilities that offer transparency into their order statuses, repair requests and invoice history.
FSM technology integrates into a retailer’s customer relationship management (CRM) software to migrate digital communication and client data to one centralized location. With customizable customer portals, retailers can empower clients to schedule repairs, installations and maintenance on their timetable and provide updates on technicians’ ETAs through any mobile device. Customer portals allow retailers to direct the customer journey well past the initial sales engagement, channeling leads for salespeople and managing end-to-end customer contact for better service and retention.
Enhance Technician Performance
Installation and repair technicians are the face of the retail company when onsite, and therefore must delight the customer with excellent service when on the job. However, 76 percent of customers are dissatisfied when a field technician cannot remedy a problem on the first visit. By leveraging insights from FSM and CRM information records, technicians can ensure that they have the proper tools, parts and skills to address a customer’s needs right away.
Software-driven comprehensive customer profiles also provide additional client background that can help personalize the retail experience. Onsite technicians can now have a secondary selling opportunity by offering newer models or extensions based on a specific client's past and current purchases, leading to better and more personalized service and increased revenue to build long-term financial viability.
Additionally, FSM can increase revenue through actionable data analytics. By tracking operational key performance indicators, collaborating with third parties on customer experience, and enhancing forecasting and planning, FSM offers data analytics that can unify reporting and map demand to capacity. This has been shown to increase service profits by up to 20 percent.
Furthermore, FSM can reduce expenses by increasing technician efficiency. Real-time GPS monitoring and optimized scheduling help minimize downtime between jobs and speed response time. Integrated contractor management can also help businesses expand capacity by incorporating third-party workforces without the hassle of external onboarding or dispatching systems. Investing in FSM technology provides retailers workforce efficiency and flexibility while expanding revenue-making opportunities for better service and growth.
In a tight market, it's imperative retailers invest in systems that allow them to deliver on customers’ expectations of reliability and desire for digital self-service. Leveraging digital tools like FSM will help satisfy these needs and increase retention and loyalty, which will boost overall Net Promoter scores for a brand and support sales, growth and an exceptional customer experience.
Brad Hawkins has been with ServicePower since 2004, where he currently serves as senior vice president of products and solutions and is responsible for operations, development and product management.
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Brad Hawkins is Senior Vice President of Products and Solutions at ServicePower and oversees product management and pre-sales engineering. A long-time veteran in the world of field service technology, Brad brings more than 20 years of experience in workforce management software.