Total Retail Talks
Total Retail Talks is for retail executives who crave the knowledge and insights needed to stay successful in today's fast-paced industry. Through engaging talks and focused interviews, listeners take away useful information and practical advice from a full roster of retail experts, influencers and leaders.

In episode 232 of Total Retail Talks, Editor-in-Chief Joe Keenan interviews Laurie Simpter, senior manager of customer relations at Pier 1 Imports, an omnichannel retailer of unique, decorative home furnishings, decor and gifts. Listen in as Simpter discusses the challenges many retailers face when handling customer service phone calls, including staffing, especially during peak holiday times. She shares that Pier 1 found a solution to these challenges by adding text messaging to its customer service channel portfolio, partnering with SMS vendor Quiq to gain a 360-degree view of the customer and develop automated messages, artificial intelligence-driven virtual assistant interactions, and live agent messaging. Simpter explains how Pier 1 is continuing to build its virtual assistant offerings, expanding to provide customers answers to FAQs or information on order status. She shares the various business benefits the home furnishings retailer has realized since it began offering SMS, including increased efficiency, cost savings, improved customer experience and more. Simpter also discusses future plans for expanding Pier 1 Imports use of technology in its customer service offerings.

Laurie Simpter is an experienced professional who has always had a passion for the retail industry. With over 35 years of retail experience and 18-plus years with Pier 1, she has worn many hats throughout her career and has utilized her broad experience to create a strategic vision for her team and drive for results. Her belief that customers are the centricity of all successful organizations has inspired her to lead with her heart and empower her employees to share their passion for the company and products with customers, while leveraging technology and improved processes to deliver strong financial results. As the senior manager of customer relations, Laurie has successfully led the effort to upgrade legacy technology, transition the contact center to over 95 percent work-from-home, improve service levels, drastically shrink turnover, and reduce payroll expenses by over 25 percent. In her free time, Laurie enjoys spending time with her family, attending Dallas Stars hockey games, and riding her horses.

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