A new Teleperformance blogger Peter Champion joins the online debate… Peter is Sales Director at TP and you can reach him here…
The Oxford Institute of Retail Management at Said Business School recently announced the launch of an 18-month study into the future of retail, coming at a time when the market is challenged by the recession and changing because of social media and customer expectations.
Dr Richard Cuthbertson, director of the Institute, claims that the regular retail model is broken. He said: “[there will be] redundancies, bankruptcies and takeovers, as retailers try to adjust to new channels and formats, reduce costs, improve efficiency and survive.” Dr Cuthbertson added: “At the same time, emerging technologies are providing the best retailers with new opportunities to interact with customers, with greater potential to improve service, and increase loyalty, sales, and profitability.”
The problem for many retailers is dealing with the challenges of a multichannel world where customers expect to be able to interact with your brand online in the same way the can in the High Street.
“Few retailers have yet developed a convincing strategic approach to effectively marrying online and in-store retail, and are failing to explore the opportunities the two platforms could present if aligned,” continued Dr Cuthbertson. “For many retailers the two platforms are only loosely related at best, and at worst, they actually compete with each other.”
These are difficult times for retailers, but the exact problem Dr Cuthbertson is describing is an area that Teleperformance has been exploring for a long time. For many years now we have excelled at providing both telephone and chat-based support to customers, making the link between the service of a store and the ease of a retail website far closer.
Now that customers are expecting to engage with brands without even going to their website we are going further in what we can do. Our ePerformance product allows us to monitor online discussion about a brand – complaints or praise for example. We can analyse that discussion and filter out what is important or needs to be actioned, and we can even undertake the online client engagement, marrying this online activity with more traditional voice-based support.
Dr Cuthbertson is right in many ways – retail is undergoing a fundamental change, but there are some in the market already mapping how customers will interact with brands, now and in the future.
Photo by BIS licensed under Creative Commons