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Mobile Retail Special 310316

We’ve moved away from the grab and go pre-pay, which of course plays into our hands. This is an important decision for people, now we spend time with them getting them their phone, setting them up, establishing the services we offer. More inspiring and comfortable environments are part of this Andrew Harrison, deputy CEO, Dixons Carphone different, there will be a mixture of part time and full time staff. Businesses operate both their own stores and have franchises. All of which makes maintaining a level of consistency across a retail portfolio a real challenge. There has been a major change in the way in which staff are both recruited, trained and assessed. This has seen a shift from a commissiondriven sales culture to one that is focused on customer service and training. Customer advice in particular has become a critical part of the change. Retailers now seek to increase the length and frequency of customer visits to their stores rather than just monetise the time they are in there. This means that staff need to have a different skill set. With this in mind, O2 recently experimented with a different recruitment process when advertising for positions in its new concept stores. The ads sought music or fitness enthusiasts as opposed to retail staff or salespeople, the idea being that these individuals could advise customers based on lifestyle interests rather than technical capabilities. Bridget Lea, UK stores director, says that a different approach was vital to recruiting individuals who might not consider a career in the industry: ‘We wanted to find people that maybe hadn’t considered a career in mobile retail before. We’re incredibly proud of our brand, but we knew to a certain group of people we might just be seen as a mobile phone shop. So we didn’t actually use the brand in the advertising when we started looking for people. We only introduced the brand about halfway through the process, by which time everyone was so hooked in that they weren’t too concerned about working for what they would see as just a mobile phone store. ‘Recruiting on behaviour rather than on experience in the sector is definitely the future. It’s about finding people who are warm, authentic and interested in customers. There’s a lot of talent within retail and outside of retail that still doesn’t consider mobile phone shops as a place where they could have a great career. Actually they should, because there are brilliant roles and careers for people from all walks of life. We wanted to find those people and show them that it wasn’t just about a sales job.’ A rise in the number of customers requiring service needs as much as sales assistance has also seen EE transform its recruitment process, as Steve Lavery, head of customer experience insights at the brand, explains: ‘Over the past 12 to 18 months we’ve had an overhaul in our recruitment approach and strategy, looking at people skills and service skills. We get as much footfall coming in with service needs as we do with sales needs. So the recruitment process has been changed to look for people with these skills. ‘I think the shape of retail will continue to change. If you look at how we engage with our customers digitally, we want more people to self-serve with products such as the EE App. Not that we want to lose the opportunity to have discussions with the customers in the retail environment. It’s just that it will become a more involved service conversation.’ Vodafone’s Jon Shaw says that the operator has changed the way in which its staff speak to customers. Employees are encouraged to have a conversation with the customer based on lifestyle to establish what contract and device Retail Special would best suit them, rather than pushing products, explains Shaw: ‘We do what we call power selling. This means that before we talk about types of handsets we have a conversation with the customer about their needs. It’s about what they need a device for, lifestyle questions so that we can relate to the type of product or contract that is best for them. It can help inform everything – right down to how much battery they need. www.mobiletoday.co.uk 31 March 2016 mobile 7


Mobile Retail Special 310316
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