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Mobile Retail Special 310316

Retail Special It’s far more about understanding customer needs rather than device needs. The new stores have helped with this type of sale – there’s greater transparency that comes with sitting side by side with customers when dealing with them Steve Lavery, head of customer experience insights, EE Care and repair The number of service centre features within the modern retailer is set to explode over the next few years. Instore technical experts are not a new phenomenon, from Apple’s Geniuses to Carphone Warehouse’s Geek Squad and O2’s Gurus, this type of advice has been around for a while. However, the complexity of both devices and services has increased since these roles fi rst came into being. In a world of instantaneous very public customer complaints using platforms such as Twitter, the expectations placed on store staff to assist customers have never been higher, and are continuing to rise. Vodafone’s Jon Shaw has been examining the role repairs play within his store format and believes that solving problems on-site is the key: ‘We’ve been re-purposing our tech team – we’re having a look at what repairs and innovation services work in store. Over the next year we’ll be offering enhanced repair services. What’s different to other retailers is that we’ll actually help customers in store. We want to fi x devices for customers there and then, not tell them to put it in a jiffy bag and post it. ‘It’s the local touch that will help to bring the footfall as people come in looking for help servicing their device. There are a lot of older devices out there because of the growth of SIM free, which means that customers typically need more help. Not everyone will just buy the new handset.’ Independent retailer Fonehouse also recently made efforts to tap into the market for instantaneous repairs. Its new TechHouse accessories stores features in-store repair stations with an accelerated tech repair service. Community considerations The spread of mobile phone shops across the country means that retailers are embedded in local communities in some diverse locations. For years, staff have engaged with locals on a daily basis and played an active role on the high street. However, there has been a concerted effort by the retailers to provide platforms that take this engagement further in an effort to strengthen the brand. Three has announced that it will roll out its free training Discovery programme across 50 of its stores. Discovery sees the retailer work with consumers and community groups running free sessions that teach them how to use technology better. Sian Laffi n, head of Discovery and innovation at Three, explains that the programme is part of a wider effort to transform the store environment: ‘What we’re trying to do is change the retail experience from when you walk in. It’s about making it more than just a transactional environment. It’s far more about the experience and about what you can do with your device. We’ve been re-purposing our tech team, we’re having a look at what repairs and innovation services work in store. Over the next year we’ll be offering enhanced repair services. What’s different from other retailers is that we’ll actually help customers in store Jon Shaw, head of retail, Vodafone www.mobiletoday.co.uk 31 March 2016 mobile 11


Mobile Retail Special 310316
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