It’s 2020 and retailers are under more pressure than ever to provide higher levels of customer service – both instore and online. Yet, despite this pressing need, many businesses are failing to meet customer expectations.
Here are just a few key trends in customer activity from Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service report:
- 95 percent of respondents said customer service is important when choosing a brand.
- 61 percent of shoppers surveyed will leave a brand after a bad experience
- 36 percent said lack of knowledge from staff is frustrating
Fortunately, modern technology, such as Microsoft’s Office 365 suite, makes it easier to overcome these problems.
With Microsoft Office 365, you have the opportunity to streamline processes, improve internal communication, power up your customer experience and protect your business. But that’s just skimming the surface; let’s get stuck in.
Microsoft Office 365: The backbone of the modern retail workspace
While traditional Office applications are only available on your local desktops, Microsoft Office 365 makes it possible to access information and resources on the go.
Here are a few examples of how you can use the cloud-based suite to build a more collaborative and flexible modern workspace.
1. Arm your staff with product information
A common complaint from shoppers is the lack of in-store product comparison. But, with Microsoft 365, you can give your sales associates the information they need to make comparisons and recommendations on the fly.
Through apps such as SharePoint Online, you can upload product information to the cloud and make it accessible on any device. When staff know they can address specific customer requests in real-time, they are far more likely to upsell and cross-sell your products or services.
2. Reduce queue time
No one wants to wait in a 30-minute queue for an answer to a simple request. In fact, 51 percent of customers have had an in-store experience ruined because of long queue times. But how can collaboration software like Microsoft 365 reduce the amount of time spent waiting around?
Often, retail staff must contact other members of their team to establish product availability. However, with Microsoft Office 365, the information is right at their fingertips, no matter where they are on the shop floor. And, in cases where the input of a manager or senior team member is needed, staff can easily connect with them through instant messaging apps, such as Teams.
3. Share expertise between departments
Even behind the scenes, cloud collaboration tools help your employees make better use of business resources. With Yammer, you can end knowledge silos and allow staff members from different teams, stores or cities to share their expertise and best practices.
You can also pool shared resources in SharePoint Online to build a central repository of useful documents, data and strategies. In fact, 45 percent of retail businesses saw greater end user productivity due to the improved communications and knowledge sharing mobile access offers.
4. Work from anywhere
The ability to pick up your phone or laptop anywhere in the world and access your business is extremely powerful. With Office 365, you can create and share work rotas, reports and product information from any location.
As long as you’ve got a stable internet connection, you’re good to go. This is extremely useful for retailers with multiple locations or remote employees.
5. Streamline business processes
Over 50 percent of retailers reported that Office 365 had decreased business process times, according to a Forrester report. Tools such as Skype, OneDrive and SharePoint Online enable retail staff to save up to 3.75 hours a week, avoiding the need for additional hires.
6. Produce detailed reports
Your retail business requires accurate reporting of stock and sales in order to make future predictions and decisions, such as reordering products and anticipating budget needs.
Microsoft Excel is a leader in reporting software. It allows you to gather, visualize and use advanced analytics to create intuitive reports. Fortunately, Office 365 ensures you have Excel at your fingertips, both online and offline, for all your reporting needs.
7. Enable advanced security
The retail industry is occasionally in the headlines for the wrong reasons. With data breaches hitting businesses hard, particularly in today’s GDPR-driven world, your business needs to invest in watertight security.
Thankfully, Microsoft Office 365 provides reliability and security for your retail business. With tools such as encrypted email, advanced threat protection and antivirus updates your business is in good hands. Implementing the right security measures will help you avoid data breaches, protect your customers and keep your business goals on track.
8. Stepping towards sustainability
Today, the importance of sustainability is unavoidable in the retail sector. But it’s not just about creating a ‘green’ image. Implementing sustainable resources has many benefits such as, lowering costs and increasing competitive advantage.
So, if you’re working towards sustainable business goals, you’ll be pleased to learn that cloud services like Microsoft Office 365 are environmentally friendly.
Your office, 365 days a year
Queuing, failure to find the right products, adequate reporting and inefficient processes are all still seen as major retail pain points. But in the modern workspace, they don’t have to be.
Microsoft Office 365 gives your business all the tools it needs to power up your retail experience – for you, your staff and your customers.
To discover how you can make the modern workspace a retail reality, check out our quick-fire guide and begin powering up your processes today.
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