6 ways to provide a seamless virtual service during Covid-19

Dylan Brown
by Dylan Brown

Creating a strong omni-channel offering has been at the top of the agenda for retailers for a while now – at a time where the majority of stores are closed and the general public is being advised to stay at home, even more so.

As the world goes into lockdown, the race is on for brands to create powerful and engaging online offerings that can deliver the same level of service remotely.

Here are some ways retailers can provide a seamless virtual service:

1) Allow customers to book virtual appointments with your advisors

While the majority of consumers are confined to their homes, there is still a strong demand for remote advice and support.

That’s why many leading retailers are moving their in-store experts into an online setting by expanding their customer service teams and making them available for the same high level of service through video or telephone appointments using an appointment booking system.

Department store retailer, Brown Thomas, allows customers to book appointments with in-store experts

We’re seeing a number of innovative new ways to engage audiences virtually on a one-to-one basis. For instance, prominent British department store retailer, John Lewis, has launched a range of new virtual services, such as allowing customers to connect with fashion stylists for consultations via Instagram video calls.

Read: How to provide the perfect virtual service to your customers during the Coronavirus outbreak

2) Simplify the appointment booking process

You might already have the tools and resources to offer a premium video and telephone service to your customers, but do you have the ability to allow thousands of customers to book, reschedule or cancel appointments with your advisors?

To create a modern and efficient experience that allows your customers to easily view and select suitable time-slots with your virtual advisors, you will need the right appointment scheduling software.

Some of the leading software providers are offering integrations with video calling platforms like Zoom, making the set up process even easier for retailers.

3) Create virtual queues

With customers being asked to limit their time in-store, and with stores limiting the number of customers they allow inside at any one given time, virtual queues are a welcome way to encourage social distancing.

Instead of asking your customers to stand in line to access your services, you can have them join a virtual queue and keep them updated of their position remotely, limiting their risk to themselves and others.

A queue management system is also fast becoming a necessity for online service offerings, such as limiting the number of people on your site, creating a streamlined experience for your customers to speak to an advisor or helping customer experience teams to manage and prioritize incoming customers.

4) Keep your customers updated in real-time

When your customers join a virtual queue or book an appointment with one of your advisors, it’s important to ensure the process is completely transparent.

For instance, if customers book an appointment with your team or demonstrate interest in your services by joining a virtual queue, many will leave the queue or not show up for appointments if they don’t feel as though they are being communicated with properly.

Many leading software providers will allow you to establish email, SMS and weblink notifications and reminders to let your customers know their exact position in the queue alongside accurate waiting times, provide them with numerous reminders and confirmation messages before their appointment takes place, and create post-appointment follow up communications.

5) Assign tasks to your team members remotely

With many retailers looking to transfer their in-store service offerings into an online setting, there are a number of challenges on the horizon, such as effectively managing workloads from a distance.

That’s why many leading retailers are investing in new tools, such as Task Management software, that enables head office teams to better communicate tasks, messages, updates and resources to their remote representatives.

Read: Ensure seamless HQ to store communications during Covid-19

6) Make continuous improvements with data-driven insights

Nothing is quite as effective at building customer relationships as face-to-face communication, yet many retailers are quickly realizing that providing an online service comes with a number of perks, such as the ability to access data insights.

For instance, the best appointment scheduling software and virtual queuing system platforms will enable you to better determine your customer needs and your service performance with quality data insights, such as finding out how long your advisors are spending with customers, what the experience was like from the customers’ perspective and if they are new or returning customers.

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