Customer hosts help leading retailers improve customer experience during Covid-19

Imogen Wethered
by Imogen Wethered

Covid-19 has made the customer journey a whole lot more complicated – but some retailers are taking charge of their customer experience by positioning store hosts at entranceways, and they’re using customer host apps to make the process seamless.

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a number of hurdles into the customer journey – long lines outside of stores, strict in-store customer pathways, and barriers stopping store associates from being able to communicate freely with customers (literally).

But it has also introduced a number of exciting innovations that will benefit customers in the long run, such as fast and easy click and collect services, the ability to book time-slots for in-person or online services using appointment scheduling software, and the increased use of customer host apps to create powerful and safe in-store experiences.

A customer host at your front entrance has a greater purpose than simply greeting your customers – with a customer host app, these meeter-greeters can add walk-in customers to virtual queues for in-store services (or queues to enter the store if it’s too busy), manage customers with appointments or help customers book appointments, as well as point customers in the right direction to help limit their time in-store. The customer host app essentially allow your store host to choreograph the customer experience.

3 benefits of using a customer host app during Covid-19:

1) Retailers can manage customer flow

With a meeter-greeter waiting to point them in the right direction, or to add them to a virtual queue that updates them when to return to store, customers have a much better idea of where to go and how long things will take, allowing them to manage their expectations.

Another perk is that some customer host apps allow staff to manage occupancy rates in-store, too, which enables retailers to easily manage how many customers are in-store at once, taking into consideration customers in virtual queues and those with upcoming appointments.

2) The customer experience is more fluid

Social distancing measures may be relaxing, but consumers aren’t – many are still worried about Covid-19 and are reducing trips to stores because of it.

A helpful and friendly store host is a great way to help put customers’ minds at ease by showing them that they’re taking social distancing seriously, and by informing them of their options in-store. And as customers know where to go, it also means they spend less time wandering your store, reducing their exposure to other customers and your employees.

In our retail world of Perspex screens and floor markings, this is a great way to add a human touch to the customer journey, even if it is from a safe distance.

3) Store teams have better control of their workloads

Store hosts with a host app not only act as the first port-of-call to your customers, they also choreograph the entire shop floor through one single device. They can assign customers to colleagues, manage virtual queues and appointments and check for availability, as well as monitor walk-in customer traffic. They can become your eyes and ears on the shop floor.

Why host apps will stick around post Covid-19

A large number of retailers are equipping their store hosts with customer host apps to create safe and engaging retail experiences during the coronavirus outbreak, but this isn’t a new concept, and many prominent brands have been using the approach for a while now, including Samsung, o2 and Walmart.

The retail bank, NatWest, has been using Qudini’s in-branch queue management system to manage queues, customer expectations and wait times for a number of years now. In branches, a meeter-greeter stands at the store entrance and takes customers’ name, telephone numbers and their reason for visiting, and then enters them into a virtual queue. Find out more by watching the video below:

And electronics manufacturer and retailer, Samsung, use Qudini’s walk-in management system to manage customers coming into its stores (watch the video below):

These experiences provide customers with a professional, engaging and calm in-store experience and we think it’s an approach brands will stick with for years to come.

Find out more about Qudini’s Retail Choreography suite of software here.


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