IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

The Help Desk

Are Your Systems Ready For Peak Trading
  • 28 Oct 2019
It’s That Time of Year Again… But Are Your Systems Ready for Peak Trading?
Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead The leaves are falling, it’s definitely ‘wear a jacket’ weather and people are already moaning about seeing festive fare in the shops. Yes, it’s October, but is there ever a bad time to hear a Christmas song? I think not. (As a dedicated Christmas-lover, I’ve been known to play the odd festive tune in the summer. Haters, don’t @ me.) However, whilst some people might argue that Christmas starts earlier every year, there’s one thing you can never start too early – getting your systems ready for peak trading. Whether your busy trading period is Black Friday, the run up to Christmas or perhaps the post-Christmas sales, the prospect that all of your retail tech is in top condition is paramount for a thriving, positive in-store customer experience. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry – we’ve got your back. Here’s our peak trading checklist so you can check off what’s naughty or nice before Santa even gets to town. Want to hear how our award-winning Help Desk can support your stores over the festive season? Click here or get in touch at…
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Retail Assist Apprentices
  • 12 Aug 2019
Apprehensive About Your Next Career Step? Consider a Retail Assist Apprenticeship!
Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead This summer, we are delighted to announce further developments in our apprenticeship scheme. After our first cohort of apprentices graduated from our course, we are now looking to employ three apprentices per quarter to see 12 apprenticeship roles created throughout the calendar year. Rae Hayward, Head of People, said: “Exam results might be just around the corner, but going to college or university doesn’t always have to be the route that you have to take in order to further your education. Our apprenticeship scheme not only pays above the average apprenticeship wage, but our intake also receives regular support whilst gaining an industry-recognised qualification. We believe in nurturing people to grow their knowledge and skillset within a fast-paced working environment.” The 18-month course sees our apprentices receive on the job training, whilst their studies will gain them a City and Guilds Customer Service Practitioner Level 2 qualification. Our team are fun, friendly and committed to delivering the best possible service to some of the leading global retail and hospitality brands such as ASOS, Harvey Nichols, Oasis, Ted Baker, Vue and Pizza Hut, and our company has seen substantial growth over the 20 years that we’ve been trading. With our range of company benefits, quarterly development reviews and permanent contract opportunities, there’s never been a better time to earn while you learn. Chantice Sullivan, one of our newly graduated Help Desk Call Analysts, gave an insight into her working day. She explained that her role can see her resolving customer issues, whether that’s through answering emails and telephone calls from clients. Click here to watch the video on YouTube Chantice said: “Every day is very different! I wouldn’t say I have a usual day in the office.” Matthew Proudlove, Chief Operating Officer, added: “At Retail Assist, we’re committed to the development of our people and are proud of the progress many of our team members have made. Many of our Help Desk Call Analysts have progressed to roles within project management and client service management, so we see our apprentice recruitment as the first step in an exciting IT career.” If you’d like to know more about the Retail Assist apprenticeship scheme, visit our apprenticeships webpage here or click here to get in touch.…
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Fix Your Issues, Fast! Meet Our IT Managed Services Superheroes | Retail Assist
  • 8 Jul 2019
Fix Your Issues, Fast! Meet Our IT Managed Services Superheroes
Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Executive   Technology is a wonderful thing. However, it’s certainly not wonderful when your working day is disrupted due to an IT issue. Whether it’s a broken till, a laptop that’s somehow not working properly or a store returns device that is being ‘a bit funny’, you don’t want your productivity to be stalled by something out of your control. So, next time you encounter an IT issue, don’t send out the bat signal – here’s who you should call! With the help of Retail Assist, retailers can free themselves from the worries that surround technical issues and focus their attention on other aspects of their business. Meet our IT Managed Services Support superheroes… Storm: Help Desk Support Just like Storm, our Help Desk Support analysts are knowledgeable, empathetic and quick to react. Retail Assist is proud of its award-winning Help Desk team who give retailers and hospitality operators a single point of contact, meaning that our customers’ retail and hospitality brands can continue with business as usual, with minimum disruption. Our IT Help Desk Support, as well as Operations Support, functions like an extension of any business. The costs and hassle of employing staff directly is removed and a proactive approach ensures that problems are identified and adapted to in advance, as often as possible. As it is a single point of contact, confusion between suppliers is avoided and problems are managed right through to the point of resolution. Perhaps the most important aspect of the IT Help Desk Support is that it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and in a variety of languages, meaning problems and issues don’t have to wait for standard office operating hours. Although, unlike Storm, we’re afraid that they can’t control the weather… Iron Man: Technical Services Team Intelligent, tech-savvy and creatively minded: no, we’re not talking about Tony Stark, but our Technical Services team! Alongside the IT Help Desk Support and Operations Support that Retail Assist provides, our Technical Services department are geniuses when it comes to all things technical. Server Management and Installation covers all aspects of dealing with servers, from offering advice and recommendations as to what is most suitable for a retailer, to monitoring them whilst active, as well as preventing or solving any problems. In a similar manner, the Network Management and Design services offered by Retail Assist make sure that communication lines are monitored and trouble free. This becomes especially important when viewed in the context of retail supply chains; any disruption in communication could lead to loss of revenue and customer satisfaction very swiftly. Retail Assist also handles all aspects of Wi-Fi Management, including what usage is occurring, content being shared, and how data lines are performing, making them impressive IT all-rounders that Jarvis would be proud of. Black Panther: Retail Systems Support Agile, quick, responsive and approachable, our Retail Systems Support team share a lot in common with Black Panther (although sadly not…
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  • 28 May 2019
Collaborate to Innovate! How Retail Collaborations Can Grow Your Business
Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Executive Kate Moss and Topshop. Alexa Chung and M&S. Fearne Cotton and Cath Kidston. For years, celebrities have been teaming up with retailers to design their own, often limited edition, collections. Whilst the celebrity in question gets to add another string to their bow, retailers benefit from tapping into new audiences and engaging customers in a new and exciting way – often with a lot of hype. However, it’s not just celebrities that are getting in on the action. Increasingly we are seeing more and more collaborations between retailers, as brands are turning to other people with a different market share to work together to conquer the high street. How do retail collaborations encourage growth? The ultimate aim of any successful collaboration is that both parties benefit and take advantage of the market the other brings. This might come in the form of filling a gap in the market that previously existed, offering easier access to consumers or providing something strong and definitive that places both retailers far ahead of anything the competition can offer. An immediate PR boost can be felt by a retail collaboration as attention is drawn to the venture, which can also help with marketing. New contacts can be introduced, fresh and different expertise utilised, and ideas shared or implemented that were previously not possible. Doing things as part of a retail collaboration speeds up processes that may have taken a considerable amount of time. Potential new customers can be found and reached instantly, with all retailers involved in the collaboration being able to bring to the table the information they have collected over their separate trading experiences. What makes a successful retail collaboration? Like any successful collaboration, the best retail collaborations are based around shared agendas and aims. Retailers should offer goods that complement each other, but not be competitors, as well as targeting the same – or similar – audience. This means that joint audiences can be targeted and products offered together in a way that satisfies the customer and brings benefits to both retailers. In order for the collaborative process to be smooth, agreement on desired outcomes should be reached, and help brought in with the more practical and technical aspects of the collaboration, on a trading level.  Great retail collaboration examples include our customer, Oasis, collaborating with supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s, to have a store footprint within the supermarket estate. With Oasis’ fashion-forward designs, Oasis concessions have been carefully selected to be in Selly Oak and Sydenham supermarkets where Tu clothing performs particularly well. In the case of Selly Oak, its new flagship store, ‘complementary ranges (are) helping to make Sainsbury’s a fashion destination’ with Sainsbury’s clothing now accounting for £1bn of the retailer’s sales. Their partnerships allows Sainsbury’s to expand their fashion retail offering, whilst Oasis benefits from customers being able to pick up one of their dresses with the same convenience as a pint of milk. Other retail collaborations have been seen in Topshop Oxford Circus,…
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  • 24 Sep 2018
Why You Should Be Using EPOS
What is EPOS? What does EPOS stand for? How are EPOS systems changing retail? Why are EPOS systems important? Why should a retailer be using EPOS? Read on to find out more about the benefits an intelligent EPOS system can bring to your retail business: we provide Help Desk services that can support your EPOS system. An Electric Point Of Sale (EPOS) system is fast becoming one of the most important tools a retailer can utilise as they become more in control of their operations, more profitable and more competitive. Not to be confused with the average electronic till system – although they look similar – an EPOS, or POS, system allows retailers to utilise much more information and data to help their business to run smoothly. As retail IT services replace and update the humble ‘cash register’, POS systems usher in a whole host of features suitable for the modern retail environment, with the ability to store and process data being particularly valued. Where once retailers may have had to scrutinise various sales records in order to compile information as to shoppers’ choices and habits, POS systems can produce reports and show growing and declining sales with ease. Other attractive features include being able to tap into nurturing millennial and Gen Z retail expectations of an ‘instant’ shopping experience by printing out vouchers or offers, whilst also being able to link up communication with existing infrastructure and websites and recording of the activities undertaken by staff whilst using it. How are POS systems changing retail? Offering a variety of new ways to improve transactions, there can be no doubt that POS systems are bringing change to the retail and hospitality sector in making it more streamlined and able to effectively compete with rivals. A major way in which this change is manifested is perhaps just as reactive as it is proactive; retailers need to reduce the costs associated with ‘bricks and mortar’ retailing as much as possible, in order to remain viable as the bite from online enterprises continues to be felt. One of the ways this can be done is through readjusting the thinking as to exactly how physical stores work with online activity; closer links are needed, which is something POS systems can provide. Instead of a business model where high street locations compete with online sales, modern POS systems are making it easier for the retail world to work as one. Linking with a retailer’s website, a POS system can provide real-time data to users as to whether local stores have products in stock and provide an easy collection point for them. Online orders can also be fulfilled more promptly via processes that can see stock sent out to online buyers from stores nearest to them, or those that are experiencing an excess of certain stocked items, thus helping to provide the ‘I want what I want when I want it’ notion that underpins millennial and Gen Z shopping habits. The ability to target customers more…
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Pizza Hut visit Retail Assist
  • 3 Sep 2018
Retail Assist’s Help Desk get a slice of the action!
Retail Assist’s IT Help Desk provides support to Pizza Hut Restaurants 24X7X365 Bill Parker, IT Service Manager for Pizza Hut Restaurants, visited Retail Assist to praise its IT Help Desk for what he called a “tremendous team achievement” Sharing thanks: Liz Donagain (left) and Richard Winstock (middle) were thanked by Bill Parker, Pizza Hut’s IT Service Manager On Wednesday 29th August, Pizza Hut Restaurant’s IT Service Manager, Bill Parker, travelled up to Nottingham to personally thank the Retail Assist Help Desk, bringing with him lots of pizzas to treat everyone. The IT Help Desk provides support to Pizza Hut Restaurants available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has recently overseen the transition from Ambercat to Jira’s issue tracking software. Bill said: “Retail Assist has exceeded my expectations with the migration; it has been seamless from our side. I wanted to express our thanks to everyone that has been involved in making it happen. I believe we are already seeing the benefits. I feel this does demonstrate how investing in the planning reaps rewards with the transition”. “I’ve experienced many different transitions, but this has been the smoothest and most streamlined to date.” The Help Desk’s work is part of a continued relationship with Pizza Hut Restaurants, who renewed their contract agreement for a further three-years with Retail Assist earlier this year. Bill particularly wanted to thank IT Help Desk colleagues Liz Donagain and Richard Winstock, calling their work “outstanding” and especially praising “their commitment, dedication and prompt follow-up”. Retail Assist has supported Pizza Hut Restaurants since 2013, as a single point of contact for everything IT related in their restaurants. Retail Assist’s first and second-line Help Desk teams proactively manage all elements of IT support for 7,500 Pizza Hut Restaurants employees working across 256 restaurants, with 24 x 7 availability. Dan Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Retail Assist, said: “We are delighted with Bill’s feedback as we’re very proud of our relationship with Pizza Hut Restaurants. Our proactive approach to planning and supporting our clients aims to reduce issues, with our unique hospitality service provision benefiting thousands of members of the Pizza Hut Restaurants’ team across the country.” Retail Assist’s IT Help Desk won ‘Services Company of the Year 2017’ at the UK IT Industry Awards in 2017, and also won the ‘Best Managed Service Desk 2016’ at the Service Desk Institute’s Annual IT Service and Support Awards.…
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  • 5 May 2014
The Help Desk – Outsourced IT Solutions
It’s a very exciting time for us at the moment – with increasing numbers of new staff members, customers, and support requirements, plus our 15th birthday just around the corner; it’s time for an update from our Help Desk. We have grown and evolved a lot within our 15 years of providing outsourced IT solutions. With technology ever changing and adapting to new demands, it has been crucial for us to remain current and consistent so that we can provide our customers with the service they deserve. Having developed a deep understanding of customer needs over the years, we wanted to write a blog that could share with you the benefits of our service and provide an insight in to what can be expected from our IT system support. With a few statistics thrown in for good measure, this blog is definitely worth a read. Long trading hours are now the norm for many sectors, and as such our around the clock support, 24x7x365, proves essential for numerous businesses who cannot afford for their IT support to be effective just 9am till 5pm. This issue is highlighted during seasonal holidays and with a number of bank holiday weekends rapidly approaching, businesses are going to be working day and night and require an IT Help Desk that can mirror their up-time. Currently we support over 5,750 stores, 250 of which are international. This is where our international language support comes in very handy, covering 8 languages, including; English, Italian, Polish, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and German. This is another area where we are continuously growing, by expanding our language support we can help our current and future customers really tackle international expansion. With over 12,500 tills supported by our Help Desk we make sure we’re constantly on top of our game, ensuring that as the number of tills we support goes up, the number of incident rates and call times stay down. After analysing stats from one of our current customers, whose store estate has grown dramatically in the last 4 years, seeing an increase of 20.5%, we are able to note that during this growth – the number of issues raised have been steady, average talk time has remained level, and we have actually seen a decrease in the average queue time of 45.5%.  Evaluating results such as these, helps to show how our support can really assist our customers. We maintain this level of service by always being prepared and prioritising situations, helping to prevent issues, or respond as quickly as possible when they do arise. We aim to cause as little interruption to our customer’s services as possible. Since the beginning of 2014 to present day we have seen a decrease in average ring time of 41%, meaning that when problems do emerge, they are being managed rapidly. This along with an average first line fix rate of 76% means that many problems are resolved with just one phone call. With a service offered that is tailored to…
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