IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 4 May 2015

Are you losing customers’ lifetime basket value?

Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist, examines the losses retailers experience due to poor IT systems support. It’s not just lost sales that damage a business, but the impact of negative customer experience.

CEO Managed Services

Picture the scene, it’s a busy Saturday in-store, with customers forming a heavy queue at both till points, excited to make new purchases. There is the potential for a huge surge in sales. But without warning, one of your till systems goes down. With only one working till and very agitated customers, not only does this reflect negatively on your level of service, but it has been estimated that losses due to till downtime could work out in the thousands.

Would you have the right support in place in this situation, to get your systems back up and running before such cost damage could occur?

If you can’t recover quickly enough from till downtime, consider the size of the impact that this could have in relation to lost sales, by customers abandoning their baskets. Research reveals that the longer your customers spend queueing, the less likely they are to commit to making a purchase. A survey conducted for Barclaycard discovered that 40 per cent of us refuse to queue for longer than two minutes, and 51 per cent of shoppers refuse to even enter a store if they spy a queue.

Customers never used to be this impatient, however with the convenience that Internet shopping and click-and-collect delivery provides, customers’ patience in-store is wearing thin. The art of quintessential ‘British’ queuing is lost on the time-poor consumer; perceived waiting time and inconvenience at the purchase stage of the shopping journey are key predictors of shopping cart abandonment.

Stuart Neal, head of contactless payment at Barclaycard, commented: “Our research shows that consumers are much less willing to stand in line compared to six years ago and it would seem that as the Internet has become more popular among shoppers, impatience with queuing has increased.”

Neal concludes: “Used to buying without delay, customers are even abandoning purchases rather than waiting their turn.”

In the face of big queues and inconvenience due to technical issues, it is likely that you have lost that customer’s potential purchase. But it is not just the single basket value that should be taken into account. A bad customer experience could also damage the longevity of the relationship with the brand: and the size of a lifetime basket is much more detrimental to lose.

With thousands of pounds worth of lost revenue on the line, having your IT system correctly supported is fundamental, especially during periods of increased uptime. As an example, one of our customers transacted £8.55 per till per minute on average. Using 15 tills during busy periods means that their total revenue is £7,695 per hour, and that’s just in store.

By having the right support in place it helps to eliminate the risks of till downtime and other systems-related problems that negatively impact service during busy periods. This not only gives businesses reassurance, but also helps to promote calm and confident store staff. Recurring problems that waste time and frustrate both staff and customers are likely to be eliminated with the correct support. All these factors suggest that the option to have a ‘24x7x365’ Help Desk is a good asset for any business.

A good Help Desk should match its support service to its customers’ trading hours. To make this possible, many businesses supplement in-house teams with outsourced resources, which offer more hours of supports and a breadth of skills that comes from using a shared service.

The industry average for first line resolution is 2 hours; Retail Assist’s performance is 78 per cent better at just 26 minutes. Furthermore, we are able to fix 77 per cent of issues at first line, which is on average 18 per cent higher than other service desks.

Not only does having a Help Desk deal with issues as and when they arise, but also frees up internal teams to focus on core competencies, helping drive internal processes, and provide efficient restoration of service. Playing a ‘behind the scenes’ role, our Help Desk helps to save time whilst increasing profit by delivering greater systems uptime at the point-of-service.

Our analysts are well trained to ISO 20000 standard, always focussing on continued improvements to develop the speed and efficiency with which issues are resolved. Proactive incident reduction is the overall goal, meaning recurring incidents are quickly identified and prevented. By analysing where costs are being incurred and reducing the number of chargeable hardware call outs, we also help to save up to 18 per cent of hardware maintenance costs. We analyse existing equipment and advise as to whether or not to invest in new equipment, helping to save on future maintenance costs.

In summary, improved systems availability, increased user productivity, greater accountability for problem resolution and, most importantly, reduced overall service cost are all benefits to be expected of a well-resourced Help Desk service, sitting at the heart of your business. So, let us take care of your systems support, whilst you focus on developing good customer relationships, giving your customers the experience that is likely to result in life-long loyalty to the brand.

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