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GUEST COMMENT What retail’s internal service desks must consider as mobile shopping expands

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Customer Service: time to rethink how it works in the mobile commerce age
Customer Service: time to rethink how it works in the mobile commerce age
Matt Cox, Regional Vice President at Samanage
Matt Cox, Regional Vice President at Samanage

User bounce rates are a hot topic for retailers and have been ever since mobile shopping disrupted the consumer retail experience. In 2017, e-commerce accounted for nearly 11% of all retail sales, but during high-volume shopping seasons, 68% of those e-commerce sales will be made from mobile devices.

 

Free shipping, promo codes and customer loyalty programs encourage mobile shopping. However, this progress halts when retailers are unable to process application glitches and crashes due to their ill-equipped internal teams with unreliable, outdated software.

 

As the mobile customer base expands, so does the potential for mobile tech problems and increased service requests. Now, more than ever, it is critical for retailers to empower IT teams with an effective escalation process that connects to development, infrastructure and quality assurance (QA) teams.

 

Before major selling events like holiday-themed sales and year-end clearances — and to prepare for an inevitable influx of internal service requests — retailers should consider the following questions:

Can my IT department handle an influx of tickets?

Support teams must have the necessary tools and access to handle a high volume of requests. If your department is working out of conventional apps including their email inbox, the potential for those inboxes to overflow and overwhelm team members is high. Too often, critical tasks are pushed down the list of priorities by new tasks and lack of collaboration. Without an assignment system, their completion can only be assumed.

 

With mobile forecasted to capture an even greater share of shoppers’ attention, it’s important to examine IT processes as part of a Continuous Service Improvement (CSI) program. An integral part of ITIL, CSI is a concept that encourages the continual evaluation and identification of improvements to IT services. The idea is broad, meaning that it can include suppliers, organizational structures, training methods and more. But in this use case, it means replacing inefficient, outdated IT software with a modern service management platform.

 

Several things happen when technicians are untethered from their inboxes. Once an IT service management platform is implemented, email is no longer the first course of action when an IT issue occurs. Instead, teams spend 80% of their time working within a ticketing system that organizes and prioritizes tasks. This means no IT requests are buried and forgotten in an inbox. Instead, service requests are redirected and assigned. Critical, completed and assigned tasks are clearly spelled out, allowing technicians to focus on the most critical tickets first.

Do I have visibility into my service requests?

If your IT teams are still operating from their inboxes, there is the potential to miss more than just critical tasks. Without formal documentation, it’s impossible to gain visibility into repeat IT issues and patterns occurring at the internal service desk. Do you know which tickets are received when and how often those issues are reported?

 

With a modern ticketing system, leadership teams can gather insights and view performance trends. It’s a difficult task to make improvements to a system without historic data and insights, and with formal documentation comes valuable knowledge about the platform as a whole.

 

Insight into repeat and trending issues provides retail leadership with the opportunity to create automatic or templated responses. Recurring issues no longer flood inboxes and waste technicians’ time. Instead, they are responded to with an automated template or the answer is included in an FAQ page or knowledge base for popular requests. In this way, employees are armed with solutions for common, low-priority problems, which reserves ticket creation for critical issues only.

What happens if I don’t modernize?

When IT systems lag, retailers lose confidence in their efficacy and tech problems only get worse. If the tech stack is outdated and inefficient, retailers might revert to easier methods like email.

 

This results in slower response times and the risk of overlooking critical, high-priority tasks that will continue to degrade. When mobile shoppers are unable to efficiently browse and buy on your app, they will abandon their carts and shop elsewhere. Given the growing popularity of mobile as a primary shopping channel, it is more important than ever to have an efficient platform to run the technical teams that deliver these services to customers.

 

More critical than high shopper bounce rates is the lack of visibility that results from outdated systems. When you are unable to identify and analyze team performance and uptime data, there is no way to improve the services. The moment employee productivity begins to slow down, the customer experience suffers.

 

Mobile retail is expanding at a rapid pace. To keep up, retailers must expand help desk technology accordingly. A growing mobile customer base inevitably means an increase in potential IT problems. Retailers need to evaluate current systems and proactively plan IT upgrades so when the next wave of mobile shoppers arrive, they are up to the task.

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