by Joanna Command, Head of Customer Success

Effective customer service and engagement is more important than ever, as consumers begin to return to physical retail stores in volume. Major retailers around the globe have spent the last year planning new strategies that will help increase efficiency and safety, while also focusing on ways to garner customer loyalty.  

Technology investments have increased as retailers try to find ways to make their stores more intelligent and their employees more motivated and productive. The “intelligent store” concept we’ve read so much about the past few years is here, with innovations like smart cameras, self-checkout, mobile scan and pay, and digital workflow solutions starting to proliferate the retail landscape. American retail giant Walmart has recently invested in 740,000 mobile phones to run a new application targeted at employee communication and operational management.  

The question remains how much of this technology will actually inform retailers about direct correlations between digital transformation and bottom-line key performance indicators. It’s great that we can observe consumer traffic flows with intelligent cameras, use interactive displays to request immediate assistance, and leverage digital devices to enable non-disruptive, real-time communication between co-workers.  

But at the end of the day, these solutions need to connect to tangible metrics in order to justify their ROI. Technology that connects the dots between actions and results will drive the next generation of innovation.  

Instead of continuing to make indirect correlations between customer engagement and increased sales, we now have the tools available to measure those connections in real-time.  

For instance, Turnpike is using wearable devices to empower frontline retail employees to not only record their customer engagements, but also communicate what those customers do after that engagement. Whether they go straight to a fitting room, browse a sale rack, or take an up-sold item to the till, this information is invaluable when understanding the direct impact of engagement on top line revenue generation.  

As retailers compete in a post-pandemic loyalty land grab, it will be critical to identify new KPIs that can be measured in real-time by new in-store technology. Customer service response time is a great example. Store managers looking to drive loyalty could reap valuable rewards by simply measuring how long it takes their staff to react to customer needs.  

Placing smart devices in the hands of frontline employees gives them a simple way to record the time it takes to react to a customer service request, and how long it takes to resolve that request. This is data that until recently has been extremely difficult to collect in real-time, meaning that retailers have really had no easy way to quantify how long their customers wait for assistance.  

While Turnpike is a technology company, we focus on designing digital solutions that help retailers clarify metrics that drive core business objectives. We believe the most successful companies in the retail transformation ecosystem will be those who can provide real data, in real time, that generate real insights about how the actions of their employees are directly contributing to consumer shopping behaviors.