Telcos risk shrinking retail revenues if they don’t shift sales models to capitalize on demand for in-store, highly personalized customer experiences
The physical retail channel plays an important role in telecommunications sales. Recent research10-times the sales revenue of the average U.S. telco. Sales figures for Best Buy are roughly twice as high. If telcos’ retail operations competed directly with similar players outside their business, very few would survive.
Barriers to reaching their retail potential
One of the key barriers preventing telcos from reaching their retail potential is they aren’t selling what customers want to buy. In the digital age, telco customers want and value engaging experiences at every point of interaction. This is where telcos typically stumble. Rather than creating the highly personalized and connected experiences customers crave, telco stores primarily focus on selling phones and accessories, and offering customers services such as upgrading and renewing contracts. All of which create transactional customer relationships.
Another barrier is many telcos segment their in-store customer base according to traffic volume – not according to the bottom-line contribution that digitally connected customers can potentially deliver. This one-size-fits-most sales strategy assumes that all customers want the same thing, and it can have a significant impact on sales.
A new customer reality
Today, 83% of consumers initiate the purchasing process before they even enter a store. They conduct their research and evaluate offers online, where a growing number of digital and social connections can influence their preferences and decisions. With a clear understanding of the contract, device and accessories, they want before walking into a store, many store associates can offer customers little additional value.
To build meaningful relationships and give customers the value they expect, telcos need to inject themselves more meaningfully into their customers’ digitally enabled shopping process. By understanding distinct customer profiles and delivering personalized experiences and offers, telcos can entice customers to embrace new digital opportunities. To do so, they need people with the skills to act as advisors, guides and influencers. They also need store managers to be coaches, encouraging their teams to provide higher-value experiences, and incentivizing them to deliver.
Delivering highly connected digital experiences
Telcos that reinvent the in-store experience for the digital age can grow sales in three ways. First, they offer engaging experiences, which encourage more customer spending. Half of telco customers are willing to pay more for a valuable experience. Second, they encourage customer loyalty and greater lifetime value. Eighty percent of customers are interested in proposals for additional telco products and services. And third, they generate new sales by increasing the likelihood that satisfied customers will refer others.
Telcos can rethink their in-store sales operations to deliver the digitally connected experiences customers crave and increase revenue by: