The Telco Guide to Reimagining the Retail Experience

How to build long-term trust with customers.


Communications service providers (CSPs) answered the call for stay-at-home orders in a big way. At the start of the pandemic, some temporarily closed the majority of telecom retail stores while others made plans to permanently shutter select brick-and-mortar locations. Those that remained open — the ones that were deemed essential businesses — rushed to put in place temporary fixes, from social distancing to personal protective equipment (PPE).

Now, those short-term solutions require long-term strategies.

What do those strategies look like? Expect more contactless engagements, increased store safety guidelines, repositioned associates, and enhanced digital experiences to meet changing customer behaviors. This guide is designed to help you navigate the new rules of retail.

Three Pillars for CSPs

Our three-step approach combines telecommunications industry insights with retail best practices to help you build trust with today’s customers.

Chapter 1: Evolve the Telecom Store Experience

How CSPs can deliver high-quality, low-touch engagement. For decades, the purchase journey for a phone or other device started and ended at the telecom store. Today, customers are starting their journeys online and making the final purchase in-store, or vice versa, to reduce physical interactions. They are also choosing contactless services whenever possible.
In a Salesforce consumer research survey conducted August 1–2, 2020, 35% of Americans said they have chosen more contactless delivery options than in the past.
CSPs have an opportunity to evolve the store experience to meet new customer needs as they move between digital and physical channels.

Schedule In-Store Appointments

Give customers the option to book an appointment with a clear purpose — to deal with an account issue, upgrade a phone, or add a new line. Tools like Lightning Scheduler allow associates to prepare for each customer and streamline visits. Appointment booking also helps CSPs stick to store capacity limits in accordance with local government guidelines or corporate policies.

Offer Virtual Consultations

Customers want to play with a few devices before making a commitment, but CSPs have reduced merchandise and demos on the floor for social distancing. Virtual consultations can fill the gap. Video calls are a great way for associates to demo phones so customers can see how they work and talk through options.

Reimagine the Store for Fulfillment

“Buy online, pick-up in store” (BOPIS) and curbside pickup have become a lifeline: Retailers offering one or both options saw digital revenue skyrocket 127% year over year in Q2 2020. CSPs can implement these options quickly with Quick Start Commerce Solutions, which automate order fulfillment, enable online selling, and improve associate productivity.

Also consider:

  • Installing lockers at your store for customers to safely grab their orders and go
  • Designating some stores for inventory overflow and pickup-only (“dark stores”) and stocking those stores with popular SKUs for that specific geography
  • Encouraging additional browsing, even at curbside, with product vending machines or digital screens with more merchandise
  • Transferring products between stores using a local delivery service

Notify customers when it’s time for pickup and include instructions on what identification they’ll need (for example, a government-issued photo ID), pickup hours, and store details. In every communication, encourage them to connect with customer service should they have a question. 

CSPs can easily fulfill orders and extend capabilities to meet changing customer expectations with seamless, agile order management. Learn more.

Add Contactless Payment

While postpaid (and thus contactless) phone service is the norm in the U.S. and Canada, customers often prepay at the store in other countries. To reduce physical contact, try these payment options:

  • Mobile payment, like Apple Pay
  • Tap-and-go card payments
  • Payment from your app
  • Billing to an existing account to pay later

If a customer needs to sign terms and conditions, have them do it from their own device for less contact.


Chapter 2: Enable your retail store associates

Empower employees while repositioning those affected by store closures.

See how to:

  • Reskill associates
  • Evolve compensation models
  • Give associates the right digital tools

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