Walmart Needs Tech Help. Now.
Customer satisfaction needs some urgent care at retailers nationwide, notes a survey of more than 8,700 people released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And no company is in need of that more than Walmart.
The survey found that satisfaction is on the decline from last year. The drop was small, at 1.4%, but in an industry that claims to be fixated on enhancing the customer experience, that figure is disheartening. And Walmart didn’t just perform poorly, it received its worst customer satisfaction rating since 2007, securing the bottom spot on ACSI’s retail customer service ranking. In contrast, Nordstrom finished at the top of the list by a significant margin.
The problems customers have with Walmart as well as other retailers can be solved by the use of technology. These are not unique challenges. What’s holding back poor performers is the desire to invest in solutions. Let’s look at three customer complaints and ways they could improve with a technology makeover at the world’s largest retailer.
Complaint #1: Long Lines. Mobile POS can work wonders here. By equipping department associates with mobile POS, front end registers will have a lighter load. In addition, tablets can be used for linebusting, in which customers are redirected from a standard checkout and serviced via a m-POS. And, during the busiest store times, a clerk can collect a customer’s information while they stand in line for ultra-fast check-out when they reach the register. The mobile device connects to the database in real time, so the check-out process is already half-completed by the time the customer places the products on the counter.
Complaint #2: Shelves Are Consistently Understocked. By equipping the shelves with RFID antennas, EPC Gen 2
readers and tags, as well as an application that can run on tablets or smartphones, inventory can be accurately monitored. Managers can reorder hot selling products or lower the prices on slower movers.
Complaint #3: Unpleasant Associates. Technology that makes workers’ jobs easier is a sure way to increase job satisfaction. Training on mobile POS, for example, requires less training than traditional registers. Knowing when shelves need to be replenished rather than waiting until they are bare helps managers set the pace of the day. Ship to-store is a technology that intentionally drives customers into the brick and mortar establishment, but if the customer is greeted by a surly representative, ship-to-store will fail in its goal of enticing those customers to add to their baskets.