Chapter 1 Why customers need assistance
Chapter 2 Assisting customers with live agents
Chapter 3 Assisting customers with self-service kiosks
Chapter 4 Assisting customers with digital signage
Chapter 5 Teaching employees to work with assisted selling devices
Appendix Selected articles from SelfServiceWorld.com
Our grandparents had it easy, at least in some respects. Im certainly not advocating a return to the days of hand-pumping all of our water from a well, but theres an unquestionable appeal in the way shopping once took place. If you needed a set of tires for your car, there was an expert somewhere in your town he had a small handful of choices, and you usually could trust him to steer you toward the right one.
Today, those choices are far too numerous for any one expert. Instead of occupying a few square feet of floor space, they occupy one or more catalogs, each a few inches thick.
When our parents went shopping for their first television set (or color television, or radio, or whatever the case may be), they had to contend with the amount of room there was in the den and which cabinet would look nicest next to the existing furniture.
Today, woe to the television shopper who hasnt read one or more books on the topic. The modern electronics department is an acronym zoo of advanced features, high-definition this and progressive-scan that.
And what would our fore-fathers have thought if they had been granted a view of a modern pharmaceutical commercial? After all, arent the doctors the ones who are supposed to tell us what medicines to take, not the other way around?
Consumers are being required to make more choices with each passing season. We once could rely on the friendly experts down the street; today, those experts are either gone or diminished in their knowledge. This is not a criticism of the merchant, either for who can be an expert on every variety of widget when the sheer volume of them grows to such Olympian levels?
Retailers have struggled with this issue for some time, the search for a perfect balance between quantity of product and ease of consumer education. The Internet, and its total reinvention of the customer/product relationship, has both improved and worsened this situation: Retailers can now reference their Web inventory and carry an infinite number of products, but that only ups the ante in terms of what consumers expect. The walls of the retail environment have been expanded indefinitely, and like toothpaste out of the tube, it cannot be put back the way it was.
The optimist a camp we are firmly a part of sees this as positive on the whole. More products and consumer education equal more opportunities for sales, and good sales at that sales that echo in the customers mind as a positive experience, one he wants to repeat.
But all of this new information needs to be harnessed, and thats the goal of this publication to educate you on the tools available to help you provide better service, and influence your customers shopping habits, with assisted-selling devices. If youre a retailer, or if you provide support for retailers, we think youll find this information valuable.
Id like to thank Experticity, whose sponsorship of this guide enables us to provide it to you at no charge.