Article Synopsis :
Though the last ten years have seen a decline in brick-and-mortar retailing the need for physical sales networks has remained intact. Retailers are assimilating digital networks into their traditional sales channels thus creating omni-channel customer experience.
In the white paper “Physical Sales Networks In the Digital Era”, Wavestone shares successful omni-channel customer service strategies that provide added value to customers, sales teams and ultimately entire companies.
The Internet and digitalisation empower customers, pushing companies to provide personalised services over mobile and other digital devices. But customers still rely heavily on offline sales channels. For instance, in the insurance industry, online sales represent, per the report, only 3% of the insurance market.
Hence omni-channel experience is key to customer service and processes must be redesigned taking into account the following characteristics of the increasingly digital customer:
- Customer is well informed.
- Customer is connected.
- Customer is social.
Many companies are assimilating digital services into their physical sales networks. Wavestone coins this practice of assimilation as “Phygital”.
The point-of-sale can be redefined taking into account customer needs with respect to Reception & Information, Information & Experimentation and Sales & Advice desks. The design should be flexible to switch from on to off and vice versa. This augments rather than replaces existing sales teams empowering them to higher levels of productivity.
These redesigned sales tools and customer management systems rely on strong and robust IT systems capable of keeping pace with the Phygital strategy as it evolves.
Channels should be monitored and measured on overall performance with respect to traffic and conversion rates. Relative sales performance and contribution to the overall customer experience should also be measured and managed.
Any channel transformation effort should start with the following three considerations:
- Listen to the sales team and explain, if necessary, the benefits of new digital processes.
- Rely on managers, supporting them with resources to help deal with sales-force problems.
- Start the transformation project by setting and sharing clear objectives and strategies.
In conclusion, the paper offers seven golden rules to achieve a successful transformation:
- Build a new value proposition redefining the added value of the point of sale and the sales force.
- Build clear steps/phases for the transformation journey paying equal attention to customer-oriented work streams and work streams involving employees.
- Manage each step and spread awareness of progress.
- Stage frequent demos showing how offline and online mediums will interact.
- Experiment to test and learn.
- Modernize across new channels as they emerge.
- Invest in CRM systems for higher levels of performance.
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Digital Insurer's CommentsAs much as we write and think about digital there’s no doubt physical channels will remain dominant in insurance for at least the next decade. We wholeheartedly agree with this article’s premise that the right way to think about digital is not as a replacement but a supplement to physical channels.
It’s a fact on Amazon that a poorly rated product sells better than a product not rated at all. What does this mean to insurers? It might mean that some digital presence is better than no presence at all. Even if you sell 100% of your policies through physical channels your digital activities create headwinds or tailwinds for your human sales teams.
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