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Shop Trade to Stay Quiet Until the End of the Year, Predicts Online Bed Retailer

Things aren’t looking good for the world of retail, especially not for the bed industry. The online bed retailer Bedstar Ltd has predicted that shop trade will remain quiet until the end of the year.

They and other businesses will have to change how they operate if they’re to weather this pandemic storm successfully. Helpdesks and online support are the future.

Bedstar’s Digital Marketing Director, Jonathan Stalker, comments: ‘High street bed shops will not reopen until mid-June and, with current social distancing that will need adhering to, we foresee shop trade remaining quiet until the end of the year. Most beds shops will reopen by appointment only, so customers will need to book a specific time to visit the shop.’

He also comments that there has been a huge increase in online sales as customers change their shopping habits. Since customers are unable to try the products before buying them, they’ve needed more sales advice.

Meanwhile, the online bed retailer has been wrestling with supply chain issues that will see it run out of a lot of the most popular bed frames in July or August. Lead times will be around six to eight weeks. Sad times for a retailer that had observed some interesting trends in its industry before this.

Bedstar’s situation is one many other companies will also be facing, but none of this means ‘Game over’ for businesses. Helpdesks and online support are the way forward so that they can keep operating and serving their customers.

As the businesses have to call upon technology more and more, they’re going to start to become overloaded, which is why a helpdesk will come in handy. Here are some other reasons helpdesks will play a more prominent role in the COVID-19 world:

Helpdesks help businesses stay up to date with tech

Technologically, the world is moving fast. It’s easy for businesses to fall behind. If a business works with a helpdesk, they can stay up to date with the necessary hardware and software to run smoothly. They can operate confidently, knowing that someone has got their back technologically.

The greater connectivity

If there’s one thing businesses need right now, it’s to be more connected technologically and to the world around them. Businesses will need support to maintain their network and a helpdesk can provide them that. As technology becomes more and more specialised, the broader support of a helpdesk, who can assist over the internet, will become more valuable to them than that of an in-house technician.

Spreading the workload

A helpdesk takes pressure off employees by spreading the workload. The increasing, necessary use of technology brings potentially more problems. A business can call on a helpdesk and know that there may be multiple workers looking into the problem (s) rather than just one, overburdened technician.

Raising the customer service game

Businesses are going to have to change how they attend to their customers. That means we can expect to see customer service that is heavily reliant on tech to make it happen. Here are some changes to watch out for:

Increased social media presence

Businesses will be upping their game on social media. People check out businesses on social media to see how well they support their customers. They complain to them on social media and about them on social media. It’s more important than ever to have a good social media presence and play a solid social media game.

More face-to-face communication by video

Eye contact improves relationships. It suggests openness, too. Some companies are already making the most of video communication technology and sending ‘video voicemails’. These companies are ahead of the game, especially as more and more people start to use video calling and consider voice calling a thing of the past. Get ready for business to schedule online meetings more with their customers.

Real time overtaking email

Customer service by email may become less frequent. Facebook Messenger has changed the game massively, allowing businesses and customers to converse in real time. A business’s Facebook page even shows the audience how long the customer service team is likely to take to get back to them. If businesses don’t have good real-time messaging, they need to work on this.

New customer service roles

Customers might stay away from shops but they’ll still need support with products or services. This is where we could see a more extensive implementation of augmented reality technology, with virtual assistants showing customers how to use products over the internet.

We’ll also see more specialists emerge. Not only will customer service staff have specialised product or service knowledge, but they’ll also dedicate themselves to learning about different channels. Then they can know everything there is to know about a channel to offer the very best service to their customer.

Bots supporting customer service agents

If people are going to shop online more and contact customer service teams more, companies will have to improve their bot strategy. Some fear bots will replace reps, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Bots can support reps, by responding to messages while the reps take care of other business. If a message comes through to the business in the middle of the night, the bot can acknowledge it, satisfying the customer temporarily until a human customer service agent can address their issue the next day.

Coronavirus has changed the game. It’s damaged trade and is changing how retailers operate. More people will shop online and companies will have to work hard on their customer service and online capabilities to serve their customers.

Only time will tell how retailers fare, but in the meantime, it seems likely that brick-and-mortar shops will struggle for the rest of the year. Sad but true.

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