Loyalty Starts at the Point of Purchase

Each year, manufacturers continue to develop and bring out an abundance of new mobile phones and smartphones to entice customers to part with their old handsets and reap the benefits promised by an upgraded version. Yet with this continued product flow from manufacturers, and more and more mobile phone stores popping up on the high street, retailers and operators are constantly under pressure to think of new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors and ensure that they retain their customer base.

But how do you do this? The simplest answer to this conundrum is to provide customers, either online or at the point of sale, with the ultimate customer service, by ensuring that they get everything they require from the retailer and then go the extra mile and offer services previously unavailable to them. This will ensure they leave happy with the service, and through word of mouth, will hopefully entice friends and family to churn from other retailers – ensuring you are able to increase your customer base.

Keeping your contacts and content
When buying a new handset, there’s nothing more frustrating than losing all the data you had stored on your previous phone. Users are more and more frequently using their mobiles as key repositories for personal information such as contacts, text messages and multimedia content such as photos and videos. In 2010, we conducted a survey amongst UK customers that revealed that for 25 per cent of users, a key barrier to upgrading their phone to a new model is the hassle of losing mobile data.  By offering a point of sale service to upgrade the customer’s mobile content in the retail outlet, this hurdle can be overcome instantaneously, eliminating a key sales barrier, whilst enhancing customer service. 27 per cent of users would change their handset more frequently if they were able to transfer their mobile content onto the new device at the point of sale. This makes promoting the service appealing for the operator, as is has the ability to attract new customers to its service by offering free data migration from any operator network, at the retail outlet.

Up-selling at the point of sale
When it comes to keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, having the latest handset just isn’t enough these days; users also want to have access to the latest applications. Previously, this would require them to buy and download these apps in their own personal time, with the handset retailer not seeing any of the revenue. But what if customers could buy these apps in store? It is now possible for retailers to get a slice of the app action, via tools provided by third party vendors, which will enable them to sell and upload mobile applications at the point of sale. This will further enhance customer satisfaction and increase loyalty, as it provides customers with the opportunity to have everything uploaded all at once and save them time in the long term. More than this, it will open up another revenue stream for operators, enabling them to increase ARPU. This will also go a long way in differentiating one operator’s services from their competitors, who are unable to provide these additional, value-added services.

Flashing old phones
Another common source of customer dissatisfaction is when their phone goes wrong and simply stops working or freezes. This problem normally originates from the phone’s hardware or because the user has maxed out their memory. This would normally result in the phone having to be sent away for repair, with the customer having to make-do with a temporary phone. Not only is this inconvenient for the customer, but it is also a huge cost for the retailer. Instead the user could have their handset’s firmware updated or re-programmed, also known as ‘Phone Flashing’, in store by the retailer. In many cases, this process can resuscitate a previously retired phone and give it a new lease of life. For retailers, this process can be simple and easy to do, whilst providing customers with an additional service which will increase their level of satisfaction, as it will enable them to keep the phone that they like and know how to use, instead of being forced to select a new mobile, which they may not necessarily want.

Looking to the future
We are entering an era when retailers need to look for new revenue streams to ensure that they stay at the forefront of customers’ minds, particularly as users are faced with more and more options when it comes to buying a mobile phone. It is vital that operators ensure that they stand out from the crowd by providing value-added services in-store and at the point of sale. By going the extra mile, customers will not churn to a competitor, and ultimately, will spend more money with the operator they trust and receive the best customer service from.


Yossi Carmil is co-CEO of Cellebrite