The power of prediction – how to transform retail business through Intelligent Engineering

By Carla Hall, - RetailService Intelligence

For retailers today, technology problems are incredibly expensive, both in terms of brand reputation and lost revenue.

IT major outage downtime, for instance, costs businesses around £4,300 per minute.

This means that solving problems isn’t enough: you need to prevent them from happening in the first place.

We need to move from a reactive approach to one that is proactive and predictive, based on the impact to business operations.

Now more than ever you need to eradicate IT issues before they arise, preventing unnecessary downtime and disruption, whilst protecting business reputation and customer experience.

How can you achieve this?

First, you need to abandon the outdated ‘break-fix’ approach, where you only make repairs after something has crashed.

This method is far too reactive. Waiting for something to break is always going to be more time-consuming and detrimental to the customer experience in the long run, no matter how quickly you can fix it.

Today you need a proactive approach, otherwise known as Intelligent Engineering.

Take a look at our video to learn more:

Replace ‘break-fix’ with Intelligent Engineering

Intelligent Engineering is a new name for an old idea: that prevention is better than the cure. It is a system that anticipates when something may go wrong and allows you to correct it before it does.

We’ve already seen benefits from this in one of our major retail clients.

An intelligent system monitored till reboots across our clients’ estate and identified an average of 172 hours were being lost per day in downtime.

The users were not reporting these reboots to the service desk as they believed rebooting the device was fixing the issue when in reality it was simply masking the underlying problem.

By monitoring this invisible demand, we were able to proactively send our engineers to the stores to resolve the issues before more downtime was generated and more revenue was lost, all without the customer knowing there was an issue.

Make the most of data

Intelligent Engineering makes clever use of data by combining multiple data sets and analyzing them to create insight.

For example, it can work out which assets are most valuable in creating an always-on service, or which are most important for keeping queues moving during peak times.

With this insight, you can focus on maintaining what matters.

This approach can also help you work out whether you need more equipment, or simply equipment that is more robust.

You don’t just get information on how assets are working; you can see levels of demand, so you can tell when a particular machine is breaking due to overuse.

Using data in this way means Intelligent Engineering becomes a process of refining and improving the business continuously. In doing this, you are ensuring the best return on infrastructure investment and total cost of delivery end-to-end.

It’s less about fighting fires and more about adding value.

Intelligent Engineering works in every situation

Intelligent Engineering is driven by data, making it applicable to everything, not just hardware.

It is an all-encompassing approach.

An example of this proactive approach focuses on retraining staff to ensure they are using equipment correctly, based on evidence that misuse is contributing to the cause of a malfunction.

It is also applicable to the help desk.

When somebody calls the help desk about a problem, the intelligent system can personalize how that employee is served.

Those who are highly computer literate, for example, can be talked through a swap or a rebuild.

This is part of a recognizing the needs of different generations in the workplace and offering a choice of support options – something I’ve addressed in a previous post.

It’s all about customer experience

All sectors can derive huge benefits from Intelligent Engineering but retailers, in particular, will profit in terms of the customer experience.

People’s shopping habits are changing. The store is becoming a place for interaction rather than a purely functional arena, as our report ‘The Forgotten Shop Floor’ explores.

Technology has a vital part to play in this. 51% of consumers believe the main advantage of in-store technology is that it speeds up the service they receive.

So if a rebooting till causes a queue at peak time, or if a till fails while a customer is using it, it will damage far more than just productivity – it will harm the customer experience too.

This is not just the case on the shop floor: it relates to all self-service settings.

We have used Intelligent Engineering to improve transaction speeds at ATMs, for example.

By interpreting the data effectively we were able to identify particular models with slow processing speeds, even pinpointing the exact processor causing the issue.

We then carried out a proactive swap, resulting in a better experience for the customer.

This would not have been possible with a traditional break-fix system because the ATMs were not technically broken, even though they were causing problems for the business.

Be proactive to be productive

Intelligent Engineering is a hugely beneficial approach that delivers great results when used across all areas of your business.

It is important to remember that it does more than boost productivity; through smart data analysis, Intelligent Engineering allows you to make positive changes to your organization to significantly improve the customer experience.

And it all starts with a proactive mindset.

Check out the video to find out more.

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