How to Make Smarter IT Service Calls: Consolidating Store Maintenance

15 Mar 2016

Retail technology is the new black: Stores are bursting with new devices that retailers hope will attract today’s highly connected, well-informed customer and keep them coming back. Retailers are adding mobile devices, kiosks, self-checkout, digital signage, beacons, updated payment devices and more, along with the more robust and better managed wired and wireless networks necessary to support it all. In POS alone, many retailers are in the midst of, or planning to upgrade hardware (38.6%), software (47%) or peripherals (37%) over the next two years, according to RIS News’ 25th Retail Technology Study:

Each of those technologies comes with its own installation requirements, product lifecycles, vulnerabilities, maintenance needs and vendors. That means for each version of POS system, each payment device, each beacon type, and so on, a retailer must contend with:

  • Its own ongoing retail move-add-change (MAC) work
  • Separate incidents requiring retail break fix work
  • A different set of technicians making service calls and revisits

All of this is incredibly disruptive to daily retail operations, not to mention costly. As retail technology proliferates, so does the scope of the problems caused by their need for ongoing support and maintenance. All of these challenges, coupled with personnel being stretched for time and resources, result in:

  • Longer resolution times

  • Greater cost risk

  • Issue reporting challenges

  • Declining internal and external customer satisfaction

Smart retailers are heading off this issue by consolidating and outsourcing their retail field services. By centralizing the installation, maintenance and support of their burgeoning roster of store technologies, they minimize both the cost and disruption involved in keeping them running as well as the legion of vendors they must manage. A single, centralized team coordinates and executes retail move-add-change (MAC) work, retail break fix work and technician service calls to people who do this, and only this, all the time. The result is a highly coordinated and cost effective service effort.

Say a POS lane goes down in a busy mass merchant’s store. POS is on a same-day, 4-hour service level agreement with the VAR that provided it, so the call goes out. The headaches are just beginning, because one of the mobile POS units is acting up too, and that was sold by a different vendor on a depot contract. The store is also scheduled for refresh of its payment terminals next week from yet another service provider.

Managed separately, that’s three different tech incidents and three different vendors and SLAs to manage, with two of the incidents requiring techs to come into the store at different times and disrupt operations while they do their work.

But if a single entity is serving those needs, the emergency POS service call could be addressed by pulling in one of the spare mobile devices positioned as a stationary checkout, and the POS fix handled next week’s during the payment terminal upgrade work. The result: lower costs, reduced disruption and an even faster resolution to the POS failure issue.