Published October 14, 2021 | Last Updated December 2, 2023
While the COVID-19 pandemic caused tens of millions of workers to shift into “work from home” mode almost overnight, many in-person service-based companies (and their employees) simply weren’t able to do that. Among them were retailers, banks, and entertainment venues, because—other than “essential services” providers like grocery stores—they had to close their doors for months. That caused tens of millions of workers to be furloughed or worse, lose their jobs altogether.
As the United States slowly returned to a sense of normalcy and organizations like these opened for business again, a curious thing happened. Instead of furloughed or unemployed workers rushing back to their jobs, many have not re-entered the workforce. As a result, there are millions of open positions with no one in line to fill them. In April 2020, the United States posted a staggering 9.3 million job openings. At the same time, 4 million workers quit their jobs, including nearly 650,000 retail workers.
As organizations like these confront a tight labor market in the second half of 2021 and beyond, a growing number will lean on digital signage to handle some of the customer service tasks they’d otherwise ask their employees to do.
Free up time your employees spend on customer service tasks—with digital signage
Where customer service is concerned, the personal touch will never go out of style. However, not every customer service interaction needs an employee to handle it. Having become so accustomed to online experiences, 81% of customers prefer attempting self-service before contacting a live customer service rep. Why not utilize your digital signage to give them what they want, so your existing employees have more time to handle the complex customer interactions and other high-value tasks?
With the proper placement of digital screens in your venue—and a digital signage content management platform and content creation tools like ReflectView, Reflect Xperience, and Reflect Spark—you can create and deliver engaging customer support experiences like these:
A “kiosk” where customers can check account balances, make payments, update personal information. Or, better, let them scan a QR code that allows them to enter personal data from their phone rather than on a public screen.
Answer frequently asked questions about a location or venue’s operations, such as purchase and delivery options, return policies, credit applications, corporate goals, and values—practically anything they might want to know but not want to ask a person—all in an engaging format
Interactive wayfinding applications that help shoppers find departments or items they are looking for with directions from the screen they are using—and even send those directions to their mobile device.
Inventory checks to let customers find out whether the size and color of the item they’ve decided to purchase is in stock. If not, you can provide the location and distance of the closest store where it is available, allow them to reserve it, and offer home delivery options and dates.
Menus and ordering capabilities to engage guests waiting for seating at their favorite restaurant.
Check-in and check-out apps to allow hotel guests quicker and easier access and departure.
Interactive apps that provide details on a product of interest and detailed comparisons between similar items so customers can make more informed purchase decisions.
Promotions of current specials and best sellers—applicable to almost any service industry.
Checking and updating customers' loyalty and rewards program details or providing them digital coupon incentives for coming back soon.
The possibilities are almost limitless.
In all these and many other employee-less customer support experiences, digital signage screens can let your customers access, control, and interact with the content or the content app via the screen itself or directly with their phone, just by scanning a QR code.
So, whether you’re in retail, hospitality, retail banking, healthcare, or any other industry that’s struggling to fill those staff positions in today’s tight labor market, digital signage can help. With the right content and strategic placement of digital screens in your venues, you can provide the self-service experiences your customers want while freeing up the limited number of employees you do have. Everyone wins—the customers, the employees, and the business.