Blog: Don't Wait for Your Retail Technology to Break
If you own a car, you know that regular oil changes and other preventative maintenance like replacing worn brakes and tires are what stands between you and getting stranded on the side of the road. For retailers, technology can be seen the same way. A proactive approach that combines automation, frequent checkups, and DIY capabilities can significantly reduce the downtime that ruins customer experiences and frustrates employees.
How to Avoid Emergencies
When technology fails, it takes time to call support, get a technician onsite to fix it, send a device off for repair, or order a replacement. It doesn't have to be like that. Here are 5 ways retailers can help ward off tech emergencies that cause downtime.
1) Automation and Monitoring
Many of the hiccups that take technology offline can be prevented entirely or resolved in seconds using advanced IT automation and monitoring solutions. Problems with software, networks, and devices are sensed and fixed automatically—often before the end user is even aware there's an issue. It's done with artificial intelligence and machine learning that looks for devices and software showing signs of failure and performs dozens of everyday IT tasks like resets and troubleshooting.
2) Preventative Maintenance
Many retail devices and networks are put into service and rarely get any checkups until they fail. Scheduling regular service calls where a technician goes around the store doing routine maintenance, like installing software and firmware updates, cleaning, and looking for parts like buttons, screens, or printers on the verge of failure, helps find and resolve potential causes of downtime before they happen. The work can be scheduled during off-hours or slow times to minimize disruption.
3) Simple Omni-Purpose Devices
For decades, retailers have relied on purpose-built devices, like cash registers and other point-of-sale technology, but that's changing. Common equipment like tablets and mobile phones are easier to support and decrease downtime for two reasons:
- Employees often use the same kinds of devices in their personal lives and are familiar with how to use and troubleshoot them
- Keeping a stock of backups is easier when one or two standard devices are used for multiple purposes throughout a store
4) DIY and Self-Staging
Most device failures are software-related, not hardware. Having the ability to do a factory reset in-store means the device doesn't have to be shipped out for repair or fixed during a tech visit. That's even easier with common devices that employees are comfortable troubleshooting. It reduces downtime and cuts repair costs.
Similarly, the ability to self-stage—shipping a device straight to the store instead of through a pre-configuration center—means equipment can be configured by scanning a barcode and put immediately into service.
5) Wireless Failover
Another significant cause of downtime is the loss of connectivity. Employees can't process non-cash payments if devices can't connect to the internet. All retail businesses should have a wireless failover system that automatically rolls devices over to a mobile network if landlines go down. Such solutions are relatively inexpensive and can help prevent significant losses during a lengthy outage.
When Emergencies Do Happen, Fix Them Fast
No matter how proactive a business is, there are going to be issues that can't be solved through remote remediation or by a store employee. That's when a strategy that combines rapid dispatch and intelligent parts management pays off.
We use this method to support many of the nation's top retailers. We work with customers to establish what commonly needed parts and replacement devices are needed. Then, we stage them to get them quickly to our certified and trusted field technicians who cover 95% of postal codes in the U.S. and Canada.
Don't Derail Great Customer Experiences
Many things may detract from the customer experience, but your technology shouldn't be one of them. When you shift from a reactive to a proactive IT support strategy, you prevent problems or provide fast and easy solutions that help you keep your shoppers and employees happy.