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How to Increase Revenue and Loyalty Through Retail Brand Transformation

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Webinar April 27, 2016
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How to Increase Revenue and Loyalty Through Retail Brand Transformation

Its growth stymied by disparate sub-brands, fragmented messaging and an inconsistent customer experience, Cable & Wireless Communications set out to completely transform its Caribbean telecoms retail business.

Through the development of a robust digital strategy and effective rebranding process, CWC consolidated its brands, centralized its messaging, streamlined its customer service and modernized its retail environment to become a best-in-class model for telecoms in the Caribbean.

Will Gibson, Vice-President of Retail for CWC, shares the retail brand transformation strategy for CWC telecoms brand FLOW, which led to an increase in revenue, customer satisfaction and NPS.

The webinar will cover:

  • How to build a unified and coherent brand strategy
  • How to integrate digital technology to create an immersive retail experience
  • What to consider when contemplating a brand transformation
  • What pitfalls to avoid
  • Advice for working with your agencies

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Webinar Transcript

Richard: I am standing here today with Will Gibson, the Vice President of Retail for Cable and Wireless Communications. We’re standing inside the all new FLOW Store Experience and we’re gonna have a dialog about the process, the steps that have led up to the creation of this great store and our relationship together. So Will, can you give us a brief overview of cable and wireless communications and FLOW? What is the FLOW Brand?

Will: So at cable and wireless we’re a full quad play carrier operator. We have three businesses, one in Bahamas which is BTC, one in Panama which is Cable and Wireless Panama. And in the Caribbean, due to our recent merger with Columbus, we took on the brand name of FLOW replacing the old lines. So we’re in that transition. And in the Caribbean, we really needed to bring FLOW to life and relaunch it and so that’s why the retail experience was certainly part of that.

Richard: So what were the challenges that you had to overcome in creating this FLOW experience and this FLOW retail environment?

Will: So the challenge for the mobile landscape across the Caribbean is one of basic, you know, 20 years of legacy, 20 years of basic monopoly. And then in the last 5 to 10 years, the market really opened up from a pricing perspective. But the challenge with the Caribbean and the diverse nature of the geography means that you have so many different islands. You have so many different proud individual countries that the governance sometimes and getting consistency across can be a challenge.

From the retail perspective, we’re obviously getting to grips with the new brand and relaunching FLOW and bringing that to certain markets that had never seen FLOW before. In some markets, FLOW and LIME had existed side by side. In some markets like Cayman Islands for instance, there was only LIME so FLOW was new. So what did that brand mean? And from a retail perspective you know our stores were very old, the experience was old fashioned. It was more akin to a bank or a post office and it was go there to pay your bill and go there to seek some customer service.

Now obviously, with the changing landscape in the digital world that today is we wanted to bring a very first world retail experience to the Caribbean. And we wanted to make the retail experience more about “Come and experience what our products and services can do to enhance your life” rather than “Here is our place of operation, come talk to us, come pay your bills.”

Richard: So Will, maybe next, we can talk about the goals and objectives for the project and what you were hoping to achieve.

Will: So my goal for this project was to really bring a first world, cutting-edge, retail tel-cord design to the Caribbean. But then obviously, the main retail objectives exist. You know the challenge when you want to go experiential and digital in retail is how do you swallow the costs of all of this equipment against what you’re driving and delivering from a sales perspective in store? And that is a challenge because we had to free that channel up.

You know as I said before, the store journey was about bill payment and was about customer service. It wasn’t necessarily about upgrading your handset or buying an accessory or buying a tablet. You know we didn’t even sell some of those categories. So we had to set some very clear KPIs around what the return was gonna be. And also you know we had to be very diligent in terms of about what the environment would cost. But that still didn’t mean that we could just blow a million dollars on every single store. You know, we obviously had a cost consciousness there and we had to make sure that our ambitions reflected the reality of the economics and demographics in the region. And we managed to achieve that and, you know, what you see here. We’ve have managed to produce at a level which have hit our targets of cost so that was great.

Richard: Could you now maybe talk a little bit about the process that you took achieve these goals and what that journey look like?

Will: Yeah, so the process was really on a number of multiple different levels. Obviously, working with Shikatani Lacroix from the beginning on the ideation and design was a real, I would say, fun process. You know we started with a blank sheet of paper and we were guided towards various different levels of execution and ambition. And some of which actually, some of the early iterations really kind of stretched the boundaries of what was possible and was all kind of uber Caribbean and music and almost carnival every day. And you know, from that, we were able then through a solid series of research pull all of those together and really come up with something that not only was new and digital and experiential, but certainly in the look and feel was Caribbean.

One of the challenges with FLOW as brand being blue is that if you only put blue and shades of in a retail environment, the store can look very cold. So through the research, we really got an understanding that color was really important to the Caribbean. So hence us using the secondary color palettes to really drive some kind of fun areas of the store.

And then from there is, you know, once we got the design done, we took our time and went into a solid period of prototyping. And we worked with some of our middle work vendors. We worked with some of our other technology partners to really see how everything could fit and could that design work in reality. And I think that part of the process, the secondary process, was very fulfilling because it meant we were able to hit the ground running. And certainly, that’s why we’re in this location right now which we call our Miami Retail Lab. You know this was the place were we built the first versions and pretty close to the final versions of all of the furniture and we put it in and we said, “Does this work?”

And so making sure that you know Shikatani helped us with all stages of that process and really held our hands through it was a) very rewarding, but b) meant that we were able to, you know, have a project that hit the ground running. We didn’t do a store and then have to go back and say, “This doesn’t work, that doesn’t work, this doesn’t work.” It was very well fleshed out from the beginning.

Richard: So maybe now we can talk about how you’ve changed that brand perception, that brand experience around the FLOW store and talk a little bit about that brand transformation as well.

Will: So the brand transformation and the story of moving from LIME to FLOW in the Caribbean is actually a long one. It began in November 2014 and still as of March 2016 is not quite completed. There are few of our markets that haven’t flipped over for various regulatory reasons. But we started our journey in Barbados, which is one of our biggest markets. And the brand transformation, you know, really happened overnight and across a weekend with a lot of launch activities.

But in every market where we’ve combined the brands or we’ve flipped from single line to single FLOW, we’ve tried to bring the retail experience as part of that brand transformation. So it’s about saying to the customers, you know, “Who you previously view as LIME has changed and we have completely changed and we are now FLOW. So here is your new product catalog, here are our new values, here is how we’re gonna do business with you.”

But actually retail is a very real tangible place where you can show customers how you’re different. So able to open, you know, a fantastic beautiful environment like this that is able to showcase a full range of devices that are for sale live. That is able to bring accessories to the markets in a way we’ve never done before, live. You know you can interact with speakers here, you can interact with tablets. You can buy the Gear watch, the Fitbits. You know, that was a way that helped cement our brand transformation because we were able to physically show this is how we’re different and it was very well received.

Richard: So Will, there’s a lot of digital interaction, a lot of digital immersive in terms of the experience here. Could you talk a little bit about the role of digital in the store in terms of the customer journey and customer engagement?

Will: So our commitment to digital from the onset was absolute. We knew we wanted to move from traditional paper. Away from traditional poster frames in stores and in the windows and so on and so forth. And, you know, we wanted to, through our use of the screens and technology, showcase our brand, showcase what’s possible, and showcase what’s cool in a really immersive way. So, you know, working with the team at Shikatani to produce all of the moving images that replaced our brochures, replaced our flyers that clutter up and get thrown away was key.

And we wanted the customer to use the technology in a way that helped their journey. If they were browsing around the store environment, you know, what is the latest campaign and are they able to see that? Can they see some of the prepaid rates? Can they use some of the technology in a branded way to look at the products and services that are right for their needs? And this is a great example of where this type of product can be an alone journey so the customers are invited to touch themselves and explore. Or it can be a joint-hosted journey where the adviser will ask the right questions and use the technology to demonstrate to the customer what is going to be right for them.

So you know we are really delighted with the quality of the digital experiences in store. It’s very, very well branded. It speaks the right tone. It talks about our products and our services. And I think immerses the customer into our environment so when they walk in, they’re kind of like, you know, “Wow, this is cool, this is something I want to do. This is a company I want to do business with.”

And that’s actually borne out by the fact that one of our KPIs was to bring our competitor customers into stores. Because typically in the past that didn’t happen. And what we find now through monitoring of SIMs that come in and people who connect to our Wi-Fi network is that roughly about 10% of our customers actually are our competitor customers. So that’s enabling us to meet our business objectives through the digital journey.

Richard: So in addition, how is digital being leveraged to greet the customer? How are the customer’s expectations being met when they come into the store and they’re looking at waiting times or being directed to the right department?

Will: From the beginning when a customer comes in from the queuing station, you know, the customer is triaged to the right area of the store and that reduces wait time. It reduces frustrations so that the customer who has a five-minute help and advice quick query is not stuck behind three people with long bill payment queries in store. So the queuing system and the way we’ve integrated that again into the technology around the store has been really well received. Because subliminally by showing the queue menus on the screens and having them bounce around, it’s encouraging the customers to move and experience different parts of the store. And we found that a real plus.

You know other parts of the technology that help the journey are things like the bill payment kiosks that have really sped up that experience. So now you don’t have to wait for a person and give them your money. You can be in and out in less than 60 seconds at the front of our store.

And one of the other experiences was the charge-up station. You know, we have this beautiful now secure cabinet where customers can store their phone and continue about their transaction. And then go get it and they’ve had a big boost to the power of their device. And we’re finding again that’s driving competitor customers inside because it’s a free service for everybody in that community not just for our customers. So it’s a great way for us to say out loud, I guess, to everybody that you know, “Come be a part of us and our story because we care about you as a consumer and we want to help you as much as possible.” So you know the whole digital experience in totality has really brought, I think, the store experience together and helped us hit our objectives.

Richard: Will, could you expand a little bit on the store performance and some of those metrics and measurements that you’re using to describe how the store experience has been elevated and differentiated?

Will: Yeah. So the re-branding has been a big success in terms of our perception as a business. You know, LIME being a near-10-year-old brand in the region had suffered from some negative associations. So we’re able to kind of sweep those away with the change to FLOW. And also the improvements in a number of parts of our business like contact centers and overall kind of customer service initiatives as well as retail. So our Net Promoter Score has increased and we’ve met our objectives handsomely for the year.

In terms of retail, we’re actually in a negative position in our previous old legacy stores. On NPS, our customers say they were in stores too long, queue times were bad, experience was poor, and they couldn’t often get the answers to the questions that they had. So now, we’ve actually seen, I hesitate to say a little, but it’s true, kind of a quantum leap in our NPS, in that most of our markets now are in a positive for retail. And particularly when we are able to pin that down to a market that only really has one flagship store.

And I’ll give you a great example, is Dominica. We took that market from minus 24 on NPS to plus 20. That is a huge swing and as a result that also had impacts on the sales objectives at Christmas, market share we were able to gain. So, you know, the retail environment now has given us a real weapon to really attack our competitor and welcome their customers and gain share as a result. And at the same time, people who are customers of ours are now thanking us and doing more business with us, upgrading their handsets, buying accessories, buying more products like TV and broadband. Because they are delighted with the experience and we look after them when they come into this beautiful store environment.

Richard: So this has been a great process and one that we’re very happy to be a part of. Have you got advice for other brands or individuals looking to change their customer experience, their customer engagement in that customer immersion that you’ve talked to?

Will: Retail brand transformation will touch every aspect of the business. It will touch what happens in your customer service ambitions and your contact centers if you have them. It will touch your brand, the needs to speak to your brand. And as a result, it needs to be everybody’s project. So very early on in this project, we engaged our IT brothers. We engaged our marketing department and our brand team. We engaged our customer service team and we made this transformation their product and enabled everybody to have input.

I think the other piece of advice I would give is just don’t be a “me too.” If you’re doing this transformation, you’re obviously spending good money on this project, you need to get a return. So don’t just settle for what is the same and that you’ve seen before but you kinda think looks good. Think beyond that to the next phase.

I think my advice would definitely be, you know, set your bar high, and be different. Because in today’s digital world of speed and everything always on all at the same time, how you stand out from the crowd is gonna get you attention. Being the same is not. So there would be my two pieces of advice.

Richard: So thank you for joining us today, Will. Thank you so much. It’s been a great journey. Thanks for…

Will: My pleasure.

Richard: Yeah. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of it. We invite you all to stick around and we’ll be answering questions in a few minutes.

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