Friday, January 23, 2015

Smart Stores transform the Smart subscriber's experience

I'm happy that Smart is making the smart move to make store visits a more pleasant experience. They are now transforming their Smart Stores from traditional telco hubs to one where they can support their subscribers' digital lifestyles.

Visits to telco service centers have not always been something I'd look forward to. Going into one meant getting a number and simply killing time waiting for the monitor to call up your number to a counter so you could be assisted. I found the waiting a waste of time. When I really had to go to one, I'd make sure to bring something to read to while away the time. Still, I always somehow wished that the telco centers were a bit more inviting. Well, now it is.

The new Smart Store at the Power Plant Mall

 Smart Stores are now divided into different lifestyle nooks to keep subscribers and their families entertained and preoccupied while waiting.

The Music Hub with SPINNR and Deezer

At the Music Hub, one can use Spinnr and Deezer mobile applications to download and stream music on devices. This hub is also where one can learn more about the affordable subscription packages available and how music streaming and downloads can be done even without a credit card.

The Reading Nook
Buqo app offers ebooks/mags in different genres

The Reading Nook looks like a personal library and there are real books there plus a comfy armchair where one can laze around and read a book while waiting one's turn. But here, one can also use the Buqo app to pay for, and download, ebooks and e-magazines into one's device and pay for it through prepaid load deduction or postpaid bill charging.

The Games Station

At the Games Station, subscribers can access GameX, an online portal that allows them to buy game credits without leaving their seats. The game credits can be paid using prepaid load or postpaid bill charging.

Jasmine Curtis-Smith at the Zalora Nook
The Zalora Nook is the Digital Mall section of the new Smart stores where those fond of fashion can browse and avail of the online shopping services of Zalora.

Cafe-inspired customer service area
 Subscribers are now more relaxed in a customer service area that mimics a cafe making the ambience more relaxed and easy on the eye.

But...beyond just the aesthetic look though, Smart has also tweaked the customer service process and automated a few processes so that the subscriber himself can do certain things. Here are some of them.

iQueue, an automated queuing system, lets you reserve your queue number but there's more!

The iQueue automated queuing system is not just for getting a queue number. After you get your number, you can walk around the mall, run errands and do your thing without worrying that your number will come up without you there. The system will send you a text before your turn is up, allowing you to complete your errands and return to the Smart Store in time. This is a well thought-up feature because I value my time. This allows me to make full use of my time rather than spend it waiting at the store.

The Digital Profiler

The Digital Profiler provides a touch-screen way for people to know details of the different devices and plans and decide which suits best their needs.

The Smart Store we were in was the one at Power Plant, Rockwell but this year SM Megamall will also feature the same innovations. Smart expects to renovate 78 New Generation Smart Stores by the end of 2015.

For me, this shift indicates a mindset shift also towards the subscribers' convenience and lifestyles and away from the operational and transactional way traditional stores used to be designed. A smart innovation, indeed.

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