By Aimee Chanthadavong

The thing about multi-channel and cross-channel retail operations is that each outlet requires the same amount of effort to run. But what happens when you’re running around servicing each one separately? An equation for possible disaster.

And that’s one of the biggest mistakes retailers make, Brian Donn, APAC SVP and general manager of customer solutions provider company KANA Software, told RetailBiz.

“A lot of customers are grappling with the fact that they’ve grown these channels as silos. As their business evolved they’ve had to react with what customers want at different touch points and they’ve grown system in an unjoined way,” he said.

“So the biggest challenge from the enterprise- to mid-market is everyone is dealing with a solution that is already integrated and it’s about joining these channels and processes and data in different ways.

This was the challenge that Fred IT Group, company dedicated to providing IT solutions to the retail industry, faced.

Solutions and services Fred IT Group currently offers customers include: Fred Dispense, Australia's market leading dispensary application for retail pharmacy; the Fred Office POS solution, a full suite of cloud managed services; IT consulting and implementation services, as well as comprehensive post installation support backed by a 24/7 help centre.

“Given our unique value proposition lies in delivering managed IT services, we knew we needed to implement a proven customer service solution that would enable us to deliver the best web experience to our customers and also be sensitive to regulatory requirements associated with the Australian healthcare sector,” Ross Girvan, general manager Fred Knowledge at Fred IT Group said.

As a result, the cloud-based KANA Express solution was integrated into Fred IT Group’s system that would assist in enhancing the company’s customer web experience strategy.

“These days retailers are a lot more than just shops and you’ve got all these new channels emerging that customers want to contact you through,” Donn said.

“Fred IT is at the forefront of that so it’s about getting Fred the tools to be at the forefront of these new channels to better serve their customer and be involved in the next generation technology sense.

“The sweet spot of KANA Express effectively is that brings enterprise customer service into a skilled environment but without the complexity.”

According to Donn, for any retailer it’s all about being relevant to the customer.

“Phase one of the project was about a knowledge program running on Fred. We needed to help the agents answering these questions streamline the data management knowledge. Phase two is going to be about putting that knowledge and other processes online so consumers can self-serve and self-manage the problem if they choose to do,” he said.

“Aside from that there’s also going to be a modular assistant that will assist with questions through an interactive live web chat system.”