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Retail Communications at Virgin Mobile

Calling up Tools of the Trade in Retail Communications

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Virgin Mobile UK is a mobile phone service provider operating in the United Kingdom (UK) and part of Virgin Media, the first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services in the UK. It operates 80 stores, employing 550 staff in retail outlets and a further 200 in “Lite” pop-up locations.

 

Sarah Arthur is the Retail Communications Manager at Virgin Mobile UK. The Retail Communications team is responsible for employee communications across all Virgin Mobile retail outlets. The team needs to ensure that key internal messages are delivered to retail staff in a timely manner and that they can access operational information — new packages and special offers, company news, IT notifications, internal campaigns and requests for feedback — regardless of location or desktop environment.

Virgin Mobile was relying on email and its intranet for communicating with retail staff. They needed to continue to work with their existing employee communication channels and systems but they also wanted to explore ways of delivering push communications which their core systems couldn’t do.

 

The team decided it was “better to look for a bespoke tool for our needs.” 

 

Virgin Mobile implemented the SnapComms internal communications software in 2008 and is using Desktop Alerts, Desktop Tickers, Staff Surveys and Internal Newsletters.

Arthur confirms that “SnapComms is a key tool for sending information to stores.”

 

It is now their main retail communication channel and vital to operations, as the information it conveys to staff enables Virgin Mobile to trade very day.

 

Arthur explains that “store staff on the shop floor needed something that popped up in whatever tool they were using and SnapComms gave us that ability.

It is the tool we use to push information to store staff.”

 

The desktop alerts have been used in a wide variety of situations such as to notify staff when support centres are closed, advise the time and nature of IT systems changes, provide updates about tariffs and exclusions and communicate sales incentive campaigns.

 

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Reminding retail staff about mobile phone package exclusions

 

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Acknowledging and rewarding high-performing sales staff

 

While each of the SnapComms’ employee communication channels that Virgin Mobile is using can be used in isolation, they do integrate seamlessly. For example the staff survey is used to get feedback and views from stores and can be distributed in combination with a desktop alert, directing employees to further information and the link to the survey. Store managers are very supportive of the staff surveys and understand their importance in getting information back from the stores to head office, and it’s not unusual to achieve 100% response rates from these.

 

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Staff surveys have achieved high response rates

 

 

Arthur says that “SnapComms is just an accepted way for staff to receive communications.”

 

Stores have reacted well to the tools and it’s simple and easy for them to receive information. This has been achieved through the Retail Communications team controlling the level of communication so that staff are not bombarded. They have ensured that the tools are not over-used and that they do not step outside users’ expectations.

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