O2 opens new concept store in Manchester

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Second to open in London’s Westfield White City later this month, with a total of 54 new jobs created

O2 has opened a new concept store in Manchester three times the size of a normal shop, with customer service at its heart.

The operator said the store, located on market street, measures 2,300 square feet and has been designed to revolutionise the look and feel of a traditional mobile phone shop.

A second concept store will open in London’s Westfield White City later this month, with both creating 54 new jobs combined. Each new employee has received a bespoke training programme.

Both will feature interactive ‘inspire zones’ giving customers the chance to try new technology, from virtual reality to the latest connected devices, as well as mobile handsets.

Lounge area in new concept store
Lounge area in new concept store

O2 Guru’s will provide regularly technology tutorials to customers, covering elements from helping parents find out how to keep their children safe online, to advice on how to connect different devices together and how to use technology to get fit.

Lounge areas will offer hot drinks and wireless mobile charging solutions, while the Manchester store will have an exclusive Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ area, where they will be able to explore various elements of the film, including a BB-8 Training Zone.

‘Re-writing the rule book’

O2 GM of stores Bridget Lea said: “At O2, helping our customers get the most out of technology is at the heart of everything we do. But, the reality is, while mobile phones are at the heart of the digital revolution, mobile phone stores are not leading this revolution on the high street.

“Traditionally, mobile phone shops have been designed to be very functional and can often be uninviting and uninspiring – somewhere people visit occasionally to make a purchase rather than visit frequently to learn and be inspired by the possibilities of technology.

That’s exactly what we’ve set out to change. We’re re-writing the rule book and creating a new kind of mobile phone shop to help us serve our customers better.”

Rewarded for customer service

All new employees are being asked to prioritise ‘exceptional’ customer experience and be rewarded solely on the service they provide, as opposed to the sales they generate.

Part of this system is based on mystery shopper scores, for example, which show how happy customers are with the service they receive in store.

Lea added: “For our new stores to become the destination of choice for customers to be excited about the possibilities of technology, it was essential that we hire the right people. While our people are already delivering great service to our customers, we wanted to bring in people from a range of different industries so that we could offer our customers a totally different experience in-store.

“Our only requirement was that they are not only passionate about technology, but equally passionate about delivering a stand-out, hands-on customer experience.”

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