Total Wine & More Enhances Customer Service With Hands-Free Communication

Total Wine & More has upgraded from walkie-talkies to Theatro, a voice-controlled mobile app platform, to improve the efficiency of its associates. The solution has been adopted at more than 190 stores in 23  states, giving employees a hands-free way to communicate with each other.

“The two-way radios served us well but did not provide much opportunity to work smarter,” said Troy Rice, Chief Store Officer at Total Wine & More in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “As we scale, we want to arm our teams with tools they need to be the best service team in retail and deliver a best-in-class experience to our guests.”


The tool also will help Total Wine associates find out where they are needed, quickly and efficiently. For instance, team members can deliver a “Register Backup” command that automatically alerts all eligible associates that additional help is needed.

“The most available team member responds with ‘copy that,’ which alerts the requestor that they are on their way and also closes the loop with everyone receiving the request so they know someone has filled the request,” said Rice. “This closed loop function also creates urgency and friendly competition, which we’ve seen increases our speed of service and ultimately reduces customer wait time.”

Product information also will be more readily available: The retailer’s daily “huddle” — when associates are told about new product arrivals, in-store events and promotions — can now be relayed to all associates regardless of their starting time. Total Wine also plans to develop a voice-activated library for on-demand product training.

In addition to letting in-store associates communicate with shoppers and each other, the solution will be integrated with other internal IT systems to better connect staff across locations, according to Rice. The retailer’s upper-level managers will be able to communicate with employees at individual stores, improving morale by commending them for a job well done.

“This is a differentiator for us,” said Rice. “We are working very hard to be an innovator and technology-forward retailer. Theatro will help us with recruiting from this aspect and with retention as our field leaders use it to drive engagement. There’s nothing more powerful than a timely message from your district manager or regional VP congratulating you or your team on a major sales weekend or big win.”

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