Abel A Correa
Any customer experience (CX) exercise is successful when a customer sees an organisation and its employees talking ‘customer benefit’ rather than the business profit, or at least a balance between creating value for them and turnover.
During my days at Piramyd Retail as Head of IT we gave watermelons on a hot day for anyone who shopped for Rs 500 and above – no agenda for upselling but just fun for consumers. A corner was also created for customers to take pictures and keep the postcard we printed it on as a keepsake.
Those were the days when we created memories and relationships. Today, such opportunities have quadrupled with the coming of the Millennials. There is comfort with the ample access to technology.
CX is not just about
– Giving discounts
– Attaching a sales person (head count) to the consumer when they arrive at the store
– Offering free WiFi
Retailers talk of customer loyalty, but in this day and age, need to be loyal back to their customer base. They need to keep a keen eye out for change in customer behaviour by mining POS data and training their staff appropriately.
Delivering consumer experience on a technology platform cannot be fulfilled if the following points are not taken care of:
Processes: A high degree of customer-centric processes that are backed by an appropriately empowered employee base. My recent visit to a pizza store helped me understand this. I visited a pizza place with my son and asked for an XYZ pizza. My son pointed out that there was an offer on the pizza I had ordered – Buy 1 Get 1 Free. So, I asked for the same. The staff informed me that this was only for consumers who ordered food online, and not for walk-in customers. I was being deprived of a benefit just because I walked in. I spoke to the store manager and he responded positively. “Let me see what I can do,” he said. He made a call to someone (presumably important) and just like that, they extended the offer to me. End Result – I walked out happy.
The Point of the Story: An empowered employee took care of customer delight. Will I go there again with right expectations? Absolutely yes.
Clean Master Data: An example: Retailer sends out EOSS emailers: ‘Visit our stores to avail 50 pc discount’. Customer gets into his car, drives a few miles, takes the trouble of parking and then gets into the store only to find out that the store does not have his shirt size. Now, the merchandising and marketing teams should have been trained enough to have thought this through. They should have known that the store only houses some sizes during EOSS. The marketing team should have also known the customer’s size preference, and hence should not have sent him the offer.
Horizontally Connected Organization: Consumer experience gets delivered through various touch points and any such touch-point is a culmination of inter-department collaboration meeting the customer at that touch-point. The supply chain management team should be aware of the event to make sure goods are delivered on time. The merchandising team should know which stocks need to be liquidated and the marketing team should clearly define the set of customers that will be served through the event/ touch-point.
While a lot of time is spent on discussing ‘Differentiators’, I believe it also has a lot to do with consistency. Consumer experience must be consistently delivered and it’s a promise that gets fulfilled even if it means moving mountains to deliver every time, on time.