What makes up a great Customer Experience?
Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Through Empathica’s Consumer Insights Panel, we asked 5,000 retail shoppers to tell us what makes a legendary customer experience. Their answers show that the retail workforce plays a significant role delivering on their expectations.
In a whitepaper presented jointly by Axsium and Empathica, entitled “Focusing Your Workforce on the Moment of Truth,” we examine the survey findings and its impact on workforce management and customer experience. The following article is an excerpt – the first section of the whitepaper on what makes up a great customer experience.
Section 1 – What Makes Up A Great Customer Experience
A great customer experience is a highly orchestrated journey of retailer actions with the goal of maximizing its impact at the time the customer is about to make a decision. While the buying decision is what retailers care about most, the reality is the customer journey is made up of many decisions, and we call each of these decisions a “moment of truth”. Just as there are multiple decision points, there are also multiple paths the consumer may take – and it is not always a linear journey. Think of it more like a scene on a stage, where the set must be laid out correctly, each actor must know her lines and the supporting props must be in place for the show to be a success. This requires the retailer to understand the customer journey as a whole, to understand the moments of truth along the way and to have a plan to staff associates in the right place at the right time, armed with the right knowledge to maximize the chance of conversion, up-sell and cross-sell.
Marketing faces the difficult challenge of making sure the brand promise is communicated effectively. When customers step foot through the doors, it is critical that the brand promise is upheld and consistent in every store, on each and every visit.
A key way to ensure that associates are focused on the tasks that will have the greatest impact on the customer experience is to understand what drives customer loyalty. This can be accomplished by developing a loyalty model. A loyalty model identifies and quantifies the impact of each moment of truth in the customer journey. It goes beyond surface drivers of loyalty (e.g. product selection, associate friendliness, etc.) to understand how the underlying “drivers of the drivers” influence loyalty (e.g., an associate making helpful suggestions, or offering to help get additional sizes or colors of clothing when they are in a fitting room). The loyalty model simply explains the unique value proposition for the brand in terms of journey’s moments of truth, and which of these moments the brand is going to be renowned for—speed, selection, availability, prices, product, knowledge, quality, etc.
Many of these moments are directly supported by behaviors that associates consistently exhibit or activities they participate in (e.g., stocking, cleaning, and training, consultative selling, being friendly, speed in which they work, etc.). While some behaviors may be “table stakes”, each has an impact on customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. Some actions are critical to a successful moment of truth and these actions require special attention within the workforce model.
The benefits of aligning the workforce model to a customer experience management (CEM) program are significant:
- At one retail client, customers who were offered a helpful suggestion of an additional product to the initial product they were considering, experienced higher rates of satisfaction and had a basket size 31 percent larger than those who did not receive a suggestion during their store visit. It is important to note here that the suggestion made to the customer not be seen as overt “up-selling” (which typically has a negative impact on the customer perception of the service experience) but instead is seen as a thoughtful, no pressure suggestion, made from the heart of the sales associate
- Another retail client found that a 1 percent increase in customer satisfaction rendered a 0.2 percent increase in same store sales. These benefits have real tangible impact on the business and should be considered paramount when looking at how best to deliver a legendary customer experience.
These examples illustrate that a deep understanding of what creates brand loyalty can be used to determine the impact of changes in the service model on customer loyalty and create a direct linkage with financial performance.
To learn how to deliver a legendary customer experience through your workforce, download the full whitepaper “Focusing Your Workforce on the Moment of Truth.”
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