It’s easy for retailers to come forward and label their business as ‘customer-centric’ or ‘customer obsessed’, but it’s not as easy to convince customers that these labels are more than just a slogan or marketing ploy. While more and more brands are beginning to give customer experience the time of day it deserves, many still struggle with its implementation. What retailers need to realise is that customer experience (CX) encompasses not just one, but multiple opportunities to better connect with their customers and drive growth. It takes more than one initiative or strategy to improve a company’s CX, and it’s these initiatives that customers need to see and actively engage with to know that they are truly being prioritised.
Here are some ways that you can consistently prove to customers that not only can you talk the talk, but confidently walk the walk as well.
#1 Act on Intuition
While it’s great for customers to see that your brand is regularly and efficiently responding to their feedback across different platforms, what stands out is when brands use existing feedback to inform and predict future actions.
Retailers always need to be one step ahead of customer, predicting their needs and then, eventually, delivering on them. If a customer can see that a company is readily looking for ways to improve and is consistently trialing these improvements, what this demonstrates to the customer is that the business is serious about providing them with the very best user experience both now and in the future.
Retailers need to anticipate the customer’s needs even before the customer has a chance to, and the results will speak for themselves when they see this effort taking shape – whether that be through new systems or technologies to make the shopping experience better. This is where data can be used to forecast what the customer could potentially want and need based on insights from their current patterns of behaviour.
#2 Treat Customers as Humans
This may sound like a line out of Captain Obvious’ book, yet with the amount of emphasis there is today on Big Data, it runs the risk of losing sight of the human factor behind it all. If you want your customer to know that you’re serious about putting their experience first, these ‘human’ touches are critical. This means ensuring that customers are treated with respect and acknowledging their intelligence.
Nobody wants to feel like they’re being ripped off or feel like a sales assistant doesn’t give a hoot about what they need to purchase. Your store/site may work on a functional level, yet there’s no point providing a seamless user experience without the right emotion attached. Customers need to feel special, and this feeling is achieved by paying attention to the little things that make them unique beings as opposed to a plot on a graph or figure in a table.
#3 Empower Your Team
While this approach at first seems indirect, the results speak directly to the customer. Retail businesses need to create a culture where customer experience is a priority for everyone, regardless of whether they have face-to-face encounters with the customer or not.
The truth is that every action made by employees eventually impacts the customer, and for this reason all staff (not just those on the frontline) need to be highly trained and equipped with knowledge about every product/service. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find out information from a team member only to find out that they simply can’t help you.
While it’s understandable that each employee has different capabilities, everyone should still know how each process works. If a customer can see that all staff are well equipped, this gives them the satisfaction of knowing that they are being empowered with the very best information to make the right choice about their purchase.
#4 Notice and Appreciate Loyalty
To show customers that you’re invested in the quality of their customer experience, you need to find small ways to go above and beyond what is expected when it comes to loyalty. Gone are the days when a standard points loyalty card made the cut. Retailers need to go the extra mile to say thank you in a more personal fashion.
This doesn’t mean going all out to give customers extremely flashy, snazzy gifts. It’s about nailing those small, every day interactions so a customer knows that they don’t have to wait around for their birthday to be recognised. This could be as simple as addressing regular customers by name or sending an email when a product/service of relevance to them (based on their data) is on sale. It is these small moments that combine to let a customer know that they are noticed and valued at all times and assures for them that they can count on this recognition time and time again.
The list goes on, but what these points emphasise is that it isn’t enough to tell a customer that you care about the experience you provide for them. These words need to be affirmed with action so that a customer will choose your brand already knowing how you will make them feel before they even start their shopping journey.
About the Author
Daniela is part of the Marketing Team and one of the lead content creators at Disrupt Retail. She is passionate about creating practical content that inspires retailers and businesses to refine their overall strategy and operational execution. Daniela is well in tune with what is happening in the retail world and has a particular knack for finding the latest and greatest insights coming out of the Customer Experience and Sustainability space.
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