What's in store for CX? Integrating insight for a 360-degree view of the customer
By Phil Durand, director of customer experience management, Confirmit
A great customer experience is important in all industries, but in a world of ever-growing consumer expectations, it's critical for retailers. In fact, according to Forrester, "the key to successful retailing in 2018 is obsessing about customer experience." Many retailers are already "obsessed" with the customer experience, but the question is: are they acting upon this obsession?
The onus is on the retailers to not just rest on their laurels and have the customer's experience remain stagnant, because this is akin to going backwards. This means integrating business data from multiple sources to add depth and additional insights to continually improve the overall experience. Retailers can deliver a great customer experience by leveraging data from different channels, including the Voice of the Customer (VoC), Voice of the Employee (VoE), and loyalty programs. Furthermore, these avenues help to provide retailers a real-time view of their customer at every single touchpoint along the buyer's journey.
While these steps should be happening concurrently, below we'll walk through the necessary steps retailers must take to better understand and gather insights from their customers and become a "customer experience-obsessed" organization.
Step 1: Listen to the voice of the customer
VoC programs have become an established path to delivering enhanced customer experiences, engaging employees and driving business change in retail. Listening directly to the Voice of the Customer sounds like a no-brainer, but many organizations are missing this key step — or worse, they are receiving data from the customer through surveys but aren't actually doing anything with it. Customers' needs and wants are constantly evolving, and in the "need it now" world we live in, their expectations continually grow. Retailers must deliver a convenient, personalized service and can capture meaningful data through the deployment of in-store surveys, post-purchase surveys and even phone surveys.
Step 2: Don't forget the voice of the employee
Yes, customers are the focus of the customer experience. However, employees are on the front lines each and every day. They are not only the eyes and ears of the customer's feedback, but they also have a direct impact on the customer experience. As they are often the first point of contact, engaged, empowered and informed employees have the necessary insight to understand a customer's reasons for discontent and what can be done to rectify the situation in real-time. Are they unhappy with the stock selection? Is there too long of a line at the register, meaning the retailer should consider opening more registers to get customers out the door faster? The customers might not express these sentiments through a survey, but the employees who are in the store day-in and day-out will see and hear this feedback. Use it.
Retailers must offer employees the opportunity to provide candid and regular feedback. And, they must couple the feedback with the data gathered from additional sources including the VoC to get a more detailed and nuanced view of the customer.
Step 3: Gather feedback throughout the customer lifecycle
There are numerous touchpoints in the customer lifecycle where retailers can uncover key insights into the customer's experience. Of note, customer loyalty programs are a great way to drive repeat purchases while capturing vital data from their target audience. It's a win-win for customers as well, because with loyalty programs come savings, recognition and an experience beyond that for non-loyalty program members. Loyalty program members are a group that utilize a brand regularly (or sometimes even exclusively), implying they have more personalized, on-brand feedback to share. By investing in a robust loyalty program, retailers can further engage with their customers, capture a deeper level of insight and combine it with existing data to enhance the overarching CX program.
It's important to note here that loyalty programs are not the onlyway for retailers to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and gather key data. However, it's a resource that retailers should (and are) tapping to improve their customer experience that much further.
The bottom line
It's great to have data from different touch points, but aggregating it all together will provide a deeper understanding of the customer to help drive smarter investments, boost customer loyalty and increase revenue for retailers. Retailers must obsess over the customer experience, and engage with employees and customers — and loyalty program members, specifically — as they are all offering insight into different things. Combined, retailers can best meet needs and develop actionable plans to enhance the customer experience at all levels, from the front line to the one-time shopper.