“A retail customer’s experience happens through many touchpoints with your brand, including in-store, eCommerce, mCommerce, social media platforms, online review sites, marketing materials and call centers. Many retailers have similar merchandise assortments, and therefore need to determine how to differentiate themselves from competitors to gain market share and improve bottom-line results. Retailers who do this well rely on their employees as the main distinguishing factor. To insure this differentiation and maintain the brand promise across all touchpoints, employee training is of great importance.”
– The Experience Manager
In a recent Parker Avery Point of View, The Experience Manager: Laying theFoundation for Exceptional Customer Service, The Parker Avery Group presented three areas of focus:
• Identifying all of your brand’s customer touchpoints
• Providing ways for your customers to socialize their customer experiences
• Training employees as customer experience enablers
By focusing on these areas, truly exceptional brands create Brand Ambassadors that not only are acknowledged and respected by their peers, but keep customers coming back to shop the brand – even after both good and bad experiences. When we think about these types of experiences, most commonly brands like Apple and Nordstrom come to mind. Both are huge companies with a ton of resources and practice so they can consistently get it right. But what about smaller brands? Or those just starting out? Let’s take a look.
Two weeks ago I needed to find a local vegan, raw food restaurant. Yes, there is an elaborate backstory (which I’m going to skip) and I was definitely venturing outside of my normal territory. I assumed that I would only have a couple of options but immediately found an extensive list of possibilities. Narrowed it down to one that was pretty close to my house – though not in an area I was really familiar – and it had an interesting menu. I also checked out its Yelp reviews, which were positive but older. Once I visited its Facebook and Twitter sites, I felt more comfortable because several postings were from the last couple of days. Off I went, hopping into my car with a vague idea of what I would order.
When I walked inside the restaurant, the man behind the counter gave me a genuine greeting and didn’t seem to get annoyed by my endless amount of questions. He even recommended combinations once he found out it was my first visit and let me sample before ordering. No one was in line behind so didn’t feel rushed but also thought this was probably the exception. Placed my order and then waited. There were signs posted stating the average wait time was 10 -15 minutes because most items were made to order. Not necessarily a long time, but in our drive-thru mentality world this could feel like an eternity. Surprisingly it wasn’t; the front room doubles as an art gallery and there is a reading corner full of local literature.
Verdict? I’ve been back three times since and love the food and more so, appreciate the service. I’ve noticed regardless who is working the counter and how busy it gets, each customer receives the same quality of service. Even more shockingly, customers in line are patient and even make recommendations to the “newbies.” I’ve shared my experience on Facebook, which started conversations both online and offline with my friends about what they have ordered and others wanting to go with me next time I went.
My local discovery walks the walk and talks the talk. The restaurant’s food is excellent, but more importantly the staff embody the brand, have created loyalty, and are true brand ambassadors. They set it apart from competitors and make customers keep coming back for more and more and more, me included, plus I tell lots of others, who also tell lots of others. This is important to consider whether you are a raw food brand serving a niche market or a technology brand with mass appeal. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the customer.
To discuss more customer experience and/or training concepts, please contact:
• The Parker Avery Group, Associate Partner: ilana[dot]rosen[at]parkeravery[dot]com
• The Parker Avery Group, Manager: courtney[dot]albert[at]parkeravery[dot]com